Afterthoughts, 6:35 p.m.: Two women walking behind me stated that they were not from West Bend, but didn't want to go to Madison so West Bend was the next best thing. I imagine it was the same with others who were there. An older man on the corner introduced himself to union workers as a union organizer, thought his name was Steve Nelson, but not positive on that.
Other faces in the crowd include:
Former West Bend East VP, current WB District Teachers, former Silverbrook orchestra teacher
I participated in the pro-Scott Walker rally today in West Bend. I'll blog on it shortly, but first will get the pics up. I've got video going up on youtube shortly, as well. C'mon back for an update in a little while....
I decided that the best way to get to know how the "other side" really thinks is throw myself into the throngs. I joined the group of protesters who, ironically, called themselves "West Benders for Fairness" and walked, alone, with my Sen. Walker campaign sign. I think they were a bit taken aback at first, but hey, there was one sidewalk and the police asked everyone to keep walking. I was just obeying.
There was one large group with a megaphone on the corner sidewalk by Hobby Lobby (NW corner). The other three corners had decent-sized crowds all walking single file with mostly hand-made signs. The ones that leave me scratching my head are the signs that lend personal attack and disregard the bill or the items within the bill. For instance, there was a gentleman walking his dog in the protest line and he had hung a sign on the poor thing that stated something similar to "Where's Walker, I gotta pee." Seriously. I would consider that an embarrassment. As I walked with the protesters, I kept my ears open to the conversations. I did not initiate conversation or otherwise engage with any protesters. The majority of the protesters were respectful, but I am speaking only for the SW corner by Starbucks where I was walking. One man turned around and told me he gave me credit for being courageous enough to walk in their line. I really didn't see as I had any choice anyway. Like I said, there was only one sidewalk. It was nice of him, nonetheless. People were chanting "Kill the Bill", and "Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Scott Walker has got to go" for the majority of the demonstration, on all corners. One particularly offensive group was singing a Christian "Battle Hymn of the Republic," but had changed the words to something that glorified solidarity. Seriously, I would have never gone there.
Seen amongst the protesters were:
ALDERMAN NICK DOBBERSTEIN, Hartford teacher (whose seat is up for re-election in Spring) who was shouting "RECALL WALKER!"
MIKE WESTON, Firefighter and former West Bend school board member (chanting the "hey hey, ho ho" mantra)
STEEV BAKER, Kewaskum Public Librarian - Taking pics and assimilating the protesting crowd
KRISTIN PEKOLL, West Bend Young Adult Librarian (sign reading something like "Don't SHUSH the Librarian"
MARK PETERSON, local liberal UWWC Psychology Professor
WARING FINCKE, local liberal attorney
MICHAEL TYREE, former Library Director
And now I'll briefly vent - I absolutely hate when people take part in a protest and bring their little children, have them hold signs, and tell them things to yell. GEEZ, people. I can understand if someone has to bring their baby and they are walking while pushing a stroller. OK, that's understandable. If your kids is 12 or 13 (give or take) and understands the situation, makes a decision to take part, and wants your assistance, that's fine, too. Just don't exploit the young un's. Really.
Corner of Paradise and Main, West Bend -
Are any of these people YOUR teachers?
About 23 seconds into this video you will hear Dennis Uhlig, employee at Fireside Books, proudly state he called his Democratic Senators and asked them to stay out of Wisconsin. You will remember Dennis from his previous involvement in the library issue, where he stated he was supportive of all information for all people, including minor children. Same Dennis.