The Wisconsin State Journal already ran their article about this meeting, which I attended an hour of. Like most of these gatherings, it’s inspiring and infuriating simultaneously. I always feel the warmth and buoyancy of solidarity with many other concerned citizens out connecting with each other and directly addressing elected representatives, both state & municipal. But, as one woman pointed out tonight, the elected Democrats seated before us in James Madison Memorial’s gym weren’t the ones who need to hear these testimonials. They already have sympathy and are very much with the rest of us. It’s the Republicans who need to hear this direct input from the multitudes who’ll be fucked over so hard by this bill: the families and municipalities and counties who’ll be near insolvency because the relatively minor state deficit has been sloughed off onto them, so they have to make the hard decisions and make brutal cuts and sacrifices.
But, as noted, it was very inspiring to see people step up to an open mic and talk frankly about how bad it’s about to get. A bus driver who’s about to have her pay cut to where it was when she started a dozen years ago, farmers who’ll be devastated by the lack of health care aid, nurses & doctors who volunteer in their rare free time in community clinics who reinforced that we don’t need health insurance, we merely need funded healthcare. The extremely low cost per month that’s invested in keeping people with mental trauma or disabilities from being on the street, and instead staying in their homes, in their jobs, in school, largely able to function wholly on their own, who just need a little help each month to keep them on track or someone to touch base with. Instead, we’re reducing eligibility for aid for thousands upon thousands of people across the state, with a variety of medical conditions. An ersatz rationing of healthcare, even for those who can afford the increasingly outrageous insurance premiums.
There was a firefighter who spoke very quietly of a number of firefighters who fought a blazing furniture store in South Carolina and a number of them died. As he choked back tears, he was uncompromising about the bill’s effect on Wisconsinites: someone will die due to these cuts. He said were it to be a firefighter, that’s one thing – that’s the job they signed up for. Which is grossly unacceptable, in my world, but he barely touched on that point and bravely carried on, saying he fears it’s going to be someone in their home whose neighborhood fire department just didn’t have the resources to do everything they could to save lives. He spoke more forcefully at the end, telling the Governor he needs to come down to their station, Fire House #1 in Madison, and ride with them for a day.
And see how state employees do when they’re laying their lives on the line for others’.