These are the final hours, if all the reports are true, for the protestors who have been camping out in the Wisconsin State Assembly. It has been reported for days that the police will remove protestors starting later this afternoon, and then begin cleaning the building soon thereafter. The protestors will not be allowed to return to stay.
Over the past days I have chatted with folks who have set up a space in the statehouse with a sleeping bag and high ideals about what they hope to accomplish, and what makes them so determined to make a difference.
Though they all are worthy of a blog post it is Dan Framsee that leaps to mind when I think of the amazing faces under the dome.
Framsee has been living at the Capitol since the protests started, his air mattress and few belongings which included a guitar, located on an interior wall of a hallway. I suspect he chose his space to have some calm from the high volume of traffic, yet even his location was not immune to the energy that is dominating the building. After speaking with Framsee it was clear he was dedicated to the cause, noise or not.
This young man who appeared to be in his early 20′ s works for Alto Clef Productions in Madison, which has done design work for Ian’s Pizza. Along the back of the wall where Framsee sleeps at the Capitol were drawings to make it appear that he was indeed ‘home’.
Framsee spoke about the need to stop the budget repair bill, and his willingness to be dragged from the Capitol if it came to that in order to make the point more directly. He was going to make sure his guitar was safe prior to Sunday afternoon, and then wait until he was forced to move. And then be removed by police.
Those who use derision to paint the protestors with one large paint brush are just wrong. They are not just young people with nothing better to do, or college kids just wanting to party. In fact, I found no one that fit such a profile these past two weeks in my conversations.
The men and women who stayed overnight at the Capitol are strong-willed, courageous, and principled. They all deserve our praise. It is in part due to them being at the Capitol day after day, and night after night for this vigil that more and more citizens have come to see the many pitfalls of the budget repair bill.
On behalf of countless citizens around Wisconsin, thank you!