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Constitutional Embarrassment At Madison State Capitol

August 26, 2013

While speaking to a friend in North Dakota I was asked how our state’s economy was faring.  “Must have more tax dollars to waste then we do with all the needless arrests at the capitol.”    Similar comments were registered my way from a friend in California.

The weekday antics of the Capitol Police as they follow orders from Governor Walker’s administration to arrest singers without a permit is not just something for local politicos to follow.  The news of this activity has found its ways all over the country, and it does not speak well for our state or our elected officials.

There is a constitutional issue playing out in the rotunda when the singers gather that rises far above ACT 10, which wreaked havoc on state employees and public workers through Republican attacks on unions.   The disregard and contempt being shown when the average individual  citizen shows up at the capitol to convey their message to their elected officials is jarring and eye-opening to even those who know very little about the union matter.   From coast to coast Americans are seeing the leadership style of Scott Walker.  They may not know all the details of Act 10 but they do recognize when free speech is limited, and constitutional rights undermined.

While it is most evident Walker has a political motive to clear the rotunda and remove this vocal sign of the damage he created when striking out against workers, it is not at all clear as to why this method of arresting people was employed.  One might argue that the small group that arrives to sing each weekday is a nuisance, but that is just one of the ”burdens’ of democracy.  Elevating the stature of the singers by arresting them, and thereby increasing their numbers that then show up in the rotunda made sense to the police.  That type of sage reasoning must be the basis for the steep pay raises which made the news last week.

Most Wisconsinites understand that highlighting the problem only strengthens and emboldens the singers.  That has been the result of the arrests.

When a 14 year old was arrested, and a journalist, and elderly singing ‘grannies’ one could hear moderate Republicans shudder.  They know the long-term damage Walker is doing to their party.

Today a picture was posted on Facebook of the singers who have made the arrests almost a game, and it is hard not to see all this in the same light.


Singers put signs around their necks that say “duck” and if they are tapped on the shoulder from behind by Capitol Police, they turn their sign around revealing the word “goose”.

No matter where one reads of these events, be it Madison or San Diego there can only be one conclusion.

It is embarrassing for Wisconsin.

In time the courts will also rule the Walker Administration violated the constitution.

One Comment
  1. Jerry Hanson permalink
    August 26, 2013 3:13 PM

    This is only going to intensify once the students return to campus. But then the police will arrest students,not the grannies, and they’ll claim that they are anarchists thus switching the focus away from “freedom of speech and assembly”. If a permit is obtained arrests will still occur for any reason and the permit holder will be charged for the cost of police work and court proceedings. Thus the best course of civil disobedience is for things to proceed as they are and let Walker and his enforcers continue to gang up on peaceful citizens who want to voice their opposition to the loss of their constitutional rights.

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