Madness in Madison – Protester’s Civility

By YeOldeScribe ~ March 4th, 2011 @ 12:10 pm

20 years and one day ago, Rodney King was beaten within an inch of his life by four police officers for trying to outrun them in a brief car chase. King, who is black, was pummeled by the four white officers, who were tried  for assault with a deadly weapon and excessive use of force by a police officer. After a three month trial, three of the four officers were acquitted on all charges (the fourth was granted a mistrial) – by an all white jury. The decision set off the LA Race Riots of 1992 in which  55 people were killed, over 2,000 were injured and $1 billion in damage was caused as the city’s buildings burned and its streets ran red with blood in outrage.

Why the brief history lesson? At PoliticalProgressives.com, we feel it’s important to see what a protest can look like when it turns violent and into an all-out riot. While the issue was about worker’s rights and not racism, both protests drew tens, even hundreds of thousands of people to protest a decision many agreed were unjust. In Wisconsin, there was even a counter-protest led by members of the Tea Party, who support WI Gov. Scott Walker’s Budget Repair Bill. This set up a situation where gasoline was being poured on a potential political fire, and all that was needed to set it off was a spark.

Thankfully, there never was one.

Protesters in the state capitol have been surprisingly civil, and there haven’t been any major incidents in the governmental building. Even the City of Madison Issued the following statement after the protesters and counter-protesters shared the capitol building and grounds for a day:

“On behalf of all the law enforcement agencies that helped keep the peace on the Capitol Square Saturday, a very sincere thank you to all of those who showed up to exercise their First Amendment rights. You conducted yourselves with great decorum and civility, and if the eyes of the nation were upon Wisconsin, then you have shown how democracy can flourish even amongst those who passionately disagree. As of 5:00 p.m., no major incidents had been reported. There have been no arrests. However, discourse and discussion was – at times – loud and heated. That was to be expected. As previously indicated, the goal of law enforcement has been to provide a safe environment for democracy to take place. That goal has been realized for yet another day.”

While PoliticalProgressive.com’s writer hasn’t been able to voyage down to to Madison to verify this information, we’ve heard from a very reliable source present at the protest on 2/16 that the protesters have indeed been civil, respectful, and cordial – even to those who don’t share their viewpoint. People who had signs that contained offensive or derogatory language were asked to take them down by protest supporters before the police had to become involved, and most did right away. On that particular day (the only one we have first-hand reports from), there were no disrespectful chants that caught on. In fact, protesters were willing to talk to people with opposing or apathetic views in an orderly and respectful fashion.

This Huffington Post article does a great job of showing exactly what we mean. Some of my favorite quotes from the article include:

“I think the more meaningful discussions this week have occurred outside the capitol.”

“You can disagree without being disagreeable – that’s exactly what we need to see inside the State Capitol.”

And my personal favorite – “Beer is something we can all agree on.”

You’ll have to check out the full article for the story on that one (and you really should, no matter which side you support). The point of this post, though, is nothing more to say Kudos to Wisconsinites. You’ve demonstrated exactly what it means to be Politically Progressive.

Now if we could just get the people inside the capitol to do the same, a lot more good could be done.

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6 Responses to Madness in Madison – Protester’s Civility

  1. Andrea Frederick

    “Beer is something we can all agree on.”

    See, this is why Wisconsin people are the best people. 😀

  2. the Pope

    I don’t know if you plan on covering this topic, but what are your thoughts on the recent initiative to have Scott Walker be recalled from his position after a year?

  3. YeOldeScribe

    His Holiness,

    We’ll look into the recall efforts for Gov. Walker, Senate Republicans, and Senate Democrats later this week. Thanks for the idea! Stay tuned!

  4. Leonard Devanski

    Awesome story once again. I am looking forward for your next post;)

  5. fontanny czekoladowe na wesele

    Thank you very much for this info. Looking forward to next one.

  6. Malcolm Hoye

    Major thanks for the article post. Will read on…

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