I heard from a friend recently who asked me, "so you won, right?" And I realize that I've been struggling a bit this week. Mid-day on Tuesday, just after a conversation with my sister (she didn't want to overestimate and be disappointed, I had my heart set on a million), my Facebook page started filling up with the news. A million signatures of citizens wanting to recall the Governor of Wisconsin. Wow. Almost double what was needed. I teared up just a little bit. The remainder of the day is lost in a blur of giddyness. And of course, we immediately started brainstorming the next iteration of buttons ("one in a million," thanks a million," etc.).
Honestly, I don't mean to be ungrateful, but the sense that I've had most strongly this week is: there is a LOT of work ahead. It didn't help that I watched the Ed Show and was informed that the entire country is watching Wisconsin, as if the fate of democracy rests upon us alone. I do feel keenly that other Governors will take their cues from the fate of Scott Walker. But, of course, it is also every citizens' responsibility to hold their politicians accountable for their actions. In that respect, I do feel that people are much more alert and active, so that is a good thing.
It certainly feels like a very historic moment. I have a friend with a friend in academia who studies labor relations. Last February, he apparently told her that history will mark this time as "pre-Wisconsin" and "post-Wisconsin." That seems flattering, but only if it goes the way I want it to.
No doubt that a million signatures represents a lot of time and energy and work and dedication; no doubt that a million signatures is a powerful message. No doubt that forward is forward, no matter how small the step - because as much as a million sigatures is an amazing thing, there is the matter of signature verification (which I thought Walker was supposed to pay for with his unlimited fundraising that he's been doing, but apparently not), voter registration and voter turn-out in new districts and voter ID still ahead. Not to mention whatever other shenanigans Walker will get up to in the meantime and the likelihood that he will continue to divert Wisconsin resources to his campaign donors and appoint more unqualified people to positions with newly-raised salaries. Not to mention the millions of dollars of fundraising, Super PACs and whatever else are going to start coming into the state.
So, yes, it definitely seems important to mark this momentous week. To say thanks, thanks, a million times thanks. So many people have put so much work into collecting signatures and sharing their stories. So many people have awakened and connected to each other in ways they hadn't before.
Governor Walker's response, as expected, trivialized the whole matter: 'it's easy to sign petitions but not as easy to vote.' But it also betrays so much about what is wrong that it kind of breaks my heart. Is it really supposed to be HARD to vote?! Isn't everyone supposed to vote? Isn't that our responsibility? Isn't that how we judge other countries as far as how free they are? So, I don't mean to be a downer, I'm just a little tired. Not completely exhausted, not giving up or losing my momentum or determination, just a little weary and just a little sad about the ways that some people seem utterly uninterested in the idea of liberty and justice for all.