On Friday, March 9, 2012, Many communities around the State of Wisconsin held candle light vigils to commemorate the time, one year ago, when our state lost its way under the governorship of Scott Walker. The Friday night local vigils were followed by a gathering of 70,000 people in Madison, the state capitol, on Saturday.
(click photographs for larger view)
In my home town of Mequon, WI between 30 and 40 people gathered in front of city hall. Each had an opportunity to share stories related to how the changes in our state have affected them, their friends and families.
(click here to see additional photographs from the event)
Janet Carpenter concluded the event, which she helped organize, by delivering her very moving
Requiem for Wisconsin.
There was a time when people could have a conversation without feeling intimidated by expressing their views. We now find ourselves carefully parsing our words, sometimes censoring ourselves when in mixed company and so I mourn the loss of civil discourse.
There was a time when public input was valued for its ability to shape legislation with constituents in mind, when lawmakers took the time to hold public meetings, deliberate and compromise. We now see legislation being rushed through with little time for our representatives to review, not to mention the general public and so I mourn the loss of the democratic process.
Although my taxes help to pay the salary of my state legislators, I find that my concerns often fall on deaf ears. If I do not agree with my representative’s vote, then my input is of such little value that it doesn’t even warrant an auto reply and so I mourn the loss of representation.
The exploitation of Wisconsin’s resources is prevalent in legislation addressing mining, wetlands and water. I long for the days when special interests did not usurp the health of our land and so I mourn the loss of reverence for our natural environment.
The financial concessions forced onto public unions led many veteran teachers and public employees to retire and so I mourn the loss of experience these seasoned professionals take with them.
Honesty has fallen by the wayside and political spin has taken its place, not only in government, but in the media. We deserve the truth and so I mourn the loss of integrity from our leaders and our press.
The new Voter ID law has far reaching consequences. Minorities, students and the elderly are most affected by the voter suppression law. Veterans have also been turned away and so I mourn the loss of voter’s rights.
The vilification of public school teachers and other public employees has become a personal attack on their dedicated service and so I mourn the loss of respect for these professionals.
Wisconsin has lagged behind the rest of the nation in job creation since the implementation of Governor Walker’s budget last summer. The 250,000 job creation goal of Scott Walker is a fallacy and so I mourn the loss of a recovery.
Lastly, Wisconsin is where I was born and raised, married and blessed with four children, and lived for 40 of my 50 years. I deeply mourn the loss of of my home state, for I no longer recognize it.
Janet’s audience was obviously moved.
Canon 5D, 24 – 70 mm L USM