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It was Friday, February 18 of 2011 and the publisher, Bob Boone, called me up and asked if I could do a task for him. I told him I was busy and couldn’t do it. “Why not?” he inquired. “I’m on way down to Madison right now, I’ll be back in a couple of days.” Yes, I was driving down with a couple of people to witness and do coverage on the protests that were happening at the Capitol building in my own home state of Wisconsin. Scott Walker had recently announced that he was cutting bargaining rights for the majority of unionized state workers and not everyone was very happy with that, to say the least.
At that time I had been working with the Reader for about two years and I’ve had done a couple of write up more serious than just a CD review or short feature story on a band and things like that, but this was something different. The changes being made in my state, a state that has been represented by fine politicians such as Russ Feingold, would no doubt be of historic proportions and I felt the need to be a part of that moment. Tens of thousands had rallied around the Capitol building and people from all walks of life were protesting the cutting of union bargaining rights for anyone working for the state aside from the fire department and law enforcement. When I arrived at the Capitol, it turned out that members of the police and fire department were out there protesting with everyone else. An amazing few, mostly those of the Tea Party and other far right wing factions showed up in support of Walker and it was like everything was reversed. The handful of people with Walker were actually given their own section and provided security by the Capitol Police. Those not aware of how protests go, it’s usually the people expressing grievance against the government who are corralled. Often then they are also tear gassed, beaten and then dispersed, but this was not the case in Madison. I had the opportunity to speak with a number of people, but the teachers were among those most concerned about the move. They had every right to be concerned because they’d be among the ones taking the brunt of Walker’s cut backs.
In the following weeks, the Capitol was occupied by protestors who literally camped out and lived right there in the halls of the building. Tighter and tighter restrictions were put in place. If you left the building, you’d be out. As tensions rose, they tore down tents, threw people’s belongings away and eventually everyone was kicked out of the Capitol. Despite all of that, there were very few arrests throughout the ordeal. I hadn’t thought much about Walker until that point, but I knew that things were just beginning.
This is the first of several write ups that I’ll do about Scott Walker who is now running for President. Walker had caught international attention during the protests that I had attended in 2011. On August 6, 2015, FOX News hosted a debate with 10 GOP candidates. There were some familiar names among the group: Donald Trump, Jeb Bush, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and Mike Huckabee. During the debate, Walker expressed his views on subjects such as immigration and how he wants to tighten our southern border because of “criminals.” On the issue of abortion, Walker was quite confident in his choice to defund planned parenthood four years ago and kept bringing up that it’s what the American people want even though 83% of Americans would agree that abortion should be legal to save a mother’s life if it came down to it, something he did not address even though that was what the question was about. Walker states that he “listens to the people of America.” I’m left wondering exactly what people he’s talking about. There’s really so much ground to cover. So welcome to the introduction of Walker Watch. Week by week I’ll be looking into the past and present of the man who is Scott Walker and approaching what is going on in Wisconsin and the Presidential race as fairly and factually as I can.
This column will also highlight other candidates as this next race for President moves along over the next year. Maybe some won’t agree with everything I have to say about what is happening, and if you do or don’t, always feel free to inbox me at email@example.com and the Reader will gladly share your views for the sake of public discussion as long as they are thought out. This time that America faces is becoming some of the most complex that we’ve ever known. It’s important to hold your head up and be aware.