Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Activities (and, Budgets are Moral Documents)

Now that school's out, I'm getting to spend a lot more time with my girls!

Yesterday started with a taunt left on our deck railing, from one of the squirrels who've been raiding our strawberry patch:

Our top two morning activities were puddle-stomping and Capitol-visiting.

It was a sunny day, making for some excellent reflections.

Then after we got cleaned up from that little escapade, we headed down to the Capitol, where the Senatorial rubber-stamp was about to be put on the devastating Wisconsin budget, all-cuts-all-the-time (major tax cuts for corporations, major cuts to schools and health care and middle-and-lower-income families, zero shared-sacrifice for those at the top of the heap.)

The Capitol was fairly quiet at mid-morning, other than a signficantly beefed-up police presence. We got one kindly officer to take our picture beside Wisconsin's replica of the Liberty Bell. Here's the plaque that sits next to it:

The top line reads, "Dedicated to you, a free citizen in a free land." Oh, the irony, after having had to go through a security gauntlet to get into the Capitol, designed solely to squelch protest (they'll be removing the metal detectors soon, within days of the budget taking effect.)

We felt the "freedom" gut-punch once more as we attempted to visit our Senator's office. We walked past Senator Risser's office door by accident a couple of times, because the 3-officer law-enforcement presence obscured our view of the names on the door. (Risser's office shares a front door with Senator Leah Vukmir, from across the aisle). When we finally figured out that this was where we wanted to be, and asked the lawmen if we could please enter, they asked us if we had an appointment. Well, no, we didn't -- we're used to dropping in unannounced for visits with the staff, that's how things operate in Senator Risser's office! No ma'am, we're not supposed to let you in without an appointment.

I'm glad I'm a known quantity in my state senator's office, for I was able to send in my card with one of the officers, and then the doors swung wide. After our visit, one of the Risser staffers came out to speak to Senator Vukmir's palace guard the lawmen, and let them know that Senator Risser's office wants to speak with any constituent who shows up, appointment or no!

Next we took the elevator up, to wander around the observation deck at the base of the dome, and look out over the city and lakes from all angles.

And then we went down to the Square again, and left some messages for anyone who wanted to read them, until the next rain washes them away.

Budgets are moral documents. And the budget that passed in Wisconsin last night badly, badly fails that standard.

(Funny how sidewalk chalk is cute when it's a hopscotch frame or child's artwork, and VANDALISM! if it's got certain political content.)


Anonymous said...

Love reading your blog, JM - your storytelling is engaging comes with a meaningful message!

What you do for others just in the telling is far more than most of us do in years of effort.


Anonymous said...

you are tireless! and i know your girls learn so much by going with you, learning to fight for what is right, learning to take a stand no matter what.

reading your posts about your trips to the Capitol i have wondered how Joy handles it - the people, the waiting, etc.

JoyMama said...

Barbara -- thanks for assigning such meaning to my posts! I send them out into the world and can only hope for good things.

rhemashope -- Joy's tolerance for protesting and politicking has been pretty impressive; I try to bring the good toys and snacks, and she's pretty comfy in her jogging stroller as long as I let her out at intervals (climbing up to the observation deck was a good break, for example, as we had to leave the stroller behind). We have our moments, though.