This is why
I found myself chuckling a bit tonight - chuckling because of the irony in a comment left on my Facebook page. I've been vocal about my feelings with what is happening here in Wisconsin - really I am no different than others in that aspect. Now I have an interesting mix of friends, all from different walks of life, different experiences, different faiths, and of course differing political beliefs. The events over the last month has unified some of us who at one time didn't feel the same, and then also highlighted in other friendships the differences.
Tonight was one of those nights where those differences were appearing on my page, and friends pages. Tensions are high here in Wisconsin...and that's not an understatement. The thing that made me chuckle was someone pretty much accused me of jumping on the teacher union bandwagon. What they didn't and don't know is I've had my run ins with many a teacher, and their unions.
Actually that day my sons and I went to Madison for the protest was one of those moments where I had one of those internal clashes. It was while we were waiting at the podium outside of the Capitol and standing behind a group of teachers from my area, one of whom is the very reason I a few years ago filed a complaint with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction on her and the non compliance of a law that protects students with disabilities.
My son who happens to have what they call hidden disabilities that stem from also having an extremely mild case of cerebral palsy, had nightmares because of the actions of that teacher. Even more troubling was the fact the he regressed almost two grade levels in reading and math all because she thought she knew him better than the experts I had to fight tooth and nail with schools and insurance companies to get him tested by ...and she had just met him that year.
That was when I pulled my eldest son out of public school and placed him in a home school program. He advanced rapidly once I had made that move - it was the right move for him. It was also when I decided to get back into advocating and ended up back in the mix of being involved in providing parents and students resources on their rights, and standing up to an educational system that for some students leaves them far behind.
So needless to say that while waiting at that podium for Rev. Jesse Jackson to speak to the protesters, and knowing that the woman in front of me caused my son so much grief ....seeing the look in his eyes when he noticed her.....well, surreal just doesn't seem to cut it.
But, after the shock of the moment, it dawned on me how we're all in this together....I wasn't there to support her....and just teachers..and other public sector employees - I was there to stand up against an outrage...an over reach...and someone that I cannot seem to get the word 'dictator' out of my head every time I picture him.
I knew then there was far more to what was happening than the picture they were trying to sell us. It was an attack on the middle class...and the low income. It was an attack on opportunity - I was there as a woman who believes that taking away access to family planning centers is more than just preventing abortions , it means taking away a woman's choice - Which you know what? I hate the thought of abortions, but it's my choice.
I was there because I do not believe his administration should have sole power to gut as they see fit entitlement programs - I was there because quite frankly I felt he was abusing his power and then belittling those...degrading others ...like teachers protesting and the 14 senators who left for Illinois to allow for debate...REAL debate, all because they fought back - I was there because I am still pissed off at the way candidates ...all of them (red, blue or purple)...ran their campaigns this past election season..."I am not him...therefore vote for me and donate" (DAMN I HATED THAT!) -
While I do support collective bargaining , I was there for far more than just that. I was there because I am tired...like so many....tired of struggling, working my butt off in raising these children in this economy and always feeling like I am treading water and I'll be damned if some rich bastards get the breaks every time there's a crisis in this country while people like me can't sleep at night because we're not sure how we're going to make it through another day...Enough is Enough!
I was there because damn it I refuse to be a victim!
I was there because damn it I refuse to be a victim!
So, yeah - it made me chuckle when that person left those comments assuming that I didn't understand what I was supporting and was just in it for the teachers...those "overpaid" teachers and union thugs.
Having said all of that, I am also there -being vocal - because this is damn scary what is happening here in Wisconsin - and, across the nation. Inspiring, but scary. I could either sit back and close my eyes while I hope for the best and leave it for others to decide or fight for what I believe in. I am just one person in this....we all have our own reasons - some have reasons that go beyond mine- but a message to friends who may not believe as I do....or to the others who cannot seem to get past calling everyone they disagree with a derogatory term - don't assume to know all of our whys -that's how we got into this mess in the first place - people assumed no one was paying attention.