I did mention that I'm from Wisconsin, didn't I?
Wisconsin made a bit of news this week, in case you hadn't noticed. Our new Governor has introduced a budget repair bill that is being met with enthusiasm, though not the kind he was planning on. The democratic senators have left the state to prevent a vote on the bill until more discussion can happen, and schools closed throughout the state as teachers called in sick and traveled to Madison to protest. (We even have our own Wikipedia page if you are interested.) Regardless of your politics it makes for a good story at the very least. Democracy!
On Saturday I loaded my kids into the car and headed to Madison. I wanted to see this historic Wisconsin moment first hand and share it with my kids – Sage in particular. I wanted to give them a first hand experience with democracy in action. As homeschoolers this was an amazing opportunity to learn about our government.
What we saw in Madison was nothing short of amazing. Thousands of people, standing together and particiapting in the story of Wisconsin and the workings of our government. I didn't see any apathy here. When the crowd in the capital started chanting "This is what democracy looks like!" I got goosebumps. Regardless of your politics, this is what democracy looks like. We were safe to stand up to our government, to chant and shout and drum and yell. We were safe. Because as poorly as I believe our democracy functions, it is still a democracy.
Sage and Lupine were transfixed by the crowds, the signs, the songs, the chanting, the passion. They had never seen anything like it.
Finally we left the capital building and watched the march of thousands that encircled the capital square. Sage had a lot of questions about the government, the budget bill, and democracy. With his new reading skills he also had a lot of questions and commentary about the signs. It was his first real introduction to the workings of our government, to politics, to democracy.
The protest was peaceful, passionate, and even – at times – humorous (see below). We left for home feeling our freedom in a different way than we had before. Because whether that voice will be heard or not, we were able to raise it. Becasue this is, after all, a democracy. And hooray for that.