Tuesday, December 6, 2011

The Purgatory of Walker Supporters

One of our signature challengers, @BatmanWI, had a weird personal-space invasion by a Walker supporter this evening and wanted to share the incident in a Facebook note so that people could think about what they might do if faced with a similar situation. It's certainly not the first unwanted contact between petitioners and Walker supporters, and not likely to be the last.

While both sides of the issue have done good jobs of painting each other as bogeymen, incidents are surprisingly low given the strength of sentiment in the state. I've talked to some obnoxious Walker supporters, but none of them have tried to invade my personal space or deface my petitions, which is a good thing for both of us, because, like many other volunteers, I've thought about what I would do if the situation arose. (Incidentally, it involves tackling anyone who messes with my petitions, then picking his back pocket for his wallet to get his ID. Getting a license plate number is my backup plan.) I do think, however, that the announcement of being over halfway there in 12 days has been a reality check for some Walker supporters.

Let's face it, it's not easy to be a Walker supporter right now. While activists like you and I are out there busily gathering signatures, there's nothing for them to do right now except donate money, and how many Walker supports are actually in a position to do that during the holiday season? Some of them are bound to be feeling helpless because they can't control the outcome and they really don't have anything constructive they can do right now. They're stuck in a waiting game with an inadequate funding of patience. Unfortunately, that's a recipe for elevated incidents to occur.

At the same time, though, it's important not to let your imagination run away with you. The majority of incidents described by people seem to be intimidation attempts. They want to scare you into not circulating petitions. The solution to most of these situations is to simply not be scared. Do be cautious and keep your wits about you, but don't let them intimidate you into not volunteering, because then they win. And right now that's the ONLY strategy Walker supporters with shallow pockets have available to them until the recall election is certified as a success. It's a sad little corner of purgatory to occupy. We should know--we've been there for months, but at least we had the knowledge that we could look forward to this time of recall activity. Walker supporters have been in denial about the true desires of Wisconsin residents for too long, and only now are they realizing that Walker will have to reapply for his job after all. It's a scary place for them to be. I don't condone any of the intimidation tactics, but I think I understand them. That understanding will not, however, keep me from marching on the Forward line.

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