Today the Solidarity Singalong took a stand against the new anti-protesting rules in the capitol. Reports vary in the number of singers today's event drew, likely somewhere between 500 and 1,000. While the new rules state that a permit is necessary for gatherings of four or more--excluding families and lobbyists--there are apparently no plans to arrest anyone who isn't in compliance, which makes them more suggestions than guidelines, as far as I can tell. In all honesty, I think the new rules are rekindling the desire to be physically present at the capitol. I can't see how this is a win for Walker or his friends: even if it pulls petition circulators off the beat for an hour plus commute each day, the singalong inspires protesters, not just in Madison but also beyond. It's also poor timing on Walker's part, since TIME magazine has just named the protester the person of the year for 2011. These new rules are not only unconstitutional; they come at a time when people are ready to step up and oppose them as such. With all of this commotion, how could we keep from singing, whether we can be physically present in Madison or not?
After monitoring today's Solidarity Singalong, I spent two hours in front of my local Walgreens. I would say that positive reactions outweighed negative ones. I don't know if more people are supporting the recall or if more people are simply resigned to the fact that flipping me off will not make me leave. Cold, however, eventually will, and while the bank clock claimed 40˚, there was a bit of a wind that chilled extremities. I ended up with ten signatures, starting with a state employee who met me on the sidewalk before I could even take my place and ending with a couple of women who used the roundabout to come back and sign once they realized I was collecting signatures. That places me at 559 signatures. Still, ten more signatures are ten more reasons to sing!
I'm starting to doubt that I'll reach 1,000 signatures, but I don't expect to stop trying. I think the days of 100 signatures in an outing are gone, though. Perhaps when we switch to doors it will pick up a little again. Perhaps not. Either way, I'll put in the time.
On a side note, my brother-in-law, who lives near Detroit, observed a car on the freeway with Michigan plates and a "Recall Walker" bumper sticker. This made me smile. Just one more reason to sing. :)