One of McHenry County’s representatives to the Madison demonstration Saturday was kind enough to send me all sorts of photos so you can get a sense off what went on.
First, let’s look at instructions handed out by the union organizers:
"They didn't do too well on their own second point," the person who found this instruction sheet noted.
There were “observers.”
This "Legal Observer" apparently didn't appreciate having her photo taken.
The one above wasn’t wearing yellow, but others were.
One might assume that those on Governor Scott Walker's side didn't know the yellow-shirted folks were on the public employee union's side.
There was official security, however.
Sheriff's deputies were on duty.
Observers were on top of buildings.
Those allied with the TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party side of the issue were on one side of the State Capitol.
My guess is this was where Tea Party supporters gathered to listen to speeches.
The friend of McHenry County Blog jotted down some notes for me.
Here's what one of the signs supporting Gov. Scott Walker said, "Gov. Walker, he's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can. the 'State," not the 'Unions," decides how taxpayer dollars are spent for the good of 'all' the people of Wisconsin."
“We joined with others supporting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker in his efforts to restore some order to the State Budget by adjusting policies regarding state funding of contracts for state workers (public employees).
This demonstration was held Saturday. One supporter of the Republican position in Wisconsin pointed out that he could not demonstrate during the week because he had to go to work.
“Beautiful weather with blue skies and lots of sunshine made it a joy to be outdoors after this long, dreary winter even though it was a bit brisk.
The Tea Party attendees seem to be listening to a speech.
“The Tea Party Patriots turned out in large numbers and filled the area at the east side of the Capital Building, with overflow on the sidewalks surrounding the east side of the building.
“Several speakers addressed the crowd, with commentary about
- the wages and benefits of publicly paid union members,
- the necessity to curb continued over-indulgence of pay rates and perks since the taxpayers paying those bills are no longer willing to do so.
“Chants of ‘Enough is Enough’ rose from the crowd along with, ‘Pass the Bill.’
Some streets, such as this one near the Walgreens near the Capitol were filled.
“The protesting crowd marched in the streets and on the sidewalks.
Printed union signs were evident.
“Most carried professionally made signs , some carrying names of AFL-CIO, SEIU, Teamsters or Firefighters unions.
McHenry County Blog's eyes on the street wrote this in the email accompanying this handout entitled, "Domestic Assault"--"This is one of the sheets being passed out by the pro-union, pro-teacher groups. Evidently, we should all be viewing the unions as our savior." Click to enlarge this or any other image.
“Of course, the ACLU was also present.
A union supporter carried a sign containing an acronym for TEA PARTY: "Terrified Elderly Anglos Pitching Arian Race Tantrum Y'all." Perhaps you can find some dark faces in the photos I was sent, but it appears that union jobs go primary to white people in the Madison area.
I did see one black fist on a poster, however.
The closest I could come to an African-American in the photos I was sent was the clenched black fist next to a peace symbol on the placard above. I can make out the word "Solidarity." It was behind a yellow "Recall Walker" poster and next to one advocating "Worker Rights" in two languages.
“Many signs carried by protesters were aimed at demeaning Tea Party members, several actually very obscene.
"Bit Me Tea Party," reads one poster in this picture. Another says, "Care about educators like they care about your child."
“We also heard people on both sides of the issue comment on the doctors who were present to give teachers ‘doctors’ notes’ to excuse their absences from the classroom.
The sign you see says, "My teachers are awesome. They don't call in 'SICK'" Another sign reads, "Work Rights Are Civil Rights."
“We understand some local school boards will require a doctor’s note when teachers finally decide to return to their beloved classrooms.
"Don't Sell out the Children," is written on this poster board.
“Almost forgot to mention that the old ‘For the Children routine is still alive and well and being used as a ploy to get us on their side.
"Hurting Teachers Hurts Kids" represents another variation on a theme that is often used in school tax hike referendums. "Really Tommy Walker" is on another. I can make out, "Mr. Walker. You're a bad man" and "Cops for Labor" in the background.
“Several signs were incorporating the ‘For the Children’ routine in various configurations.
"Real Democracy - Letting All Have a Say in Public Servants Compensation" is the message here.
“Signs also use the rationale that the protest is an exercise in democracy and a teaching moment.
A homemade sign reads, "No child left behind requires no teacher left behind. How do we go forward? On Wisconsin!"
“We had conversations with teachers on two separate occasions during the afternoon dealing with their pensions and health care benefits.
This was a popular professionally-printed sign: "Care about teachers. They care about your child." There are two big red hearts on it.
“Both teachers told us that they are also taxpayers so don’t understand why taxpayers should object to their negotiations.
This poster talks of financial concessions made by public employee unions: "Unions made financial concessions. Walker said, 'No.' This is not about $."
“When asked who paid their pensions and health care, we were told that they do
A sign on the Tea Party side of the Capitol: "Tea Party. These colors don't run. We'll Exploit Any Child."
“Neither recognized that the taxpayers actually fund both.
A self-identified University of Wisconsin student carries a sign saying, "Future Teacher, Current UW Student, Former Union Member, I'm a triple threat." To the left is a printed sign reading. "Teabaggers are too stupid to understand that he is screwing you too."
“Also notable was the position that since teachers have degrees they are more worthy of high salaries; this point was highly promoted by
- a woman claiming to have not one but TWO degrees (who takes taxpayer money as a school social worker) and
- a man who claimed his wife went to school for an additional 15 years so she could be a research scientist (writing submissions for grants worth millions of dollars – another taxpayer funded enterprise).
"Get Back to Work" can be seen on one sign. I can also see a yellow sign reading "I stand with Walker."
“Both were particularly adamant that those with the degrees should be the ones earning top dollars.
"No deficit spending" and "Support Walker" signs can be seen. Click to enlarge the photo and you can see men on the top of the building with lots of windows.
“I guess the rest of us should just work to give to them and stop complaining.
"Stop the Attack on Wisconsin Families" one printed sign read. Standing next to the man holding it is a women with a placard that says, "Wisconsin Educators - A Voice for Wisconsin's Students and Public Schools."
“Overall, I’d have to say that the whole event was notable for viewing the activities of those who profess to be professionals.”