Part of me wishes I really did need to "Get a f****** job" like so many right-wingers have been screaming at me for the past two weeks - then I would have more time to volunteer and collect signatures to remove Walker from his perch. But work and family come first, and since my kids were suffering from strep throat the ENTIRE Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I could not get out as much as I wanted to. When I do make it outside however, I try squeeze every signature out of every person with at least a little bit of common sense left in Milwaukee. (In other words, people who don't listen to 620 WTMJ or watch Fox News)
I pack my little Hyundai full of signs, signs that have to be held, signs that lean against poles, signs that have to be hung around necks, signs that can be taped to tables, signs that reflect light, signs that get heavy after three hours of holding them, signs that smell like paint and give me a damn headache, signs that are made of cheap particle board and give me slivers . . . you get the picture.
I usually meet a mother and daughter team that "have been working the corners together" as a team since the days of the Senator Mary Lazich recall. They are angels and troopers and are out EVERY SINGLE day. We have fold-able tables, more clipboards than you can count, big rocks to hold the clip boards down in the wind, pockets full of those orange hand-warmers and kleenex to wipe our constantly runny noses. We drink hot chocolate and coffee, rotate out for potty-breaks and take turns holding signs and waving and instructing citizens how to fill out the petitions.
We change locations based upon police interference or signing traffic. We scout the area for busy intersections with good parking and public areas for our signs and tables. We are fluid and mobile. We set up in minutes and often collect more than 100 signatures in three hours.
Personally, I have found the city to be much more hospitable - there are many, many "This is what democracy looks like" car honks, very few middle finger waves and almost never does anyone shout anything negative out of a passing car.
In the suburbs of Greendale and Franklin it is a much different story: As you may be aware, I had a full can of soda thrown at my head, we can't go two minutes without someone in a $40,000 foreign car rolling down the window and telling us that "Teachers are greedy" or "Get a life" or "F*ck off!" And to be truthful, most of these comments have come from women (they must have a thing for Sean Hannity).
Occasionally someone has the audacity to get out of their car and harass us in person. They park their Lexus or their Cadillac SUV right near us, walk over and lecture us on what a great job Walker has done in Wisconsin "balancing the budget." And when we confront them and tell them that he "balanced the budget" on the backs of the working-class and lower-class people of the state and that Wisconsin led the nation in job losses last month (10,000) they stutter, and mumble something about greedy teachers again, give the old finger wave and head back into their foreign car with the leather seats and turn on Charlie Sykes and let their blood pressure rise as they listen to the hate spewing from their Infinity speaker system.
Then there is the guy in his hunting overalls in the beat-up red truck who signed the recall petitions, "Let him stay" and "Let her stay". When Sara snapped his picture, wrote down his plate number and informed him of the $10,000 fine and felony conviction coming his way he actually, literally started to cry and beg not to be turned in - turns out he has been out of work for two years and is just "really upset" and only likes Walker because now he can carry a concealed gun and protect his home under the "castle doctrine". Looks like he could have used some work, say in the light-rail industry that Walker let walk away.
We never turned him in.
I remember way back (like 5 years ago) when if someone said they were a teacher, the usual response was "God bless you, you have a tough job" or "It is a shame what we pay our teachers" was the usual response. Now all of a sudden teachers are greedy bastards for demanding such things as affordable health care and a decent retirement package after dedicating 30 years to educating our children.
How dare they? Teachers have it easy - paying their own college loans off on a low salary, then paying their own way through a master's degree (in order to keep their license) and then renegotiating contracts every two years to give up salary to compensate for affordable health care. What thiefs, what leeches, what greedy sons-of-bitches right? B.S.!
If teaching is so easy and it pays so well, why doesn't everybody become a teacher and take on what is apparently the world's easiest, best-paying job? Because it is none of the above. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Try it some time, then you might understand why 50% of all teachers quit within the first 3 years.