Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Good News From The Front Lines

I received the following email from a friend of Cognitive Dissidence regarding the writer's experience yesterday in gathering signatures for the Scott Walker recall.  The missive appears in the most part, edited judiciously to remove identifying information, grammatical purposes and so that it is formatted to appear on your TV.  The author's name is redacted in order to preserve their privacy and keep them safe from the harassers and the issuers of death threats, which are all too common among the right wing Walker apologists nowadays.
1. Met the two most amazing women/saints on 76th and Layton gathering Walker-recall petitions, more about them later.

2. There was an obvious paid-Walker guy there hassling them and the people who were trying to sign petitions. I hope you can get a good description of his clothes and stuff, because I'm sure they're just directing him to the intersections where signatures are being gathered.


I don't have a printer, so I was walking down to Kinko's to print off a form. When I saw THREE people "manning" a Recall effort, I thought, "this is great!" This is how stupid the Walker people are. Their guy only amplified the impact these courageous women were having. The people driving by have no clue he supports Walker. Sure the signatures are critical, but imho, at this early stage, the "soft value," of drivers seeing "boots on the ground," is far, far greater in the long run than the signatures the get collected. Before I got there Walker-boy increased the perceived presence of the Recall efforts in the minds of drivers by 33%.

The two saints had a table, two chairs, pens, clipboards.... I was very impressed.

I sit down and start to fill it out and Walker-guy asks me if I knew what I was doing.

You are one of the few people in the world who can appreciate how THRILLED I was to sign recall petitions for Scotty and Becky. I was very happy in an animated way to share that with Walker-guy. After I got up, I figured I'd be a gentleman and hold one of the signs for awhile. I got this idea from listening to Sara Schultz on her radio show. She said, give the petition-gatherers a hand, just stand there with them is support. That enabled one of the women a little break and she could focus on helping people feel comfortable, get situated. It was only at this point that I realized that Walker-boy was really getting right up to the line. It finally dawned on (poor listener) me that she was quietly and firmly instructing him NOT to talk to her anymore. She was terrific, very civil, but very firm. She said it was his right to stay, but he was NOT to address her anymore.

He wasn't giving her any space, (I'm sure he was trying to provoke her).

I inserted myself in between him and her in a remarkably civil tone told him not to address her anymore. He was 1/2 my size and older, so it wasn't an act of heroism. I had a great time giving him all my arguments honed for years in the comments of the MJS and at Firedoglake. At the end, as he was leaving, he asked me to tell the woman that he was sorry for bothering her. That just confirmed in my mind that he was paid by Walker's people.

There's a lot going on at these things. The biggest problem (and nothing you can do about it) imho is that sometimes people just stop on Layton, like it's drive-thru petitions. You've got to explain to them that they have to get into the parking lot and out-of-traffic. One woman was disabled and asked if someone could bring the petitions to her car. One of the two saints did.

Both of these women were really good at "connecting" with complete strangers, who came from a wide variety of backgrounds, and then nurturing them through the process. Lot of husband and wife couples. Really good energy.

They were showing them their ID, so these people knew they were genuine.

I stayed about an hour, guessing.

About an equal number of drivers telling us that we were "number-one" versus those showing genuine support.

Be nice, if the effort has the resources, to have someone who could drive a round to the really small groups (two-women), give them a break, coffee, time to hit the jake...... According to the one woman, the other woman was there before her and just started all by herself. That's dedication and guts. IMHO, two is the minimum number, but you can't tell courageous, dedicated people not to collect signatures. Saw what democracy looked like today and it looked damn good.

Thanks for all the consistently great work.


  1. People, if you can, grab a video camera and go sit with petition gatherers. Take audio/video of Walker's harassers. It could prove important in a lawsuit, in a TV ad, in a news report. Be civil but do document Walker's cronies trying to suppress voter rights and breaking the law.

  2. That is good news. It does do a lot of good just to see the people out with their petition stations. Lifts my heart everytime!

  3. Thanks to all that have collected signatures, helped circulators, signed, reported upon, and/or diffused potentially volatile situations.