Despite what the media says, the battle is not over in Wisconsin. It is true, we seemingly got cheated out of a recall election with every indication of fraud present. This, however, is Wisconsin and we don’t just throw in the towel and go home. Nowhere is this more clear than at the Capitol. The Wisconsin State Capitol is unique in that it was built for the purpose of public discourse. The architects meticulously crafted the Rotunda so that no matter what equipment you had, whether a megaphone or just your voice, you could petition your government. They placed audible points marked by squares or diamonds in the stone floor where you can stand and point your voice up and it will resonate much easier throughout the rotunda. The founders of our state also put a clause in the State Constitution mandating that the doors of the legislature remain open. As with all Constitutional rights, if you fail to exercise them you can easily lose them. So exercise them we continue to do, from singing every day from noon to one in the Rotunda to sitting in on a public meeting.
And try as they may, the Republicans in both the Assembly and the Senate have not been able to squash our rights. Sure they have had us arrested. I have been arrested thirty three times in the last year and a half, mainly for filming an open meeting or holding a sign silently. Many others are sitting on multiple arrests as well, each one dismissed due to an inability to enforce on Constitutional grounds. Getting arrested does not squash a right, however, unless it causes those getting arrested to give up. Arrests and the lengthy court system are used as a wedge to force people to give up their rights or avoid a major hassle. It is when you do not give up those rights that they cannot be squashed. Give them up we will not, resulting in arrests for holding signs and filming in literally every Senate and Assembly floor session in 2011 and 2012 since May. But the legislature is out of session until 2013. That’s right, the same people who were whining about teachers getting three months off for summer, worked four months (half-assed) this year and don’t have to come back until 2013 while they continue to enjoy their nearly $50,000 a year salary. The rights violations continue, however, this time the attacker is none other than the mainstream press.
It all started on June 14th, 2012 when an activist was arrested for having a conversation outside the press room. The press room is a room in the Capitol on the Second floor which houses the members of the “professional press” or Wisconsin Capitol Correspondents Association. The problem is that the hallway in which the activist was talking to another activist is a public hallway. The press didn’t like the conversation the two were having outside their door so they called the police who later arrested the man; for talking in a public hallway. Police, when later asked for comment simply stated that they received a complaint and that they are pursuing every complaint and letting the courts figure it out. In other words, if a press member or legislator or even staffer calls the police on you, they will issue a ticket not caring whether legal or not as the courts can decide that. Not only is this a gross abuse of police power, it threatens the safety and personal liberty of anyone who dare “protest.”
Hearing this activist was arrested for having a conversation and being told that he was discouraged from going back and exercising his free speech because of it, I decided to push this. I consulted a constitutional rights attorney as I normally do and devised a plan. I decided that every day I would ride by the press room and chant “Wisconsin State Urinal and Associated Piss: Yellow Journalism.” This was, of course a political statement and a play on the Wisconsin State Journal and Associated Press, two masters of propaganda. For three days the press did nothing. Then Gwyn Guenther, now the owner and operator of “The Wheeler Report” after the passing of her father Dick Wheeler came out of the room. She screamed to “get the &%$# away from here,” here of course meaning the public hallway. I informed her the hallway was public and she could not tell me to leave so she went in the room, slammed the door, and called the police. Less than thirty seconds later I was confronted by five police officers. Two days later I was given a $263.50 citation for “Disorderly Conduct.”
The complaint states that it is hard for them to work with someone outside the door chanting or talking. It is hard for me to imagine they have much work to do as their articles consist of paraphrased Republican press releases. Unfortunately for them, by catering to the current administration and failing to adequately cover the news so that they can retain access to the Governor and legislature puts them in a very political place. They cannot expect not to be petitioned, they play a very crucial role in the destruction of our state. What can be expected is that they can do their jobs under a variety of conditions. How did these clowns even get through college if a mere statement makes them unable to do their job? Apparently being able to handle criticism and being able to work in places with noise is not a requirement for “journalists” in Wisconsin. Nor is a knowledge of the Constitution as they seem confused on free speech in a public hallway. But we will not allow them to trample our rights. More and more people are joining in singing and chanting outside of the press room now. Because this is Wisconsin. If you mess with our rights we always come back fighting.
One day longer! One day stronger!
Segway Jeremy Ryan has become a full-time member of the protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol. Formerly a businessman, he gave up his business to join the fight for the middle class in the State of Wisconsin. He rides a Segway due to a heart condition. Through videos and writings he has informed hundreds of thousands of people about what was going on at the Wisconsin State Capitol once the mainstream media had mostly abandoned the protests. He has been arrested 33 times mainly for silently filming or holding up a sign in the Capitol.