Tractors Roll Into Madison, As Wisconsin Readies For The Biggest Protest Yet
The numbers tell the story of Wisconsin's resistance, and its resilience.
The tens of thousands.
Wisconsinites from every background, every religion, every politics and every job have filled the Capitol Square for the past month.
Their message has been clear and unequivocal. They oppose Scott Walker’s assault on working families. They oppose the lawless actions of legislative leaders who are more determined to advance the governor’s political agenda than to respect their colleagues or to serve the interests of the whole state.
This has been an exhilarating, frustrating, depressing and empowering time.
Emotions have soared and collapsed.
But Wisconsinites are a resilient people. Nothing Scott Walker does to the citizen of the state will be as long-lasting or meaningful as what those citizens do for the state when they remove him – and those who have supported him – from office.
Wisconsin's resilience is rooted in its traditions. Wisconsinites learned to work hard in factories and on farms.
Most Wisconsinites can trace their roots to a homestead on a country road. The is and will always be "America’s Dairyland," a farm state with a regard for those who work the land.
So when the farmers of Wisconsin arrive today, on tractors that have rolled in from across the state, Wisconsinites will complete the circle of this movement.
The tractorcade, organized by the Wisconsin Farmers Union and Family Farm Defenders, will begin a day of rallying at the Capitol that is expected to be the largest yet -- and that will signal the determination of Wisconsinites to keep fighting the Walker agenda.
"The governor wants to divide us," says western Wisconsin farmer Joel Greeno, who will ride his tractor into the Capitol Square this morning. "But that won't happen. The governor's got his corporate contributors. But the state employees and the teachers, they've got us. Farmers understand that when you cut funding for road crews and schools, our rural communities get hurt. And we've been hurt enough."
Wisconsin workers and farmers will in the words of the tractorcade organizers "Pull Together!" That's a slogan that recalled the historic organizing of the farmer-labor movements of the upper Midwest, which has their expression in Wisconsin in the Progressive Party that sent Robert M. La Follette Jr. to the U.S. Senate and elected Phil La Follette as governor in the 1930s.
It has been a long time since Wisconsin has been this united, and since the farmers and workers of the state have spoken in so loud and clear a voice.
On Saturday, that voice will declare: When you push Wisconsin in the wrong direction Scott Walker, Wisconsin will push back!
© 2011 The Nation