Scott Walker has left the building: My time protesting the man and the death of my love for Madison WI

So Wisconsin finally voted out Scott Walker... I have been waiting for this day; A day that the general population of the state came to their senses and sent a clear message to their governor.  It was a mistake, we never should have been with you in the first place, our lives are now so much worse for having know you. Instead the state barely voted him out by narrow margins 49.6% Tony Evers 48.4% Scott Walker.  So he is gone but the cathartic moment I was hoping for is now dashed upon the rocks on the Milwaukee shoreline of Lake Michigan carried on by the weakest of blue waves.  Did you hear that?


There it went.

Still in honor of the flaccid moment in Wisconsin's political history I felt motivated to share what material I had generated during the 2011 Act 10 protests and the Recall Election.  I don't expect anyone to really sit through the 45 minutes of photos and video I compiled on YouTube but you can find it below if you are so interested and as a epilogue of sorts I am including something I wrote on the night of the failed recall election.

2012-06-05 When Is a Hometown Not A Hometown Anymore

It happened faster than anyone could have anticipated in under an hour after the official close of the polls (2051 to be exact) NBC called the election for Republicans.  My wife and I sat there in disbelief; with only 23% of precincts reporting, surely that there was still a chance!  The next hour saw three more major news outlets call the race in favor of the Republicans and all hope was gone. My wife sat there, she never really wept, the tears just welled up and she blinked them away.

The night I met her (was pretty cloudy) but I clearly recall saying to her when she told me what her job was that, "along with nursing, that it was one of the great thankless professions."  Over six years later I sat there and watched my now wife crying, neither of us could have imagined back then, the depth to the truth that statement would carry.

What do you do when a state’s population roundly rejects your professions right to fair pay and benefits?  Where do you go from there?  The immediate knee jerk reaction for both of us was "away."

She went to bed, she had to go to work the next day and do the job that had just been confirmed to be of less worth by a majority of the voters in our state.  Since I am still on my long break and I had anticipated that the election would run much later into the night and had planned to go to an election watch party at a theater near the state capitol building, at the time of making that plan I thought that surely had we won, the celebration would have been one to be a part of.  Instead, driving down there knowing that the Republicans had already won the night had an entirely different feeling.

It was about 2220 when I finally left the house, I figured that maybe I could meet some interesting people still and maybe start on my goal of adding some Democratic friends to my circle.  The temperature was in the mid 60's and the moon was full and low, that brown/orange that makes you want to stop and stare at it, something that never looks the same when you take a picture of it.  It is something that you just have to see.  I drove the Buick down there slowly (around 5 mph under the speed limit) not consciously, there were no cars on the road so you could just drive your mood and my mood was 5 mph slower than the law dictated.  I had the four windows cracked about 3 inches and the cool air felt wonderful, not being in a rush to get down there I took the time to take in the sights.

Not much changes on the way to downtown.  It's when you get onto the main road into campus that the changes start to become evident.  The gigantic Target Superstore, the string of new apartment construction that backs up against the main drag and the new UHS building also along the "high speed" portion of the main drag before you get to the Mechanical Engineering Building.  Then there's the new student union, and a plethora of new buildings, the absence of an old residence hall and the presence of the monstrosity that is the new one.  It began to dawn on me that none of this is familiar to me at all.  I used to think that I had fond memories of the two years I screwed off on campus but that place is gone...

I parked at the ramp that sits behind the where we had our wedding and after driving past some twenty-somethings that were just out getting drunk on a Tuesday (ah those days) and then it dawned on me, some of the partial genius of the timing of the vote, the bulk of the students were gone, it was summer break.  None of these "kids" seemed to be aware of what had gone on during the day and what transpired that night, they were caught up in their own microcosms.

I walked up towards the capitol and was greeted by a small crowd (maybe 200 people) of hangers-on, most were resigned, angry, all were talking about general strikes, other options of what to do next.  I stood across the street and watched long enough for some young Republicans to drive up honking their horns and waving out the windows.  They slowed to a crawl, I couldn't hear what they were saying over the honking and the "fuck you's" that the small crowd were hurling towards the cars.  The eight policemen next to me in their in riot gear perked up for a second, but the car drove off without incident and they went back to wishing they were anywhere else on a Tuesday night.

None of those people seemed like friend material to me so I walked past them and out of earshot of their grumblings.  My mind went back to how nice of a night it really was, in an "Other than that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?" sort of way.  The Capitol Building was looking its best against the night sky, one of the sights I will never get tired of here.   "Sad to think that a Republican will get to continue to inhabit the place," I thought to myself.  I caught up to a rough looking fellow that I'm sure the right wingers would have loved to hold up as an occupy derelict.  I couldn't tell if he was drunk, a little off or both when he says to me, "there's always the legal route."  I chuckled and said, "Let’s hope so," and moved on.

The watch party at the theater was more of the same, "Who was I kidding," I thought to myself.  The kind of Democratic friends I was looking for wouldn't still be out at 11:00p on a Tuesday night drinking five dollar tall boys of Pabst Blue Ribbon; So I continued on my trek around the square, around the two last "quiet" corners of the square and back to the loud corner and down towards where I parked, I thought I would stop by one of the old hangers-on bars that I like and have a drink.

This street had changed a lot since I came here as well; some of the bars had the same name but were in different locations, others were in the same location but with different names, shuffled in the name of revitalization.  When I got to my regular bar it looked like it was open but there was no staff in sight, the desire for a drink had waned so much at that point that I didn't even have the motivation to reach out and grab the handle of the door and give it a pull to see if it was locked.

I went back to the car, and took the same slow drive back home, with a feeling I had one other time after a walk around downtown, when I came to the realization that I would never be happy until I went back to school and got my Bachelors.  That it was a wound to my psyche to have that failure hanging over my head.  I was on my way home with the realization that this isn't the same place I remembered it to be.  It used to be the city I loved; now it is the city I live in.  And if the city you live in is surrounded by a population that thinks and acts counter to the way you do, you really need to love that city to stay there.  I drove home not sure that I had that love in me anymore.

I started to think about the changes to the city and a metaphor started to form in my head of the city and myself and my friends.  I have lived in here for 15 years and no one can expect a city to stay the same forever.  And much like this city has changed so have my friends, things have happened in their lives and mine and those things have changed each and every one of us.  As I've said recently when I see my friends and listen to them talk and see their actions, it feels like I have very little in common with them other than time spent.  Just like this town.  The thing now is what do I do with that realization?


AT (After Trump): Henry Rollins/Joe Strummer Meme Making The Rounds

I like it so I thought I would share the audio clip of Henry Speaking the words as well.

AT (After Trump): Deep Seated Xenophobia Comes to the Surface In Mauston, WI

Growing up we were poor, two years prior to our 1988 move to Wisconsin my Dad had convinced my mom to try and move from Hammond Indiana to Puerto Rico to be close to his family in Yabucoa they sold the house we were living in and spent all the money on tickets to Puerto Rico and we left.  My Mom being a midwestern gal hated it immediately (too hot, too humid) if we lasted a month I would be surprised.  All I know is that when spent the rest of our money to fly back we had no money at all upon arrival back in our hometown in the Continental United States. My Dad had to go to the St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church in Hammond and ask for money from the Nuns at the Convent for food and for lodging.

During that time of my life I distinctly remember waiting in an actual foodstamp line on more than one occasion; Because of this I know what government cheese is, what it tastes like and I have drank government powdered milk.  We spent the next two years floating around the area before  moving from Hammond Indiana to Elroy Wisconsin (population 463 at the time and hometown to then Governor Tommy Thompson) on the heels of my Mother's bachelors degree in Theology from Calumet College of St. Joseph.  She was able to got a job as the Director of Religious Education for St. Patrick's Catholic Church.  The only reason that we were able to afford to move there was because part of the job was that we would be allowed to live in the vacant second floor of the rectory free of charge and my mother would be paid for her work.  My Dad managed to land a job at Walker Stainless as a welder, a job that he held until a few years ago when he retired.  After two years my parents were able to save enough money with their jobs and the fact that we were not paying out of pocket for housing for a down payment on a ranch home in Mauston, WI.  My mom quit her job and focused on raising us and my Dad supported us with his one job the rest of my childhood.

There is a lot more to that time in my life but for now I want to focus on an event that just happened there this last Sunday involving my Dad.

A little over five years ago; When I moved to California, My dad bought my 2005 Buick Lacrosse from me.  My now deceased mother always loved the car so he bought it for her.  A few months ago he hit a deer he finally got it repaired out of his own pocket and then this past Sunday someone vandalized it in the early morning hours. They egged the car, smashed in his driver's side rear window, spray painted the word "fuck" on the drivers side quarter panel, opened the gas tank and attempted to (succeeded in?) putting egg in there, spray painted "KKK," a Swastika and a penis on the trunk lid and keyed the car.

My dad has another car that was parked in the garage at the time, He didn't need to fix it up after the deer incident; in reality it was financially unwise but he loved my mother and he saw it as a way to stay connected to her.  Now this...



I want to share this because I know that nothing will be done about it.  No one will be held to account and the same racism that has peaked it's head up for this brief moment will go back to curdling just below the small town facade as it was during my time in small town Wisconsin.  Nobody will care that a retired, Puerto Rican, Catholic Deacon,  widower, veteran, who got himself some bootstraps and pulled off the American dream had this happen to him when his Daughter and Grandkids were home visiting.

I'll close out this rather long post with an excerpt of something that in 2009 because I think it does a better job at describing the victim of this hate crime than I can do in the emotional state I am currently in:

"My Dad"

An article in The Catholic Times eleven days ago (2009-08-07) mentions my Dad.  The article is announcing the Ordination of a new Deacon.  The new Deacon said the example my dad set helped him realize that the calling he felt to service was a calling to the Diaconate.  “He’s a quiet, humble man,” he said.  “Through him I experienced Christ the servant, who a Deacon is supposed to be.”

I never thought it would be possible to say so much about my Dad with so few words.  Perhaps he didn’t know how true his statement rang through my Dad’s entire life.  Ever since I can remember my dad has been in service, before he became a Deacon he was in service to his family.  One of my favorite things to do when I was growing up was to go with my Mom to take Dad lunch.  Back when my Mom was studying Theology, My dad was working as a maintenance man at a high school and during the summer one of his jobs was to mow the grounds at the school.  These were my favorite times to go because I liked to see the tractor, the lunch, which in most of my memories was a TV Dinner that my mom would bring to him hot was barely a meal for someone who did pretty much manual labor all day.  This was before the super mega “hungry man” TV dinners we have today.  Me and my sister, being young and oblivious to the reality that was our Dad’s life would sit there and wait, hoping that he would share the little dessert cake which was normally a brownie or some sort of cranberry pie thing, with us and every time, my dad, who was busting his ass all day at a minimum wage job, which garnered little to no respect, managed to pretend like he was going to eat it and eventually would give it to me and my sister to share.  Even though my Dad was likely still hungry after that little lunch, it meant more to him to see the smiles on our faces than to eat that little bit extra of food.

My dad became a Deacon right under my nose, I didn’t realize at the time when he would go on “retreats” that he was studying to be Ordained.  All I knew was that he would always bring me and my sister each and individually packaged bowl of cereal.  We thought the tiny boxes were so cool!  Never even thinking that my Dad might have gone without breakfast to bring them home to us.  I never really thought about why my Dad even wanted to become a Deacon in the first place, perhaps it was because there were a number of times that the Church came to our family’s aid when we had trouble to make ends meet.  I’m sure that my dad felt a calling and a strong desire to repay the services bestowed to him.  Earlier in the aforementioned article, the new Deacon says, “When a Deacon serves at the altar; he stands as a sign of the poor and the needy.”  Perhaps that is why my Dad chose to become a Deacon, to be an ambassador for “our kind.”


Current Events: Dixon's vice-mayor is a piece of... work.

Read more on Percolately: California Vice Mayor Declares July ‘Straight Pride American Month’ While Demeaning Gay Men In Scathing Column

Is it just me or does he wish for the LGBTQ community to die at the end of his article?

"so according to “Wikipedia” faries are powered “bypiezoelectric” crystals which can be energized by sound waves like made by clapping. So, right now if you don’t want any faries to expire, you can clap your hands. See, I do have a heart I just can’t type and clap at the same time… so I had to make a hard choice didn’t I?"

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks"