How to get plugged in and help: In Madison go to the Labor Temple at 1602 S. Park Street. Elsewhere try WeAreWisconsin, or Tom Barrett’s site. If you’re not in Wisconsin and you’re good on the phone, take a look at Democracy for America’s online phonebank system.
I’ve been eating too much and I’ve flown off the handle at a couple of my perfectly wonderful friends. Sometimes my sweatshirt gets soiled and umm… well…it might not get laundered immediately and it might get worn again (Do NOT let Glenn Grothman read this).
I guess this is what it’s like to live in the tail end of Wisconsin’s enormous effort to oust Scott Walker.
Thank gawd for a couple of hours last night my political anxiety was squashed. I was rendered helpless and happy by Tom Morello, Jackson Browne, Brother Ali, Tim McIlrath of Rise Against, Mike McColgan of Dropkick Murphys, Sean Michael Dargan, Centime, the Solidarity Sing Along and the Learning Curve Band.
Tom Morello also read a few statements of solidarity from such far-flung locations as Chili and Quebec. Tom Morello also commanded the crowd to each knock on 100 doors so we could finally be rid of Walker, guaranteed (I know what you’re thinking and yes, I’ll do some laundry before I present myself to strangers). Tom sprinkled his statements with a few more curse words than this blog usually broadcasts and he explained that “the struggle for social justice is not PG-13″. The lack of civil language was just appalling.
Just kidding. It was refreshing as all hell.
Tom Barrett was also there. I know this because I saw a photo of him with Brian Austin. He didn’t take the stage but there was no room with all the stardom and musical coolness already up there.
Speaking of coolness, I found myself surrounded by a set of 20-somethings at the front of the stage. I thought the big deal of the show was Tom Morello but when the younger set caught sight of Brother Ali they gasped and yelled “I see him!” When Brother Ali took the mic I understood why. I was won over by his mix of fluid beat and gritty poetry about reality as the downtrodden know it.
But let me back up. Before we saw Brother Ali, we were rocking with Centime. I really dug Centime and I’m listening to a CD they tossed out to the crowd (thanks)
Then we saw the true blue stars of the Wisconsin show: those who comprise the Solidarity Sing Along.
It’s hard for the big names to compete with the hardest working protest singers in the nation. When the dog bites, when the bee stings, their songs are a few of my favorite things. They bang out happy folksy feeling as if by the power of their voices alone they can fight encroaching fringe forces. It seems they are merely a musical dream but when everything is political and the governor is plucked from an Orwell novel, its a reality that fits.
Another highlight of the evening was Jackson Browne’s revamp of the classic “Which Side are You On”. It contains the energy, uncertainty, and urgency of this final push to rid ourselves of Walker. It is frightening in its “maybe” and it offers more questions than answers:
There’s a restlessness out in the street
There’s a question in the air
How long if this stuff goes on will our country still be here
People know the game is rigged even as they play
They can see their dreams and aspirations slowly slip away
But you have come to recall Walker and in your courtesy
Maybe turn this country into somethin’ more like democracy
Come on Come on Come on if you’re comin’. Come on Come on Come on.
Come on Come on Come on if you’re comin’
Which side are you on?
Come on come on if you’re comin
The battle lines are drawn
Come on Come on Come on if you’re comin’
Which side are you, Which side are you on?
You too can listen. Here’s a playlist of video currently available from the concert. Enjoy and then, as Jackson Browne would say
Come on come on if you’re comin’.
Footnote: There was a reading of a so-called breaking bit of news about the John Doe case which was not in fact breaking news. It was much ado about old news and was caused by the shoddy work of David Shuster. If you’d like to read more on it, try The David Shuster Thing