For the recall volunteers of Wisconsin.
Running a quarter mile is what I did pretty good when I was a pasty freshman running track in high school. I was told a lot of people figure out how to do sprints or do a mile run but not the quarter. So Coach put in the mile relay – a mobile group project.
I hated group projects. I liked running for the solitude and singularity. Even when you run with other people you don’t look at each other much because you’re running in the same direction.
At some point, we went to a sectional and that’s when I realized to my horror that I would be in the middle of a ridiculous number of people who were going to maybe see me drop the baton. This was overload of people and sensation for somebody with a bad case of the Shys. The bright lights. The polyester uniform. Everything abrasion. Then I had to watch runner one and two slipping behind from the side of the track. My sensitivity and terror then fell back and frustration kicked in. I said “fuck it” and set up on blocks. I grabbed the baton, pulled in air like a fire and got well ahead of the pack which set the crowd to screaming high volume. I passed the baton to runner 4. She caught my mojo. She shot off. We won the race.
I wanted the recall to go something like that but it worked in reverse. The signatures gathered en masse by the 30,000 or so volunteers in leg 3 pulled ahead. Then you passed the baton and leg 4 lost it. I was never so hungry for a win and losing crushed me for months. It felt like the entire world asked me for a divorce and shot my dog on the way out.
Yet today when I think of the raw accomplishment of leg 3 – of the People’s gathering of signatures to democratically unseat Scott Walker – despite loss, or nay-saying hindsight, or trolls, or pain, my heart still swells to know I was on this new team for democracy that could play hard and this group project did not suck at all. While we were in it, leg 3 was life itself. I will always be grateful I was on a team so grand. Thank you.
Posts from 1 year ago:
Wisconsin Recall Roadtrip: Wausau and Tomahawk by blue cheddar
Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Fight (with apologies to Dylan Thomas) by Steven P. Senski
Dear Russ: An Open Letter to Russ Feingold by Worley Dervish
More photographs from signature day January 17, 2012 can be found on my facebook page.