Peaceful Protest at U.S. Congressman Reid Ribble’s Appleton Office

http://www.youtube.com/user/AppletonWonk?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/dHdxYFzau70

Approximately 60 people protested at Reid Ribble’s Appleton, WI office as part of a “Save the American Dream” national day of action through MoveOn.org. Reid Ribble is a U.S. Congressman representing Wisconsin’s 8th District. Here are some of the pictures from the event. Ann Muenster deserves a special thank you for stepping up and getting everyone organized at the event.

While waiting to go into his office the crowd shouted things like “we want compromise”, “Where is Reid Ribble?”, “Where are the jobs?”, and of course the standard “show me what democracy looks like, this is what democracy looks like”.

Reid Ribble’s office is located at the Radisson Paper Valley, so the protesters had to walk through the hotel lobby to get to his office. At the main entrance we were asked to leave all protest signs by the front door as the hotel management did not want those in the building. Only one person was unhappy about that. Everyone else who had a sign left it at the door and quietly proceeded to Reid Ribble’s office.

While there, the protesters delivered a petition that asked Reid Ribble to agree to “support the Senate’s plan to raise the debt limit and reduce the deficit.”

Reid Ribble was not in his office, so his assistant, Carl Soderberg took the signed petition. He wrote down what everyone said to him. Carl appeared to be the only employee in the office when we were there. The conversation was calm and respectful as everyone waited their turn to speak. In fact, the protesters stopped talking when Carl had to answer the phone.

Retired school teacher, Mary Hoglund was one of the speakers at the protest.

One lady said she believed we should end the oil subsidies because the oil companies are making record profits. One gentleman mentioned that his son lost his job in January and was still unable to find employment. He wanted to know “where are the jobs?”. Concern was expressed that some politicians are thinking about the next election and not governing well. Another person said “they are playing with people’s lives”. One person even asked if Ribble is a member of ALEC. Carl said that he doesn’t know if he is. At that point, a few people asked what is ALEC. One of my favorite lines from the meeting was when someone asked that Reid Ribble not call the rich job creators, call them “rich”.

Reid Ribble has not had any in person town hall meetings and his constituents want a chance to speak with him face to face. He has breakfast and lunch meetings with business people. These events have a fee associated with them. His constituents shouldn’t have to pay a fee to speak openly with him. Ribble has telephone town halls instead of in person meetings. This leaves little room for any real discussion. Many people are still waiting for him to have in person town hall meetings with the people in his district.

People at the meeting are concerned with the way Reid Ribble is being perceived in the community. The activists are concerned the community sees him as representing corporations and special interest groups like the Tea Party.

Every speaker at the meeting was clear, to the point and aware of the issues. For me, the best parts of the event were the number of people that showed up and the fact that everyone acted respectfully and really listened to each other.

The Appleton Post Crescent also covered this story. Their story can be found here.

You Are Wisconsin: Rally to Save the American Dream, Saturday Feb. 26

An amazing 66 rallies and counting are part of tomorrow’s national “Rally to Save the American Dream” at noon in each time zone, with 40 supporting organizations signed on.

Please visit HERE to see where a rally is near you. When you go, wear red in solidarity with us Badgers of Wisconsin and put on your cheesehead. Short of a cheese hat, I’d suggest just bringing a block of delicious Wisconsin cheese for a snack!

The point of this is to show that people care about working families across the country. As MoveOn.Org says,
“..if we can get huge crowds across the nation, it’ll send a clear message that progressives are fired up and ready to go….This is an opening to call out the Republican game plan for what it is: a brazen effort to use a wrecked economy as an excuse to reward the rich and powerful while destroying 50 years of democratic progress.”

Let’s do this, people.

Image from Nickolas Nikolic of flickr.com
Students March in Wisconsin
Image from BlueRobot on flickr.com