This is a guest post by @micwazoo a must-follow guy on twitter. He’s from Marshfield, Wisconsin. If you’d like to see the speeches he mentions, several of them are available at this post of mine and directly through ontheearthproduction on YouTube.
I always like to reflect on events after I attend them, and again after attending my second Fighting Bob Fest event yesterday in Madison, I was left with a feeling of hope. Hope that together we can turn this country around. Hope that my children might be able to have a better life than me. Hope that I may yet still be able to retire at a pre 70 age.
The day started out with Mike McCabe speaking to us, and reiterating the fact that we have a huge disparity in income in this country, and how imperative it is that we do what we can to reduce that. Mike mentioned growing up in Clark county, and I can remember when I moved to Marshfield how many roads around here, and especially in Clark county were gravel. In the 13 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen some roads starting to be paved, but like Mike mentioned, again we are seeing those paved road turned into gravel roads because of a lack of dollars for roads. What struck me most when Mike spoke was just how much the middle class has lost in the past 20 years. A lot of great points were made and the crowd was energized.
Next was Tony Schultz, one of the most energizing young voices in the progressive movement I have ever heard speak. His passion for farming and maintaining the family farm is very evident. I was very impressed with Tony’s integrity, when he told us how he quit working for a construction company that was building mega farms, because ethically he knew it was wrong. This was despite the fact that the money he made was being used to help pay for college, but at the age of 19, he knew that what he was doing was helping to cause the extinction of the family farm. I realized after Tony shared his story, that I needed to also be willing to endure some fiscal discomfort in order to do my part in this fight against the corporate takeover of all areas of our lives. I’m fortunate because in central Wisconsin, I have access to more small farm food than most others do. I vow to do what I can to help keep my money flowing to the local farmer.
Ellen Bravo shed new light on the issues women face in the workplace, that I was partially unaware of. It saddens me that in today’s world, employers are still allowed to fire someone because the feel that taking care of their children is more important than any job. It’s ironic how many of these same people who pull this stunt are the same ones who spend Sunday’s in church and vote pro-life. When a single mother is faced with those type of choices, we have, as a community, done a great disservice to our women and children in that society.
Reiterating a lot of what Mike McCabe had said, Dave Obey drove home the fact that the rich and our corporations are doing their damned best to widen the wealth disparity at any cost. Dave Obey has experience that we progressives need to tap into. He has seen this current movement from the right coming for some time, and he knows how vital it is for us to slow and eventually stop the beast that is the current Republican Party. I totally agree.
The afternoon was so energetic, with Cornel West firing us up with albeit brief but powerful message that we must not stop the fight to maintain the rights of the poor and middle class. We all need to stick together if we are to tame the beast.
Thom Hartmann shared some things about ALEC that I had not heard before, and I was glad to hear that information shared with the audience. It’s amazing how few people actually are aware of what is taking place in this country with ALEC, and I’m glad a voice like Thom’s is shouting out what ALEC is doing to all of us. Some of the information shared by Greg Palast was not so much a surprise as it was a total disappointment to know just how corrupt our government is getting, and to what length’s they are willing to go to protect their corporate interests.
Bernie Sanders, what can I say. Bernie is one hell of a senator, and I hope the people of Vermont realize what a true gem they have in Bernie. He’s truly one of the last voices of the non-corporate world we have left representing us at a national level. His passion and spirit are so infectious, it’s hard not to feel energized after listening to Bernie speak. Although a lot of what I heard was disheartening, I was left again feeling hope that with Bernie watching over Social Security, I know that’s one area I don’t have to worry about too much. I trust Bernie to do what’s right for us. Bernie is a real hero in my eyes, and it was so great to hear him in person, so passionate about what he believes in.
Tammy Baldwin and John Nichols really did a great job of firing us all up, and really driving home again the fact that together, we can turn this right wing trend around. It won’t be an overnight change, but with courage and tenacity, together we can restore this country to what our founding fathers had in mind. Not a corporate welfare haven, but a country of, by, and for the people.
I look forward to attending the next Fighting Bob Fest, and to continue our fight to return our government to the people.
More of my photos from Bob Fest are HERE.