Fighting Bob Fest Number Two: A post by micwazoo

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.

Part 1: My notes and The Speeches of Fighting Bob Fest 2011

The night before:
Arthur of the facebook page Shit Scott Walker is Doing to My State had a brief conversation with Senator Sanders at a fundraiser Friday night. 1:35 minutes

Later Senator Bernie Sanders, the man many consider to be the most outstanding progressive in Washington D.C., appeared at the Friday night kickoff event and he said thank you to a standing room crowd at the Barrymore Theater. Really, if his “thank you” were the only thing that happened to me, I would have been thrilled with the evening:

“You may know this, or you may not know this, but you have been the inspiration to the people of Vermont and people all over this country so thank you very much. What you have told America is that in these tough times, we are not going to let the crooks on Wall Street or the corporate bandits destroy this great nation. That when we say together and demand the creation of millions of good paying jobs, when we demand the transformation of our energy system, when we say loud and clear to Republicans and to some Democrats you are not going to cut Social Security, you are not going to cut Medicare, and that together standing together we are going to bring about a Medicare for all single payer healthcare – I am here tonight from the bottom of my heart to thank you, to thank your great firefighters, to thank your public employees for your leadership in inspiring us all. We are going to beat the right wing. We are going to create an America that works for all of our people. Thank you very much for your leadership. Thank you.”

Here’s the video of Senator Sanders’ thanks.

We also heard the familiar bagpipes of our local firefighters who’ve serenaded each of our rallies: Local 311. And speeches so fiery I could almost smell the brimstone.

Oddly enough, I especially perked up to hear Thom Hartmann say we are either about to experience bliss or destruction: either a resurgence in progressive energy like we’ve never seen before OR we are on the road to the death of progressive politics at the hands of the Republicans.

When he said this, the crowd did a little awkward wiggle in its collective seat. A few dry coughs were expelled. I am not doing justice to his speech at the moment. He also talked about the notion of libertarian “freedom” and how close it is to the freedom to die in the street like a dog. He also talked about the travails America went through even as early as the presidency of John Adams – a leader who turned out to be a tyrant. But I dwell on that note he gave – that we are on a precipice of some sort – because it was the perfect pinch of reality tossed into an evening of hyperbole and it’s what I’ve been thinking, too.

All of the speakers were dynamic. But Dennis Kucinich was possessed. Senator Kucinish is a very short and slight man. But after seeing him bounce with this much of the progressive holy spirit, I’d say you’d best not ever cross him. He sent us out into the night with this:

Youtuber Paul Baker (at last look) also has videos from the same evening of Jim Hightower, Stan Gruszynksi, and Phil Neuenfeldt – President of Wisconsin’s AFL-CIO.

The day of: Fighting Bob Fest

Fighting Bob Fest just about filled the vast Alliant Energy Center Auditorium. I really love twitter, facebook, this blog and the whole internet ball of wax. Yet there is nothing like the energy of being a human surrounded by thousands of other humans all hearing a message. We remain communal and enjoy each other in the flesh despite all of the technology we put between ourselves. Then also consider that there is an added layer of resonance when echoing at rock star volume before you in a stadium are these heroic people that the mass media usually keeps quiet [remember Senator Sanders’ fillibuster that went just about nowhere on conventional media?]. Seeing a respect and dignity granted to these progressive voices revives your own progressive political and fighting spirit. Heady stuff. And this is all thanks to Ed Garvey, who has been making Bob Fest happen for a decade now and who John Nichols credits for rebuilding the Democratic Party in Wisconsin.

Still, if I were to ask “How can Bob Fest be improved?” I’d have a few answers: add high speed internet to your site and add social media training. Add more young people, and draw in more people of color. Add more tactical ideas to take away and add ways for us to break down in groups so we’re networking at the level of each county in Wisconisn and/or geographic areas. I aknowledge that some of this was provided in the breakout sessions, and in its way, at the booths and informally.

I also think of the wisdom of @4SHCrane of twitter who said to me (paraphrasing): There are plenty of progressives. You can do all of the things you do not see at Bob Fest on your own.

I expect that WORT FM and Fighting Bob will in time have full audio and/or video of the speeches. When it’s up, that’ll be in part 2. For the moment, here are what I can provide or have access to:

A brief selection from Bernie Sanders’ speech. 4:57 minutes.

Bernie Sanders’ speech in full. 43 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

Cornel West 6:05 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

Tony Schultz 17:37 minutes

Film by ontheearthproduction

A brief selection from Mahlon Mitchell’s speech. Chanting included! This gives you a sense of how many people were there. You’ll see a lot of folks age 50 years and up. That’s about normal for Fighting Bob Fest.
0:51 minutes

Other Bob Fest Reporting:
Fighting Bob Fest attendees say it’s up to the people to recall Scott Walker – Cap Times

Madison’s Channel 3

Fighting Bob Fest audience

“…I’m more energized now than I’ve ever been to help make this country what it once was”

Below the videos is a guest post from a man known as @micwazoo on twitter. We all make fun of how addictive twitter can be or time-wasting. True enough. But twitter has also helped me meet strong, opinionated and caring people from all over Wisconsin, like @micwazoo.

He refers to Tony Schultz. Tony is a farmer who delivered a speech in Madison in March 12 that went viral:

And Tony Schultz gave a speech in Chippewa Falls at Fighting Bob Fest North:

My Fighting Bobfest Experience, @micwazoo

A week ago I attended the Fighting Bobfest North in Chippewa Falls, and I’m sure glad I made the trip. It was great to see so many people who, like myself, are sick and tired of big corporations dictating how my life should be. The speakers were all great, and very inciteful.

I was really moved by Tony Schultz. Not only did this young man give a very heartfelt speech, but he showed a passion for his livelihood very few people his age have. It was very refreshing to see someone so young, so involved. I noticed quite a few younger people there, and it gave me hope that together, we can get things turned around. It’s going to take all age groups, and we had that mix at Saturday’s event.

It sure was nice to see so many people who feel like I do. Fed up with the way things are going for the middle class. Sick and tired of watching Corporate America and the religious right forcing their agenda’s down our throats through buying politicians. At times it seem’s so overwhelming when trying to figure out which battle to address, but I feel like I’m not alone, and that makes it all seem worthwhile.

I grew up during the 60’s and 70’s and have always been one to not settle for the way things are, knowing that they can always be better. I remember the anger I felt watching the racial issues of the 60’s. And how important Earth Day was for me. I remember working odd jobs in the neighborhood to be able to afford a POW bracelet. And how I detested how the soldiers who faught in Vietnam were treated when they came home.

Between the protests I’ve attended, and Saturday’s event, I’m more energized now than I’ve ever been to help make this country what it once was. A country where neighbor helped neighbor. Where hard work meant you would be rewarded well. Where corporations looked at their employees as their biggest asset. Where dreams were attainable.

I look forward to working with some of the fine people I met on Saturday, and look forward to being a part of the change to a better Wisconsin, and moving towards a better America.”