By Matthew Rothschild on September 13, 2012

By Matthew Rothschild

Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is declaring September 17 as “Read the Constitution Day.”

But he should read it himself, both the U.S. Constitution (with special emphasis on the First Amendment) and the Wisconsin State Constitution, since he has been violating the spirit of the first and the letter of the second.

He closed the capitol down during the protests in February and March of 2011.

He had people arrested (including me) for merely holding signs or taking pictures in the State Assembly gallery last fall.

And over the last couple of weeks, his newly appointed capitol police chief has referred to defenders of free speech in the capitol as “terrorists, for lack of a better word.” And Chief David Erwin has been arresting people for carrying signs with the words of Article 1, Section 4, of the Wisconsin State Constitution, on them. That section states:

“The right of the people peaceably to assemble, to consult for the common good, and to petition the government, or any department thereof, shall never be abridged.”

What is it about “shall never be abridged” that Scott Walker doesn’t understand?

Chief Erwin, after having his deputies film the protesters in the rotunda, has also sent deputies to their homes and, in at least one case, to a person’s place of work to give them a ticket for carrying signs in the capitol.

So Scott Walker, please take time out on Monday to familiarize yourself with our constitutions. And stop trampling on our rights.

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story “Free Speech Advocates Defiant in Madison, WI."

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild on Twitter

 

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This Halloween movie will scare anyone who cares about news.

By Wendell Berry

Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front

Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more 
of everything ready made. Be afraid 
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery 
any more. Your mind will be punched in a card 
and shut away in a little drawer.
When they want you to buy something 
they will call you. When they want you
to die for profit they will let you know. 
So, friends, every day do something
that won’t compute. Love the Lord. 
Love the world. Work for nothing. 
Take all that you have and be poor.
Love someone who does not deserve it. 
Denounce the government and embrace 
the flag. Hope to live in that free 
republic for which it stands. 
Give your approval to all you cannot
understand. Praise ignorance, for what man 
has not encountered he has not destroyed.
Ask the questions that have no answers. 
Invest in the millennium. Plant sequoias.
Say that your main crop is the forest
that you did not plant,
that you will not live to harvest.


Say that the leaves are harvested 
when they have rotted into the mold.
Call that profit. Prophesy such returns.
Put your faith in the two inches of humus 
that will build under the trees
every thousand years.
Listen to carrion—put your ear
close, and hear the faint chattering
of the songs that are to come. 
Expect the end of the world. Laugh. 
Laughter is immeasurable. Be joyful
though you have considered all the facts. 
So long as women do not go cheap 
for power, please women more than men.
Ask yourself: Will this satisfy 
a woman satisfied to bear a child?
Will this disturb the sleep 
of a woman near to giving birth? 
Go with your love to the fields.
Lie easy in the shade. Rest your head 
in her lap. Swear allegiance 
to what is nighest your thoughts.
As soon as the generals and the politicos 
can predict the motions of your mind, 
lose it. Leave it as a sign 
to mark the false trail, the way 
you didn’t go. Be like the fox 
who makes more tracks than necessary, 
some in the wrong direction.
Practice resurrection.

Wendell Berry is a poet, farmer, and environmentalist in Kentucky. This poem, first published in 1973, is reprinted by permission of the author and appears in his “New Collected Poems” (Counterpoint).

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