By Ruth Conniff on May 01, 2012

Here is the speech Ruth Conniff gave at the rally in Madison on April 28 against the War on Women:

Hello Women Warriors!

Are we ready to take our state back?

Here we are at Ground Zero--our Capitol--again.

Governor Walker, the darling of the national Republican Party, declared war on workers. He declared war on our public school teachers, our environment , our democracy. But now, he has really pissed us off. He had declared war on the women of Wisconsin.

Big mistake.

You have to love the brilliance of our Wisconsin protesters. There's a woman behind me carrying a sign with an anatomically correct drawing of the female reproductive system, and an arrow pointing in. It says, "Doctor checked. No jobs."

No, pissing off the women of Wisconsin is not a clever plan. Walker is leading his party off a cliff.

There's been a lot of news lately about the gender gap.

Turns out killing equal pay protection is not popular with women. Nor is telling women that whether or not they get birth control is something their bosses should decide, or maybe the local pharmacist at Walgreens should get to choose if you get your prescription for birth control or not.

Political Editor of the Progressive Magazine Ruth Conniff addressing the crowd."
Political Editor of the Progressive Magazine Ruth Conniff addressing the crowd.

Closing Planned Parenthood clinics. Turning doctors into felons if their patients don't jump through a lot of medically unnecessary hoops. Forget it!

But the Republicans think we women are going to forget all that because HIllary Rosen said Ann Romney never worked a day in her life.

They think they can stir up a cat fight among us moms, and that will make us take our eye off the ball, right?

Wrong!

I've got news for the party of Walker and the Romneys:

We don't care that Ann Romney has her undies in a bundle over whether driving two Cadillacs and raising her kids is hard work.

We are too busy leading our regular lives and holding down half the jobs in this country, and most of the jobs that pay less than $8 an hour.

If the Romneys think, as Mitt put it, that for poor women with young children, work is a matter of "dignity," the least they can do is pay “the help” a fair day's wage!

I look around at all of you women--my mom out there with my three beautiful daughters, my friends who help each other out, carpooling and juggling school and work and all the joys and stresses of women's live—and I know, we are not taking our eyes off the ball.

We know what we are fighting for.

We know who is on our side.

And we know what we want:

High-quality, respectful health care, equal opportunity for ourselves and our daughters.

The Romneys can't divide us. Scott Walker can't divide us.

We are fighting for our lives, our children's lives, and for a decent society for all of us.

Thank you.

And solidarity!

If you liked this article by Ruth Conniff, the political editor of The Progressive, check out her story "An Interview with Tom Barrett."

Follow Ruth Conniff @rconniff on Twitter

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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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