By Matthew Rothschild on April 16, 2011

It was fun to be at the Madison capitol today to protest Sarah Palin and the tea partiers.

There were about 1,500 tea partiers, many bused in by Americans for Prosperity, the rightwing group funded by the Koch brothers.

The tea partiers were surrounded by about 3,000 or more pro-labor supporters, who let their presence be felt with raucous chants and boos and cries of “Shame, shame, shame!”

“Recall Walker,” the protesters chanted over and over again, as well as, “Hey, hey, ho, ho, Scott Walker has got to go.”

Another chant was “Tax, tax, tax the rich!”

As with all the historic Madison protests this year, creativity marked the signs of the pro-labor activists.

“I Can See Waulkersha From My Sign,” one of them said, playing off of Palin’s gaffe about Russia, as well as governor Walker’s name and Waukesha County, where highly irregular vote counting occurred during the recent Supreme Court race.

“Walker Is a Puppet of Koch and Rove” read another sign, and some people were carrying puppets to illustrate the point.

“Walker’s Election Was a Bait and Switch: Something Fishy in Wisconsin” said another.

“Who Died and Made You King of Anything?” said yet another, with a funny caricature of Walker.

The tea partiers waved their usual “Don’t Tread on Me” flags and held signs that said “Walker for President,” “Walker/Palin,” and “Economic Freedom.”

One tea party sign seemed anti-Semitic: “Give It Up, Kloppenstein!” It was referring to JoAnne Kloppenburg, the candidate who ran for the Supreme Court against David Prosser. Kloppenburg is Jewish.

Madison’s rightwing talk show host, Vicki McKenna, went out of her way to praise Waukesha County, even though the county clerk is in trouble there for her dubious vote-counting practices.

“I love you, Waukesha County,” said McKenna. “You are the conscience of Wisconsin. Well done!”

Rightwing provocateur Andrew Breitbart stirred up the tea party crowd by telling the pro-labor protesters twice to "go to hell."

And when Sarah Palin was announced, the tea partiers gave her a big ovation, and the protesters booed heartily.

Palin told the crowd, “Your governor did the right thing.”

And she praised the tea party people.

“We will fight with you, tea partiers,” she said. “We have your back.”

And, improbably stealing a line from the LGBT movement, she said, “We’re here. We’re clear. Get used to it.”

She wheeled out some anti-big-government boilerplate: “We don’t want it. We can’t afford it. And we won’t pay for it.”

And she mocked President Obama: “You ignored us in 2010. You can’t ignore us in 2012.”

Throughout her brief speech, the protesters booed and yelled, “Sarah Palin, Go Home.”

One protester carried a sign that said, “Sarah Palin: In Your Guts, You Know She’s Nuts.”

If you liked this story by Matthew Rothschild, the editor of The Progressive magazine, check out his story What a Joke! Walker Claims to Be “Truly Progressive”.

Follow Matthew Rothschild @mattrothschild 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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