It's really, really, incredibly hard not to get too emotionally wrapped up in what's going on here in Wisconsin. Last week in "my" town, all but FOUR teachers were given pink slips. That night, I met up with them for a potluck party. We were supposed to be sarcastically celebrating Walker's budget proposal. But it was one of the most devastatingly sad nights of my life. I feel like a jerk for standing in front of them, and feeling so deeply for them, but still having a stable job that pays well. And for not being emotionally and financially attacked by the people I serve. And for going back to a town that isn't completely economically depressed after this.
They asked each other for donations to go towards publishing ads to bring attention to the finer points of the budget, and I didn't know what to do. If I'm really helping them, shouldn't I give them something? But where does it end? They have my time, my attention, my comfort (picketing in freezing weather for several hours each day never gets easier), my presence, my energy. The other people on my team do this all day, every day, always. I don't know how. I asked what they do to keep their lives separate from the people they help in communities, and they really didn't know what to tell me. I guess most of them eventually burn out and have to change jobs? Or they burn out and just go through the motions? That's not what any of MY people seem to be doing, and they've been at this for years.
I just want to be able to tell my future kids and grandkids that I was here. That I was one of the protesters/organizers who helped to save collective bargaining rights, and to protect the middle class from the psychotic Scott Walker. And that they should totally make me a sandwich because, damnit, it was hard.