Thursday, March 10, 2011

This Is Why I Didn't Meet My Goal Tonight

Important things are happening in Wisconsin right now. Over 7000 people have streamed into the capital building and are occupying it. (I don't know how many intend to stay the whole night, but reports are the crowd is only getting bigger -- many more outside.)

This has been going on for nearly a month (that's right, a month). Tens of thousands most days. Over a hundred thousand on some weekends. But the national press is only covering the politicians, not the crowds. There could be a general strike tomorrow. Students are tweeting that they want to stage a walk out of school on Friday, nationwide. When the police go off duty, they turn around and join the protesters. And apparently a large contingent of tractors will converge on the city on Saturday, and that was planned before the surprise move by the Wisconsin senate this afternoon....

No matter where you stand on the issues, the story -- the big overriding drama -- is with those crowds. (Crowds that a judge described as the most amazingly polite, orderly, clean and respectful mob of peasants with torches he's ever seen. Well, okay, that's not an exact quote, but it was the gist. It could yet turn ugly... but it's been a month, and the crowd has bonded with the cops. They're negotiating what to do next as we speak.)

There are a million stories here: Real people, minor panics, rumors, squashing of rumors, secret missions, volunteerism, pizza, strategic moves and counter moves, arguments, negotiations. The protesters are chanting "This is what Democracy looks like," but it's also what life looks like, just distilled into a big boiler.

So I've been following it via the local press and Twitter. Here's the story of what happened today at the Wisconsin State Journal.

And that's why I didn't make my goal to night. (That and the fact that it was a work day at the day job, and I made crab cakes for dinner, and then things started happening in Wis....)

Tomorrow, more about short fiction.


Editor Mouse said...

Being a student from Wisconsin, though not near the Madison area, I've been watching this as well. Whether or not you agree with the proposal, it's the methods of the government that worry me more.

The Daring Novelist said...

Yeah, here they passed a bill that would allow the State to dissolve local governments -- without any recourse of the people who elected them.

Headed to the capitol building now....

Brittney said...

It seems that with the recent events of the uprisings, I'm beginning to grasp the power of a story. Everyone has their own story, in Egypt, in Wisconsin, everywhere. How beautiful is that.

The Daring Novelist said...

Story is SO important to life, you're right. Seth Godin talks about how important story is in marketing, but it's also important in all communication.

So often people isolate themselves, by only listening to their own stories. So much conflict is because we spend too much time characterizing each other. I've found one of the best tools for dealing with unfairness like that, though, is not to be unfair in return. Don't tell them they're wrong or have no right to their opinions. The best approach is to let people see your story.

I was in a very hostile work environment for many years, and I found the best way to handle most situations was to display the story. Don't try to persuade, work the situation so you can reveal instead. Let them see they're not dealing with an enemy, they're dealing with a person.