Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker speaks at an inauguration ceremony at the state capitol in Madison, Wisconsin, on January 3, 2011. (AP Photo/Morry Gash)
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is an exceptionally ambitious career politician who loves the sound of cheering crowds in the presidential primary states where he hopes to be a 2016 contender.
But he’s does not care for the sound of dissent.
In fact, dissident voices bother the conservative Republican governor so much that he has ordered state police forces to begin arresting Wisconsinites—from 85-year-olds to young moms with kids—who dare to join a long-established noontime “Solidarity Sing Along” at the state capitol in Madison. In this summer of protest, crowds have gathered at state capitols nationwide—from women’s rights activists in Austin to “Stand Your Ground” foes in Tallahassee to voting rights champions in Raleigh. There have been mass arrests, especially during the “Moral Monday” protests in North Carolina.
But Walker has distinguished himself by targeting tunes.
The singing, which traces its roots to the mass protests against Walker’s anti-labor initiatives of February and March 2011, has been a steady presence in the capitol for two years. But, this summer, the governor’s cracking down. So far, seventy-nine Wisconsinites have been arrested and ticketed, and dozens more are likely to face charges for singing songs like “Which Side Are You On?” and “On Wisconsin” without following a new set of permitting rules developed by the governor to limit the right to assemble.
It is hard to understand why the governor is so perturbed.
He’s not often in a position to hear what’s going on in the capitol.
Unless, of course, the voices of the singers are loud enough to carry to states like Alabama.