The struggle over a budget repair bill in Wisconsin took an ominous turn Friday night as the Wisconsin State Assembly was forced to adjourn due to security concerns. Meanwhile fears for the safety of Gov. Scott Walker have been expressed.
As the Wisconsin State Assembly engaged in a heated debate on the budget bill that would strip state employees of much of their collective bargaining power and force them to contribute more to their pension plans and health care insurance, throngs of angry demonstrators could be heard chanting louder and louder just outside the chamber, according to Wispolitics.com.
Finally, Walker advised Assembly Speaker Jeff Fitzgerald that the physical safety of the members of the assembly could no longer be guaranteed. There had been reports of death threats against Wisconsin lawmakers throughout the week. Fitzgerald decided to adjourn the session, vowing to reconvene on Tuesday, after the Presidents’ Day Weekend. Fitzgerald had to be escorted from the chamber by sheriff’s deputies.
Meanwhile, the Cyber News Service is reporting that concerns are being expressed about the physical safety of Walker, who has been the subject of death threats and has been the subject of incendiary signs carried by the protesters comparing him to Hitler and Hosni Mubarak. Other signs have shown Walker’s face with the cross hairs of a rifle sight super imposed on it.
Political observers remember the controversy surrounding a map put out by Sarah Palin’s political action committee showing cross hairs over various states, representing Democratic politicians who had been targeted for defeat in 2010. The map has been the subject of heated arguments over the civility of political discourse following the shooting in Tucson, Ariz., that killed six and severely wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, one of the politicians so targeted.
However the same people who excoriated Sarah Palin seem to have become oddly silent when similar graphics are used against a sitting governor. What was considered horrible for Palin and the tea party seems to be acceptable for union activists.
The threats of violence seem to raise a question. Have the protests in Wisconsin morphed into something more serious, an actual insurrection that seeks to overturn the will of the majority of the people of Wisconsin through threats and intimidation? And why are not only outside agitators, including the President of the United States, supporting an uprising that seems to be turning more and more ugly? This being the case, what is Walker prepared to do about it before things truly get out of hand?
Sources: Jeff Fitzgerald: Assembly Adjourned because of threats, Greg Bump, Wispolitics.Com, February 18th, 2011
Wis. Democratic Party Condemns Hateful Signs Targeting State’s GOP Governor and Lawmakers, Dan Joseph, Cyber News Service, February 18th, 2011