In Support of Wisconsin

[This is a speech I gave on the steps of the Denver capital building on Saturday, February 26, 2011 to about 1,000 to 3,000 people (estimates varied) who had gathered in response to MoveOn’s call for a Saturday protest rally in support of the Wisconsin protests. I was the last of five speakers, and the crowd had been led in some group chants in between the speakers, so they were pretty primed by the time I spoke. At many points in my speech, I had to stop until the crowd’s yelling in support had quieted down. It was a brisk, sunny Colorado day, with the snow capped peaks of the Rockies in the distance to the west — it was a beautiful and inspiring event!]
In Support of Wisconsin by Rick Casey February 26, 2011

Hello to all you protesters out there standing in support of Wisconsin! It’s a great day here in Colorado to be taking a stand for democracy, isn’t it?
I want to say a few words today in support of all those brave people in Wisconsin that are also taking a stand for democracy.
I want to stand in solidarity with them to take a stand against the insane policies of the Republicans and the Tea Party.
I call their policies insane because what they do is the definition of insanity: they keep repeating the same action and expecting a different result. That’s exactly what Scott Walker in Wisconsin, and the Republicans in Washington, are doing: they want to do exactly what they did before, and they are telling us the same lies again: that their policies are good for us, and that if we just go along with their policies, that it will be better for us, and for the economy, in the end.
Well, my friends, I want to ask you: why is it, do you think, that Wisconsin…and Colorado…and New York…and California…and just about every other friggin’ state in our country is having a budget crisis? Why is it that Scott Walker had to even draft his “Budget Repair Bill” in the first place?
I’ll tell you why we’re having this crisis: because it was the insane policies of the Republicans that caused it! For eight years the Republican Party under George Bush got exactly what they wanted for economic policy. The REPUBLICANS passed the laws that made it easy for Wall Street to get exactly what they wanted. The REPUBLICANS enacted the policies that tore down the financial regulations that were created back in the 1930’s in the depths of the Great Depression, and gave us a stable financial sector for 50 years. It was the REPUBLICANS who told us during the housing boom just a few years ago that “everything was different now” and the “innovations” that Wall Street was coming up with was going to lead the way to global prosperity and everybody was going to get rich!
And look where those policies got us: the 2008 fincancial meltdown that brought the global economy teetering on the edge of collapse. And now America and Europe are both suffering the consequences.
I want to ask you: do you think unions are responsible for the recession that was caused by the 2008 global financial meltdown?
I want to ask you: do you think unions are responsible for the loss of millions — MILLIONS!! — of manufacturing jobs that have been outsourced from America for the last 30 years?
NO THEY’RE NOT!! It was the Republican Party and Wall Street and their failed economic policies that caused this financial crisis! It is THEIR fault, and we should not let them forget it!
It is the insane policies of the Republicans that have rewarded the rich and eroded the middle class over the last 30 years, that caused the housing crisis, and now these state budget crises. This began with the deregulations that started during the Reagan administration, and snowballed in the 90s, and reached a crescendo in the last decade, and has brought us to this present sorry state of affairs.
But does Scott Walker and his fellow Republicans have the integrity or the moral character to accept responsibility for their actions? No! They want to point the finger at unions, at teachers, at policemen and firefighters, at anyone or anything EXCEPT themselves. They act like they have no memory of how we got into this financial crisis. They want to tell the American people to let them take control, and just let them repeat their failed policies of the past. Are we going to let them do this to us — again? No, my fellow citizens, I say let us stand in definace against this insanity. Let us stand in solidarity with the proud people of Wisconsin, who have a long history of politcal action that supports their own people, and which had been a shining example of democracy — until now. I say NO WAY to Governor Scott Walker and the insane policies of the Republicans — and I hope you will too! Go Wisconsin!!

4 thoughts on “In Support of Wisconsin

  1. Excellent speech, Rick. Sorry I wasn't there to enjoy it.

    These radical righties are truly INSANE! And they want the rest of us to jump off the cliff with them! I say to them, JUMP YOURSELVES and leave us alone!

  2. I was there. I admire your courage and willingness to speak. However, I think you were wrong to over-focus on the Republicans as "the cause" of the fiscal crisis. The Democrats are almost as complicit. The repeal of the Glass-Stiegel (sp?) act took place on Clinton's watch. Clinton's econ-advisors (Robert Rubin, Lawrence Summers) serve Wall Street, not the people. And now Obama has the same advisors. Please be aware that the Democrats have colluded with the Republicans in wrecking the real economy.

  3. Anita,

    Thanks for coming. I appreciate your comment about the Democrats being complicit; this is true…up to a point…but I disagree that Republicans are not ultimately responsible.

    The greater share of the blame lies with the Republicans, the radical right and the culture of Wall Street that has captured the politics in DC. What Clinton did in the 90's to contribute to deregulation (especially of the financial sector) ) was wrong and shameful, but he was doing what Obama is doing now: trying to survive in the prevailing political winds.

    I hope that you and others reading this will have the breadth of history to recognize this: Obama is up against an entrenched culture in DC that the right and its misguided allies have been crafting for the past three decades. I realized this the day he got elected. If Obama is to succeed, and I believe he still wants to, he needs people agitating in the streets to help create the political wind of change that swept him into office in 2008 — except now we are going to have to do it for real, and not on the back of the 2008 global financial meltdown that scared the crap out of everybody.

    It is pointless to quibble over who to assign blame in the past: the point is we know what is wrong and what needs to be done to correct it. And it ain't with the Republican recommendations!


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