Monday, November 24th, 2014

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Just fill out the form

Conservatives are better Capitol singers

Waukesha Freeman Page A6 Opinion 8/1/13
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On Monday, former Tommy Thompson speechwriter and current conservative pundit Dave Blaska led a rare act of civil obedience in Madison. He got a permit to demonstrate in the Capitol and used it.

Blaska, with the help of social media and conservative-friendly websites, organized a singalong of 50 or so like-minded people in the state Capitol Rotunda. The We Got a Permit Singers sang patriotic songs and generally had a good time.

Our friends on the political left who have been throwing a nonstop tantrum since 2011 weren’t too happy with Blaska and the permitted vocalists. However, for the most part the unpermitted leftist demonstrators moved their antics outside for the day.

But some just couldn’t help themselves. John “Sly” Sylvester, a radio host from Monroe, nearly got himself arrested when he tried to disrupt the We Got a Permit Singers. Another protester was arrested when he demonstrated inside the Capitol during the hour Blaska’s group had a permit.

The point of Blaska’s effort on Monday was not subtle. He showed that any group wanting to organize a demonstration could easily get a permit to do so. All they have to do is fill out the form. There is not even a cost for the permit. The form is even available online.

What the permit process does is allow the Capitol police to have a point of contact if the demonstration causes damage or is unusually disruptive to the functions of the Capitol. It also allows for scheduling to prevent competing events from impinging on each other.

Courts have always held that government can regulate the time and place for demonstrations. A federal judge recently ruled that the Walker administration cannot require a permit for groups as small as four, as the administration wanted, but could require permits for groups with 20 or more people.

That’s why it is so hard for people to sympathize with the leftist protesters that call themselves the Solidarity Singers. Nobody is infringing on their right of free speech. Nobody is preventing them from belting out their obnoxious songs that disrupt the Capitol on a daily basis.

The Solidarity Singers are just being asked to fill out a form.

By the way, if you don’t think it’s obnoxious, try conducting business in your office when some unannounced visitors come in and start singing at the top of their lungs. People forget that the Capitol may be a public space, but it’s also an office building. The employees of the building have rights too, including the right to work at their taxpayer-funded jobs without harassment from obnoxious leftist bullies.

I wish, and I strongly suggest, the Solidarity Singers would visit every newspaper office in the state with their antics. I guarantee that every editor across the state would pick up the phone and call the cops.

Monday was something of a respite for Capitol Police. Since they started cracking down on demonstrating without a permit, there have been arrests every day. That isn’t the fault of the police or the administration; it’s the fault of the demonstrators.

It’s hard to fathom what the Solidarity Singers hope to accomplish with getting themselves arrested. They’re not going to change the policy, already found reasonable by a federal judge who is not friendly to the Walker administration. They are not going to cause Republicans in the Legislature to suddenly become liberal Democrats.

What the Solidarity Singers will do is remind people outside Madison of the wacko fringe that threw a collective tantrum over the last two years, a tantrum that turned off many voters during the failed attempt to recall Governor Scott Walker. This type of demonstration may make the protesters feel good, but it causes the rest of the state to feel sick and tired of them.

One of the favorite stupid chants of the left-wing protesters is, “Whose house? Our house!” What they forget is that the Capitol is everybody’s house, and the state’s voters chose to place the Republicans as head of the household. No silly tantrums are going to change that.

(James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.)

(note: There were no arrests at the Capitol on Wednesday, after this column was written, due to the local NBC affiliate taking out a permit.)

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