It was a year ago this week that all hell broke lose.
Governor Scott Walker proposed what amounts to the elimination of public employee unions. The backlash was heard around the world, and has resulted in the recall of the governor with the final chapters of all this still to be written.
Along the way, things that would have been considered front page news in normal times were barely noticed in the shadows of the union busting bill and the drama that played out in its wake.
Today, Bill Kramer, the state representative from Waukesha who routinely presides over the Assembly, does his job carrying a loaded firearm. If you had suggested that that would be the case just a year ago no one would have taken you seriously. In Texas, maybe. But Wisconsin? The story made page 3 of the morning paper. Below the fold. And I can't blame the editors. It's hard to believe that the man on the podium is packing heat, but it's not the news it would have been in saner times.
My friend and neighbor Denny Burke shared with me a video produced by his talented son-in-law Jason Horowitz, a musician and songwriter. You can watch it here.
Jason's work is intended to make us proud of the way we responded to all this. And I am. I said time and again when I was mayor that I was proud of how this city protested without a hint of violence. Crime was actually way down around the Capitol during the protests, and the Square was cleaner than it usually is because we picked up after ourselves. These may have been the most polite, most safe mass protests in world history.
But I wish they never had to happen. We were a better state when unions were stronger and guns were for hunting deer.