During a Solidarity Sing Along at the Capitol, hours before the Wisconsin legislature passed a concealed carry law, a Republican former state Senator got a standing ovation for running over personal items of singers with his wheelchair. Things went downhill from there, after a man draping the Tea Party co-opted “Don’t Tread on Me” flag over the heads of the participants punched a solidarity-singing protester. The victim has a broken tooth.
This is what “Freedom” looks like in Fitzwalkerstan. This incident naturally occurred yesterday, on the day the Republicans passed concealed carry law, because yes, what Wisconsin needs right now is Don’t Tread on Mes packing heat. Maybe the Wisconsin Republicans thought it would be helpful for them to have angry vigilantes in the streets punching pro union singers and knowing that if the Don’t Tread on Mes get carried away, they just might be carrying.
Contrary to what you may have heard on Fox “News”, the peaceful singing protest has been going on since February in the Capitol rotunda and there’s never been an incidence of violence until the Don’t Tread on Me flag drapers punched a singer in the mouth yesterday.
Here’s video courtesy of Democurmudgeon of the Republican former state Senator using his wheelchair to get in the personal space of the singers, run over their personal items and attempt to disrupt them aggressively while they were singing:
After that rather petulant display of thuggery via a wheelchair, two men were trying to drape a “Don’t Tread on Me” flag over others and a solidarity singer grabbed the flag. One of the Don’t Tread on Mes responded to flag grabbing by punching the solidarity singer in the mouth, leading to a broken tooth. See, that’s just not normal. You don’t get in people’s space and attempt to disrupt them aggressively and expect them to sit there. The solidarity guy grabs the Tea Party flag, which he probably shouldn’t have done, but in no way merits being punched in the mouth. And if grabbing the flag was so wrong that it deserves a punch, we can only assume that the solidarity singers should have punched the former state Senator in the mouth for running over their personal things, right?
The Don’t Tread on Me has been arrested on a tentative charge of battery, while the other flag holder and the flag grabber were both charged with disorderly conduct.
The Wisconsin State Journal reported:
State Department of Administration spokeswoman Carla Vigue said the singer who was punched, Michael J. Dickman of Madison, saw the two men draping the flag over others and came over and grabbed it. Dickman was cited by Capitol Police for disorderly conduct, she said.
Henry C. Rahr of Green Bay was arrested on a tentative charge of battery, and another man holding the flag, Eugene C. German, of Shorewood, Minn., also was cited for disorderly conduct, Vigue said.
Among them, Reeder (R. Chris Reeder, who leads the sing-along from noon to 1 p.m. weekdays) said, was former Republican state Sen. Dave Zien of Eau Claire, who was yelling and running over singers’ belongings in the wheelchair he now uses following a motorcycle accident.
“He was definitely being very, very aggressive,” Reeder said.
Lisa Wells, who recorded video of Zien, said he was yelling, “Walker for president.”
So, we have the Don’t Tread on Me flag drapers punching a protester and then, to top it off, a former Republican state Senator running over the singers’ personal items in his wheelchair while screaming, “Walker for President!”
My, how the mighty have fallen. The Republican Party of personal responsibility has morphed into Teapublican Vigilantes using intimidation and violence against Americans peacefully exercising their first amendment rights.
It’s ironic, isn’t it, that people whose motto is “Don’t Tread on Me” seem to get off treading on others’ rights and liberties. This isn’t the first time the Tea Party has resorted to unprovoked violence. The two men who held down a small woman and stomped on her head and back at a Rand Paul rally come immediately to mind. And so I’m forced to wonder if your message is really powerful and of the people, why do you need to silence others with intimidation and violence?
I get that the right doesn’t like the people expressing themselves, and they’re irritated by the consistency of the solidarity protesters, but this is what democracy looks like. The Tea Partiers spent 2009 and 2010 deliberately and purposely disrupting town halls during the healthcare debates and showing up wearing “Don’t Tread on Me” t-shirts while packing.
We should all be asking why they can’t counter like civilized human beings instead of Neanderthal thugs and why we, as a society, are tolerating such behavior instead of naming it loudly and clearly, and then shunning and shaming it. Instead the media continues to ignore peaceful Wisconsin solidarity fighters, while covering the Tea Party as if they were a legitimate political party instead of the trolls of democracy that they have become. The Tea Party has been using radical tactics to disrupt democracy and peaceful debate since they came onto the scene and in doing so, they have stepped on the rest of our rights to be heard, to meet with our representatives, and to debate important legislation and policy.
The far right has become a radical movement of violent aggressors, whether they are passing legislation by breaking laws or using physical intimidation in the Capitol to silence opposition, they are treading on the people’s rights.