>I saw the metaphor in a novel by Jodi Picoult. She was describing a demonstration, with protesters separated by a neutral zone patrolled by the National Guard. This neutral zone, the space between the opposite sides of the issue, was the fault line of public opinion.
Wisconsin has a fault line now. The push and shove of the fault line lies in our public opinion, our State Senate, our State Assembly, and even our State Supreme Court. The atmosphere is one side against the other, majority rules, and winner takes all no matter what the cost.
The danger in living on a fault line is that an earthquake could occur any time, without warning. We Wisconsinites are good at preparing for blizzards, taking shelter from tornadoes, and mopping up after floods. We’re not used to the earth shaking beneath us, dumping dishes from shelves, breaking windows, and opening cracks in the streets. We’re also not accustomed to our state capitol attracting thousands of middle class demonstrators, a legislature that is obsessively divided along party lines, and a governor who refuses to be photographed from his bad side.
Wisconsin citizens and voters are choosing sides now. With strong leadership, maybe the members of our legislature will relax their posturing and focus again on their real responsibilities: making laws, thoughful laws, that benefit the citizens of our state.
This weekend is a huge one for activists. Expect to see clipboards, lanyards identifying volunteers, busy offices full of volunteers. If you’re a friend or family IRL, call me. I have petitions and I know how to use them. Together, we’ll reclaim our government. Then, and only then, we can reach across the fissure created by the fault line of public opinion.