The truck that delivered all the recall petitions to the GAB. Photo by Callen Harty.

With time winding down on Wisconsin’s historic recall election it is time to pause, to reflect for just a moment, and then to charge forward to finish the task at hand. We have come too far to falter now. We have come too far to fail in the final hours. We have come too far to watch our work go to waste. Now is the time for all of our winter soldiers to rise again in spring and finish the job we started in the cold and snow of winter. It is time to enlist everyone in the cause so that this becomes the season of our victory. It is spring in Wisconsin. It is the season of rebirth. It is the time for democracy to flower. It is the time to rise up and be counted, to stand side by side with voices and fists raised, and to return this once-great state to its rightful owners, the people who live here.

We have accomplished much. No one who was there will ever forget how we brought more people to the Capitol to protest this administration than at any time in our history, how we created a community within the Capitol that was more democratic than almost any society in history, how we waited patiently for a year before starting to collect petition signatures and then turned in almost a million—thousands and thousands more than what was needed, how we created signs, songs, poems, actions where none had existed, simply out of the passion and energy of people who cared. We have been an angry, gentle people. We have stood in the whipping winds of Wisconsin winter, in the sweltering heat of summer, in the shifting moments of every season. And now it is time to create our best moment yet, a moment that history will look back on in amazement and declare, “The people rose up, peacefully defended themselves, and won.”

To do this we must expend every ounce of remaining energy in this effort because this is, in fact, a fight for the soul of Wisconsin, if not the nation. It is time to make our final stand. We must decide what we want for a future here—a state where corporations or people matter most, a state where career politicians or common citizens rule, a state with secret and shady dealings or open and honest government. If we want the latter then we cannot lie down now. We cannot take a break. We are fighting powerful and influential enemies here. We cannot let them subdue us. We cannot let them dishearten us with falsified statistics, relentless advertising, misleading poll numbers. We know better. We cannot fail with the truth on our side.

We are the people. We move among the citizens of this state on a daily basis. We hear the co-workers who voted for Scott Walker the last time but who will not do it again. We see the recall signs in yards in every part of the state. We can feel the victory and the redemption that is within our grasp. All we have to do is forge ahead, talk to everyone we know, make phone calls, volunteer. It is only a couple weeks more. We can do it. When it is over we can relax, we can sit down and pause for a longer moment, and reflect back again on all we have accomplished and where we can go in the future. This truly is the most exciting time to be alive in the history of this state. We have come so far and just need to push it a little bit more. We, the people, can shape our own future. How amazing is that? How many have ever had that opportunity? Let’s show the moneyed interests who want to take over our state that they cannot do it. Let’s show them that we are Wisconsin, and we will not stand for it.

Forward, in peace and solidarity!

About Callen Harty

Originally from Shullsburg, Wisconsin Callen Harty is the author of four books and numerous published essays, poems, and articles. His most recent book is The Stronger Pull, a memoir about coming out in a small town in Wisconsin. His first book was My Queer Life, a compilation of over 30 years worth of writing on living life as a queer man. It includes essays, poems, speeches, monologues, and more. Empty Playground: A Survivor's Story, is a memoir about surviving childhood sex abuse. His play, Invisible Boy, is a narrative with poetic elements and is also an autobiographical look as surviving child sex abuse. All are available on (and three of them on Kindle) or can be ordered through local bookstores, He has written almost two dozen plays and 50 monologues that have been produced. Most of them have been produced at Broom Street Theater in Madison, Wisconsin where he started as an actor, writer, and director in 1983. He served as the Artistic Director of the theater from 2005-2010. Monologues he wrote for the Wisconsin Veterans’ Museum won him awards from the Wisconsin Historical Society and the American Association of State and Local History. He has also had essays, poems, and articles published in newspapers and magazines around the country and has taken the top prize in several photo contests. His writing has appeared in Out!, James White Review, Scott Stamp Monthly, Wisconsin State Journal, and elsewhere. He has had several essays published online for Forward Seeking, Life After Hate, and The Progressive. Callen has also been a community activist for many years. He was the co-founder of Young People Caring, UW-Madison’s 10% Society, and Proud Theater. He served as the first President of Young People Caring and as the Artistic Director for Proud Theater for its first five years. He is still an adult mentor for the group. In 2003 he won OutReach’s Man of the Year award for his queer community activism. OutReach is Madison, Wisconsin’s lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender community center. He also won a Community Shares of Wisconsin Backyard Hero award for his sex abuse survivor activism work. He has been invited to speak before many community groups, at a roundtable on queer community theater in New York City, and has emceed several events. In 2016, Wisconsin Coalition Against Sexual Assault named him their annual Courage Award winner for his activism, writing, and speaking on sexual assault.
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