Sometimes a defining moment arrives that holds us in awe, when our eyes get teary, spines pulse, and we exhale as one.
I attended the victory celebration in La Crosse as Candidate Shilling became Senator Shilling when just such a defining moment arrived and circled the room and lifted the hours of work by hundreds of signature petitioners, campaign workers, and voters into a dimension of ….well there is no word. The moment is not to be described in a word just as the mathematical concept of eternity is not described by a number but by bow tie symbol. – ∝
Once candidate, now Senator Shilling, was speaking of the gratitude she held for all the volunteers, staff, and ordinary people who demonstrated deep conviction through weather, political maneuvering, and even fire to free Wisconsin from an over reach which sent democracy “of the people” into divisive chapter in the book of fair mindedness and transparency in State Government. The word she used was “resilience”. As she spoke, a little boy ran up before the podium clapping and cheering. Most didn’t know who the boy was until Senator Shilling, not missing a beat, took her son Zack in her arms and carried him to the podium and spoke, “Zach, you are resilient!”.
The air shifted and the slightest pause was followed by applause and cheers. Senator Shilling, in a magic moment, struck a cord that tuned politics out of the harmonics of recall elections, politics, and vilification of one side and the other. She became, Mom. Just a mom holding her son as she might have in the family room at home.
The photo appeared in the Crawford County, Independent Scout with the caption; “Victory is Sweeter, with a little love”. It got me to thinking, about Wisconsin politics, recall elections, and stark divisiveness tearing at the very seams of our lives. At the same time and not so far away, Dan Kapanke was delivering his concession speech. In conceding his loss he told his followers that they should support Senator Shilling; a suggestion that was met with boos and hisses. He followed the reaction with another suggestion, that if they couldn’t support her now, to wait until they could. He had no regrets about voting with Walker curtailing collective bargaining rights, and said the majority of voters in the district demonstrated that they disagreed.
I strongly disagree with Kapanke, but in the end, he demonstrated civility. For me, it is all that was ever asked of him. The picture of Mom, Senator, and Son is the icon for hope for the sweetness of love, respect, and civility in the future of our beautiful, Packer loving, Wisconsin.