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Rallying for their rights

Empower Wisconsin | April 24, 2020

By M.D. Kittle

MADISON — Opponents of Gov. Tony Evers’ statewide lockdown refuse to be silenced.

The state Department of Administration earlier this week denied a permit request from the organizer of the “ReOpen Wisconsin” rally against Evers’ “Safer at Home” edict. At least 1,000 demonstrators were expected to show up at the State Capitol.

Madison Marie, who has led the effort, posted on Facebook earlier this week that, “The permit was filed as a courtesy to not ruffle feathers.The rally is still happening.” Marie asked demonstrators to peaceably assemble.

Protest organizers are encouraging people to attend on foot so they can hear the speakers and so traffic is not blocked for emergency vehicles, according to The Hill.

Several opponents of the order told Empower Wisconsin they plan on attending.

“We will be staying in our vehicle due to my daughter’s job and all the nonsense (from the left),” a Milwaukee woman said.

The planned rally follows similar demonstrations in Brookfield, Mosinee and elsewhere. Attendees want to see the government relax the restrictions that went into effect a month and a half go, and originally were supposed to end today. Instead, the Evers administration unilaterally decided to extend the lockdown until May 26.

“This rally is about: Reopening our state so we can have our lives back and so that Wisconsin can thrive. Lift the stay-at-home order so we as people can engage with one another in our parks, our playgrounds, at our workplaces, in our place of worship, in our communities and have connection again. This is a non partisan rally,” Marie wrote on the ReOpen Wisconsin page.

While the fear over the pandemic is understandable, the sweeping shutdown has obliterated the state’s economy, claiming hundreds of thousands of jobs, closing thousands of businesses, and eroding the civil liberties of all.

“People are worried about the virus—but they’re also worried about their lives, families, livelihoods, and society,” said conservative talk show host Vicki McKenna. “They don’t want their life’s hard work to achieve some measure of the American Dream be destroyed by arbitrary government action. These are people who followed the rules and abided by the law, paid their taxes, saved and invested, contributed to their communities and sacrificed—and they did everything the right way. They want a chance to live those choices again.”

McKenna has been a vocal supporter of the rallies, promoting them on her daily talk show on NewsTalk 1130 WISN in Milwaukee and WIBA in Madison. She was in Brookfield last weekend. She says she’ll be at the Madison rally, “with my American flag in one hand and the other over my heart.”

McKenna says she’s not sure whether the DOA’s denial of the permit has emboldened the pro-liberty resistance movement, but she knows every day Evers “moves the goal posts on their freedom,” they will be joined by many more standing up for their rights.

Contrary to the national media narrative about some deep, dark right-wing cabal behind the demonstrations, McKenna said the Wisconsin rallies are as homegrown, grassroots as they come. Marie advised rally-goers to be mindful of the mainstream media and the message it has been crafting about the movement.  

“The media will be there and will look to do all they can to hurt us and divide us. 

Don’t give them what they want,” the organizer wrote. 

McKenna predicts the Madison event will be different from the rally in Brookfield.

“I expect a group of Wisconsin citizens to peacefully assemble to demand government redress their grievances and return their civil rights. I expect it will be uniquely and very American,” she said. “I hope it reminds the rest of the state that the Constitution isn’t something we only invoke during the good times—but something necessary in crisis.”

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