A large demonstration and parade in Madison, WI featuring the fleebagging Democratic senators went forward without incident yesterday. The lawmakers were given a heroes welcome as tens of thousands cheered them on.
Meanwhile, in Fon du Lac, WI, two local Republican lawmakers canceled their participation in a St. Patrick's day parade because of death threats.
The glowing coverage of the New York Times says volumes:
The reason for the reception was that the 14 Democratic state senators had returned weeks after fleeing to another state in a dramatic - if ultimately failed - effort to prevent a vote on a bill that would significantly weaken public-sector unions.
Their disappearance - "a really, really weird trip," in the words of one senator - was one of the most memorable and divisive aspects of the legislative standoff, and it helped escalate a policy dispute into a protracted battle over union rights that seized the attention of the nation.
On Saturday, the senators spoke, sometimes boastfully, about their pride in the outpouring of support, their dismay at the law that passed in their absence and their eagerness to meet the protesters who have backed their actions.
"I'm one of the Fabulous 14, and I'm so proud," said Spencer Coggs, who was first elected to the State Legislature nearly three decades ago. "We are back to unite and fight with our supporters. We gave them hope. They gave us inspiration."
In Fon du Lac, there will be a heavy police presence at the family event, no doubt putting a damper on the celebration. Fox 11 news:
A parade with more than 50 entries will now be down two participants.
Fond du Lac police say the tension in Madison has spawned threats, they and lawmakers are acting on.
"We've taken them all seriously and we're happy to say that none of them have panned out yet here in Fond du Lac, so we're still vigilant," Deputy Chief Kevin Lemke said.
State Senator Randy Hopper and State Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt, both Republicans, have decided not to march in the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday.
Hopper was among the Republican lawmakers who received death threats, in connection to the battle over collective bargaining and fixing a budget deficit.
[...]Officers say the lawmakers' absence will take some of the pressure off enforcement, but security will be high in Fond du Lac and at other parades in the state.
Hopper wasn't available for a interview, however in a statement he said he was looking forward to the event, saying "I, in no way, want to put the citizens of Fond du Lac in harms way."
An interesting tale of two parades.