Why hasn’t The Wire, which showed us how structural racism and an abusive police department defines black life in Baltimore, translated into collective social action? Why are there only thousands in the streets? Where are the millions of fans of The Wire? And why aren’t they supporting black folks in Baltimore?
As we enter the second week of protests, it seems a good time to look back and gain some perspective on the people, places and moments which have placed Wisconsin in the national and international spotlight.
As I have joined in the vibrant, energetic, and peaceful demonstrations against the Budget Repair Bill at the Wisconsin State Capitol, I have been struck by how those demonstrating have constituted a collective identity for themselves as Wisconsinites.
I’m reminded of an argument made by rhetoric scholars Kevin DeLuca and Jennifer Peeples that we need to rethink the notion of the public sphere because so much of our democratic enactments happen not in a sphere, but on what they call the “public screen.”
The protests in Madison have demonstrated forcefully the power of an alternative to the opinion poll, an embodied voice of the people.