A visual bombardment of frustration with the government shutdown hit the State Capitol. It started sedately enough with House Democrats putting out six empty chairs labeled “courage to compromise” inviting six Republicans to join them in a budget fix to tax the rich.
Then developmentally disabled adults from a group home struggled to get their wheelchairs up the to microphones eclipsing them from the press. Michael Vernell could be heard from behind the cluster of electrical cables with this plea “Don’t shutdown my house.” Democrats wouldn’t name names of Republicans who might join them on a budget solution but say they’re reaching out.
After a brief squabble about removing and replacing a microphone stand so Republicans to talk to the press following the Democrats, several senators commented on the Minnesota Supreme Court’s decision to consider their challenge of the constitutionality of government funding during a shutdown. Sen. Warren Limmer (R-Maple Grove) said “I believe we will win.” But an angry state worker yelled and swore at the senators asking them why they should get paid while he doesn’t.
Joining the shouting was a group of senior citizen tourists protesting all the state historic sites they won’t be able to visit during the shutdown. They held signs from New York, California and Arizona. Their tour guide said the tourists wanted to do the protest and made the signs. They looked right into all the TV cameras and chanted “We came to town, don’t shut us down!”
Finally, loaves and fishes and milk and honey literally arrived on the Capitol steps along with religious leaders. The ISIAH coalition of more than 100 congregations urged leaders to “find creative ways to ask those who have done well to make small sacrifices so that we can invest in those who’ve been hurt most by the economic downturn.” They delivered a letter signed by more than 200 clergy to the governor and legislative leaders.