One of my favorite protest signs from last year read “Walker Like An Egyptian.” I saw it the first day of what would turn out to be the month-long (if not longer) uprising in Wisconsin — the first such occupation in America during 2011. Back then, demonstrators were still descending upon Tahrir Square in Cairo. Scott Walker was and is no Hosni Mubarak, of course, and what had been (and still is) going on in Egypt was drastically worse than the portentous inauguration of the new Republican administration. No doubt about it. But what was happening in Egypt last year in February was historic, as would be our contemporary uprising in the Dairy State. Was Madison the new Cairo, the state Capitol building the new Tahrir Square? No, but the analogy was understandable. So a sign that punned a 1980s hit song by the Bangles with the governor’s name while invoking a subversive political message was perfect: Scott Walker was like Hosni Mubarak in a sense, and what we had been watching on TV half a world away was now taking place in our own backyard — and we were there, in live time; and like Mubarak, who would eventually agree to step down, so too should Walker have.
And all of this takes on a new meaning with respect to Passover this year. So with that in mind I am delighted to share with you unedited the very witty and well-done “Wisconsin Union Passover Seder Guide” penned by Ann Imig — just in case you thought Friday Night Fish Fry and gefilte fish were the the only crossroads between Sconnie and Ashkenazi.
Disclaimer: if you have never been to a traditional Seder, the following guide may well be lost on you. Here is a quick primer on the basics of Seder — or feel free to skip this scribble entirely. Or better yet, befriend a Jew and get yourself invited to a Seder next year. It’s fun, the food is great, and I promise that you will feel more closely connected to a sense of community and continual struggle, whatever your religion or lack thereof, than you have in a long time.
Your Wisconsin Union Passover Seder Guide.
by Ann Imig
Set a small rectangular table next to a larger square table, or any seat configuration that most resembles a blue fist.
Pass the hand-washing bowl around the Seder-fist table, and reminisce about the one clean bathroom in Our House The Capitol that no one else knew about but you and that drum circle guy.
Join in a version of the song Paul Robeson made famous: “Let My People Go”:
“When Walker was in WiscoLand,
let my unions collectively bargain…”
Explain the symbols on the Seder plate:
The Matzoh wearing the tiny superhero cape represents the fourteen Democratic senators who had to flee the state, and did not have time for their bread to rise.
The saltwater represents our tears when Republican Governor Scott Walker would not let us in Our House, and especially when he would not let us use Our Crockpots in Our House.
The egg represents the hardworking teachers that had to retire early to save their nest eggs.
The bitter herbs that overpower our senses represent The Koch Brothers’ money that overpowers true democracy.
The parsley represents rebirth, renewal, and recall.
The shank bone represents the toll on our shins after a month of standing on the square, singing “We Shall Overcome.”
The Ian’s Pizza slice represents the entire world’s support of Madison pizza.
Drink the first cup.
Break a piece of Matzoh in thirds, representing the cuts to our social services, and hide one piece for the kids to seek. Label it “BadgerCare” with edible ink. The child who finds the BadgerCare Matzoh receives a small gift. Perhaps, a box of Manischewitz candy fruit slices with one bite taken out of each slice. Explain to the teary winner that those bites were taken by Republican Governor Scott Walker for his cronies’ no-bid contracts.
Ask the four questions:
Why is this night different from all other nights? On all other nights we do recall signature data entry. Tonight we sing about recall signature data entry.
Why is this governor different from all other governors? All other governors did not ruin 50 years of peaceful labor negotiations in Wisconsin.
Why is your protest sign so much cooler than my sign? I have a graphic arts degree and you wrote KOCH BLOCKER in pencil on a napkin.
Why is it that on all other nights we eat either sitting or reclining, but on this night we eat in a reclining position? If you must know, the capitol floor inflamed my hemorrhoids and irritated my sciatica. Enough with the questions already.
Drink the second cup.
The Four Sons:
The Wise Son Asks: What does collective bargaining have to do with the budget?
The Wicked awesome prank caller blogger Son Asks: “Scott! David Koch. How are you?”
The Simple Son Asks: “Why are there palm trees in FoxNews’ footage of the protests in Wisconsin?”
The One That Does Not Know To Ask Is Told: Just make a sign and get down to the Capitol. HURRY.
Dip your finger in the wine and put one dot on your plate for each of 10 plagues:
1. Scott Walker
2. Rebecca Kleefisch
5. Johnsonville Brat Fest
6. Occupy Wall Street thunder-stealers
7. Tea Party People
9. Catchy protests slogans WHOSE HOUSE that served us well, but that we cannot extract from our limbic systems OUR HOUSE
10. Each person who voted for Scott Walker except that one dude with the sign that read I VOTED FOR SCOTT WALKER AND I AM SORRY.
Drink the third and fourth cup followed by a beer chaser.
Open the door for Russ Feingold:
Time to open the door for Russ Feingold. Let him in! Let him drink from the gubernatorial cup he has no interest in drinking from, but somehow owes Wisconsin despite his career of service and the fact that we didn’t elect him in 2010.
Next year in a new administration! Next year may all be free to forget entirely about Our House except for that one 5th grade field trip!
Close with “Shame on you” sung to the tune of “Dayeinu.”
(Published originally at http://www.mcsweeneys.net/articles/your-wisconsin-union-passover-seder-guide
Many, many thanks for letting me share this!)
L’Chaim and see you in Madison next year!