Well, it’s the end of February and that means that it’s time for the Warm Hats not Hot Heads sendoff. I have to admit that we jumped the gun a little and sent my hat on Friday, because today’s schedule was all up in the air and we wanted to send it out on time. So it is off and running, wending its way through the postal system to deliver its message and to find a new home (maybe) with Rep. Hannabusa in Hawaii. I don’t imagine they have much use for wool hats there, but not being used to the cold must make meetings in Washington D.C. all the harder to bear.

As I’m sure you’ve heard, there is a bit of a ruckus going on in Madison about the latest budget amendments being pushed through by our new governor. All the surrounding political discourse has given me plenty of opportunities to reflect on just why WHNHH is so important.

I’m pleased to say that the protests have (so far) remained peaceful, but tension is high and tempers are growing palpably shorter by the day. I was snapped at in the grocery store just yesterday by a disgruntled protester annoyed at having been closed out of the Capitol building, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience. It certainly didn’t further his cause in my mind, even though I was predisposed to agree with him.

I have been disappointed by the level of “discussion” that filters out to me from the crowds that surround the capitol building every day. There have been lots of jabs about Gov. Walker’s (lack of) college education, many statements designed to impugn his character and minimize him as a person, but not a lot of intelligent discourse about the right way to do things. I don’t know about you, but a large group of people chanting about how I’m so dumb I never made it through college would be unlikely to change my mind about much of anything, much less inspire me to engage in open public discussion about contentious issues.

And so, I knit, and think of the ideals embodied in the WHNHH campaign. I hope that they find their way out into the world, not only to our politicians and our public figures, but into our own lives and attitudes as well.

My knitted hat is on its way to Hawaii, but my (metaphorical) hat is off to Ellen and to Allison for beginning what looks to be a truly central part of this ongoing political debate.