You know the whole thing about feeling a "good kind of tired?" Well, I'm feeling better and worse than that: I'm feeling a FANTASTIC kind of EXHAUSTED! But, man, am I glad I made the trip down to Olympia, Washington today to attend the pro-workers' rights "Rally To Save The American Dream," organized by MoveOn. "Glad" doesn't even cover it. "Honored" and "moved" would be more accurate. To stand with such a varied group of Americans -- babies in strollers and elderly people walking over the ice and snow with canes or walkers, handsome firefighters and sweet-faced teachers, rough-edged tradesmen and starry-eyed college students -- and to see their faces and hear their voices in support of the union workers in Wisconsin (and everywhere) is something I won't soon forget.

It was very cold, for here anyway -- the temps were in the lower 30s, the wind was a little bitey, and while our rare Seattle-ish snow is already melted off, Olympia still had theirs. So MissEight and I bundled up in multi-layers, fuzzy funny hats and boots; she wore a sweatshirt from my old Wisconsin elementary school, I wore a Badgers shirt and two-dollar Walgreens knit gloves with the fingertips cut off. She brought her poster that she made the night before, and I brought my camera. As we drove into town, I couldn't have been more delighted to see a long line of supporters wearing Cheesehead hats.

There was a small counter-protest on the steps of the Capitol, as was expected. There were no problems at all. The rally was vigorous in spirit, but utterly peaceful. People smiled as they walked by and tried to not block others' view of the stage where the various Democratic representatives, union leaders, small business owners, and others gave short speeches to the 2500 of us gathered to listen. No pushing, crowding, shoving, no ugly language, no hate.

I was so proud of my daughter today. Even though she was cold and tired, she did not complain. Lots of people liked her sign and asked to take her picture. I think most were teachers, heh. She held it for awhile over by the road where cars slowly rolled by, looking at the scene, and sometimes the drivers honked their horns in solidarity. After a little while, a very nice State Trooper came over and complimented her, and gave her a lovely silver "Junior Trooper" sticker, which brought her biggest smile of the day.

So many people, from so many different walks of life, spending a Saturday morning standing up for the right to have their voices fairly heard.

After the speeches, we were asked to move into the Capitol rotunda. Don't have to ask me twice; I've never been in there and would love to see it, and I also would really really like to unfreeze my icicle fingers.

We listened to more speakers, or tried to, but someone by this point was ready to wrap it up, which was totally fair.

As everyone filtered out of the Capitol and down the steps, I think there was a collective feeling that we all did a good thing. Our gathering wasn't anywhere near the incredible numbers counted in Madison today (70-100K! And in heavy snow and 17 degree temps! Go, you crazy WI. bastids, go!), but we said our piece. It was good just to be with people who felt the same, you know?

(More Rally photos are here.)

We piled back into the car, and had a nice warm meal before heading back to home, the Little Activist and Her Mom, both looking forward to a good kind of sleep at the end of the day.

Video: South Sound Rally To Save The American Dream, Olympia WA 2/26/11