FRANKFORT, Ky. — Wendell Berry slowly walked from the corridor of the empty Capitol Building into the governor’s reception room, where 13 fellow activists were scattered among the chairs and desks, eating, playing card games, and laying out pillows and coats to be used as makeshift beds.
The protesters had been in Gov. Steve Beshear’s outer office protesting for nearly 36 hours and still had two nights ahead of them. They were in good spirits, and Berry hoped to keep them that way. In his left hand was a copy of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest” and in his right were his glasses, which he put on as he told everyone he had something to share with them.
“Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows,” Berry read, as his face turned bright red with laughter. The room roared as they recounted their efforts to sleep 14 people in a jigsaw puzzle-pattern on the royal red carpet of the governor’s office the night before.
But it wasn’t all fun and games. The group, which had dubbed itself “Kentucky Rising,” was there for a reason.