Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Aside: Misgiven Protests

Went to class tonight--Writing for Publication and Profit--and it was very interesting. I'm enjoying the hell out of this class, and the resources it provides are invaluable. Over break I ran out to Subway for a quick sandwich. As I sat and ate, an old man came in and grilled the ESL worker behind the counter as to what his plans were for the store this evening. Sound weird? Yeah, that's a weird as hell think to come in off the street and interrogate someone with.

But his motives were pure: apparently there's a Rage Against the Machine concert in downtown Minneapolis, and when they get out at 10:30 PM it's anticipated to erupt into another demonstration down Hennepin Avenue. And because the press has been stressing the violence of Monday's protest, the street is lined with cops ready to thwart those who would smash in the windows of businesses lining the street. Indeed, large trucks have come by and removed all the newspaper dispensers lest they be used to break the windows as well.

This is fucking ridiculous. Not the preparation of the threat, but the threat itself. Assholes are using legitimate political protest as an excuse to be extra-naughty. They could throw a rock through a window any other day of the year or they could throw it during the RNC protests. The difference is that by lashing out with vandalism during the political protest, they are defeating the very protest they purport to participate in, and they don't achieve anything useful besides. They can say they're protesting Republicans and smash in a store's front window: did they do any research? Did the store owner vote Republican? Maybe they just ruined a Democrat's business, maybe a Libertarian's. These vandal assholes have whipped themselves up into a frenzy beyond logic and reason. All they see is enemies everywhere, and they have given themselves permission to transgress the rights of others, calling their own actions noble. They honestly believe that if you squeeze out a huge salsa diarrhea shit and call it a rose, it suddenly smells sweet (which would explain their aversion to personal hygiene).

So. Decent, peaceful people cannot walk around freely right now. In thirteen minutes, teh kidz are going to pour out of their Corporate McPop-Punk concert and destroy other people's property and somehow this is going to overthrow the national government overnight.

What's the enemy up to? I just listened (unwillingly) to 20 minutes of Sarah Palin's speech, and everything I know about Republicans has been reinforced: they are only capable of lying, and they desperately want to believe each other's lies as well as the lies about themselves. Nothing Giuliani said about Palin or the Republican party was true and the crowd loved it. Nothing Palin said was true or accurate and the crowd roared in agreement. Even as she took a dig at the fanatacism of Obama's supporters and the crowd erupted in delight, they could not pick up on their own irony.

What can you do? Obama's got his work cut out for him: in addition to promoting himself, he has double the workload, with having to cite everything McCain and Palin say and provide citation as to why it's not true, whereas McCain and Palin can just make up vague claims with no substantiation. It's maddening in its injustice and imbalance. What can you do? What can anyone do to make things right? When there are so many people who want so badly to be wrong and do wrong things and force other people to abide it at gunpoint, against their intellect and their conscience, what can a right-thinking, decent person do in the face of that?

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