Site Meter
Fritz Feds

Friday, April 28, 2006

Protest Downtown

I was at basketball today, attempting to ignore the looming specter that is my property exam. I finished up, and was trapped on the street outside. My gas guzzling fifteen passenger van was hemmed in by a small herd of protesters. Surprisingly enough, they weren't protesting anything I'd done (my time will come), but the Iraq war. Here's the deal. If you're going to protest, protest somewhere where it won't inconvenience me. And for the love of all things pure, get some new jingles. The "what do we want, peace, when do we want it, now" went out with the bellbottoms, and unlike that eccentric piece of haberdashery, never came back. Perhaps I'm seeing this the wrong way. But there's got to be a way to protest intelligently. And that does not involve angering people on the fence by slowing them up, and making them listen to the most inane babble imaginable. At least write a new catchphrase or two, if you're not going to make the effort to make a substantive point.


If you're going to protest, protest somewhere where it won't inconvenience me.

Ha ha, what? Do you understand the rationale behind protesting?
Here's a thought, that I'm stealing from someone, though I can't remember who right now. What, if any, effect do you suppose these protests have on people? Is someone on the fence (not necessarily you, just generic undecided person) more likely to say "gee, you know, these protesters screwing up my commutation sure have a point" or is the effect more likely to be a push the other direction? Just a thought.
You're stealing it from me in the second to last sentence!
Right, I meant aside from that. I think in the most recent NR. That or I am completely fried from studying for finals. I kind of doubt that one, since, let's be real here, desperation hasn't set in yet. Maybe the old thinker is just fried generally...
Ok, found it. From Jay Nordlinger's Impromptus (always excellent in class reading) on NRO today:

Recently, a young person explained to me how he became a conservative — and it rang so true, so familiar:

"In my freshman year of high school, I had a health teacher, and she never missed a chance to make a snide comment about George W. Bush. I didn't like that. I didn't know why. I'd never thought about politics. And when her comments got more and more outrageous — why, that just spurred me."

The Left has no idea how many conservatives it makes — out of basically apolitical people — just by being jerkish.

So good to know that I'm not completely broken (yet).
The best effect I think protests have is consciousness-raising. And quietly protesting at an "appropriate" time will never achieve that.

I don't know anyone who sees a protest and decides to take the opposite side out of spite or irritation or whatever. They may think the cause or slogans are dumb, but they at least now know that some people are concerned about ABC issue.

And, going further, suppose they, too, are concerned about ABC issue, but had not said or done anything about it because they assumed they were alone in that thought. The visual effect protests can have can spark a solidarity feeling, and certainly a reassurance. I think bumperstickers serve much the same purpose.
Re: the Left making conservatives...gotta say, the knife cuts two ways. Jerkish stupidity is not the exclusive right of either side.

Must say, though, that if someone is "turning to the other side" just because they don't like something one person said (see above re: spite, irritation), well, that's kind of pathetic.

If, on the other hand, they turn to the other side because what the person said inspired them to find out another perspective on the comments, and they found they agreed with it, then I'd say that's positive.
I don't think it actually does "cut both ways", especially given that lefties are much more likely to stage this type of protests.

Lefties (I can't necessarily place you politically, just assuming you're to MY left) think protesting is cool because it "raises awareness" (or consciousness in your case).

As someone who has done the protesting, I think protesting (even righty protesting) is stupid, especially the kind that James described. I think a healthy majority of righties would agree.

Marches, walkouts, chants, all of the usual tactics are pretty much worn out, stale, tired, and almost expected (hey, we're college students, let's walk out of class to protest the war!), which is why they tend to end up just annoying.

Why should I be moved by middle-aged AFL-CIO members holding pre-printed signs with a canned message who are being paid and are risking nothing to be there (especially since most of them are still none too enthusiastic)?

I know there are some on the right who have been tempted by and even used these sorts of tactics. They tend to be political party types who aren't horribly creative at making signs or thinking through their idea, they just want bodies, not thoughts. I think this is a mistake, because, well, people don't show up and they aren't that into it.

What has worked? At least in terms of being thought provoking: new ideas, new tactics, more than just changing the words on the signs. Agree or disagree, I offer these:

Example (which is getting a little tired by now): the affirmative action bake sale.

Obvious Exception: Conservative coming out weeks on campuses.
Post a Comment