Friday, August 20, 2004

Protesting the Protesters

I’ve never really understood the whole ‘protesting’ thing. I mean, of course, there have been times that I have felt like I should do it (that urge to be 'heard')—but then I remember what an absolute public-annoying-waste-of-time it is. I really appreciate why conservatives are called the ‘silent majority’.

I am sure that most of these people truly believe in the cause behind their protest, but I think that the average protester (who is usually the ‘professional protester' hanging on from the sixties –The parents from Dharma and Greg…) just ends up hurting their cause with the inconvenience they bring about on the general public, their primal screams and their visible hate.

When I was 21, I was doing a paper for an English class and our crappy computer was down so I was using a type writer (shudder). The ribbon ran out 2 hours before I had to turn in the paper. I raced to Sears to get the replacement ribbon and, alas, hundreds of Teamsters were blocking the door. I went to walk by and one burly man (with a mustache like the dad in Orange County Choppers) grabbed my arm (hard!) and said, “Sears hires non-union truck drivers”. I gave him a blank look and attempted to free myself of his vice grip. “Did you hear me (his voice went up 2 or 3 octaves), you can’t go in there, they aren’t using union truckers.” My sassy but probably-very-stupid-considering-the-situation reply was“ I have a paper due in an hour and a half and I need typewriter ribbon –I don’t care if Sears just killed the President.” (Well, in my defense… it was just Clinton at the time).

I thought he was going to punch me, but another shaggy fellow touched his shoulder and he finally let me pass. Did this protest draw me closer to the Union cause –or was it the origin of my deep-rooted distaste for all unions? Did it make me less or more likely to shop at Sears? (Hint: More) Does the average person give a shit that Sears isn’t hiring Teamsters or are they smart enough to know that’s why Sears can keep their prices down…

My form of personal protesting (protesting the protesters) is crossing any and all union picket lines that I see –even if I originally had no intention of going to the store they are in front of. It’s fun and I revel in telling the picketer that, ‘The need for unions is extinct’ and that ‘I will shop [at said store/business] more knowing that it doesn’t subscribe to union b.s. and doesn’t raise my cost to support Democratic candidates’. (Now that I have kids I can’t do this as much because I wouldn’t put them in harm’s way).

My husband owns an independent HVAC company and he has to work an hour out of Philly everyday to avoid being harassed, having his tires slashed or worse. The Union problem in Philadelphia is out-of-hand…and they are constantly protesting/picketing something with their big giant inflatable rat (God, I want a dart gun).

As we await the RNC convention in NY –the debate about protesting regains relevance. I think it’s great that we have the freedom to do this –to an extent. As I hear 'the plans' that ‘anarchist’ groups are proposing, it makes me shudder. Roll giant bags of marbles under the mounted officers…go to a shooting range for an hour ahead of the protest to throw off bomb-sniffing dogs, bring BB guns to shoot at the police horses…If this comes to fruition and there is an attack –what accountability will these ‘protestors’ have? Will they be charged with treason? I guess not if John Walker Lynn didn’t even get that charge…or Fonda…Do we still have a treason charge?

This isn’t about the left or the right. Democrat or Republican (the terrorists won't descriminate) This is about safety and common sense. This is about the fact that most people could care less about protestors –they don’t see your message, they only see the ways you are inconveniencing them (traffic detours, litter, harassment). So why risk lives in NYC –during a heightened terror watch - for a message that falls on deaf ears anyway? If American’s want to keep their constitutional rights intact, (which, to my limited understanding of Constitutional Law, are not guaranteed in a time of war) –they need to respect the safety of their fellow citizens first and foremost.


Paul G. said...

Next time you see the blowup rat could you get the contact information of the folks operating it and email me?
Not that I want to use it or anything, my CEO was perfectly right to lay off just enough technicians to cover his bonus. I'm sure it was just coincidence.

Have you thought of relocating to the Harrisburg area, it's much more conservative than Philly.
Among the many places I'm a former resident of Phoenixville is one of them, I snatched my wife away from creeping conservatism in the E. Roosevelt Cottman Ave area, and spirited her down here to the ultra liberal south.

Ron Brynaert said...

I don’t care if Sears just killed the President.” (Well, in my defense… it was just Clinton at the time).

Repugnant = arousing disgust or aversion; offensive or repulsive: morally repugnant behavior.

Kind of funny, though, I admit...and you redeemed yourself by considering it "probably-very-stupid-considering-the-situation"

Nixon coined the term "silent majority" in a 1969 reaction to 250,000 anti-war demonstrators who gathered at the Vietnam Moratorium in Washington. It does not necessarily refer to conservatives.

Are you against the protests in the mid 1700s? Are you against the protests during the Civil Rights movement? Are you against the protests against the illegal invasion of Iraq? (whoops, I guess you are)

Thanks for the post about me that you wrote the other week. I give you mucho credit for not deleting my posts...but...then...if you would be giving me powerful you alluded to.

Even though I disagree with nearly every word you write...I do have to commend you for having the guts to put your words out there. Any writer (novelist, poet, letter-to-the-editor writer, etc.) that is brave enough to take sides in the political arena - even the wrong sides (ha) - should be damn proud of their self.

As for your reaction to my words. Please. You and your friends love to twist things around like your friends at Fox. "RAB is a bully" "It just goes to show how mean liberals really are." (I don't remember the exact reaction from bigandmean and co.)

The only "mean" words I wrote on your blog were "repugnant" and "fascist." The word repugnant was a result of our debate about the Abu Ghraib torture scandal. You reduced the entire debacle to "Iraqis forced to wear pink panties on their head." Then when I mentioned the more serious wrote that since you hadn't seen the pictures you couldn't accept them as fact ( accepted all the "fact" that are contained in the Swift Boat Veterans which is about to be discredited by most of the major media tomorrow). You can take a look at the Washington Post website or at to see pictures that were not in the first batch released to the public. Pictures that they didn't show on FoxNews. Dogs attacking, blood on the floors, corpses in ice, etc.

You also link to Michelle Malkin and Ann Coulter, two of the most despicable "pundits" in the entire world. Maybe like wish the New York Times building was destroyed on September 11th. Or like Michelle desire American Muslim concentration camps. Incidentally, I googled you...and I saw your fawning words to the more-repugnant Malkin on her website.

As for fascist. That was meant as a joke (and an allusion to the way that Lefty links to you on his site). I wrote it in this context: Peace to all...including the fascist blondes of the world.

I meant to use fascist as a syn. for reactionary. I should have used reactionary instead...because "fascist" is an ugly word to throw around. And until today...I hadn't read anything that was particularily that kind of "fascist" on your site. I think this anti-protest post qualifies as semi-fascist...("If American’s want to keep their constitutional rights intact, which, to my limited understanding of Constitutional Law, are not guaranteed in a time of war" = extremely limited)...but I'm not calling you a goose stepper...okay

I've actually enjoyed reading some of the more less-political posts on your site. Especially the post about plastic surgery. It's too bad you're brainwashed by the lies of the right.

Let's be clear. I have nothing against conservatives. I wish the Republican Party was a party that catered to Conservatives...lieberman could join it. It's the right wingers and neo-cons that have sucked all the breathable oxygen out of your party. It's those people I hate. And I do mean hate. I don't expect you to one day wake up and become a "tree-hugging" (ha) liberal...but maybe you could become a true conservative.

Blonde Sagacity is a much better title for your site.

Incidentally, I happened to meet Moby once at a music industry party held in an abandoned church. It was pretty I spent most of the time huddled around a kerosene heater. Just before playing a short set, Moby joined me at the heater. He was very cool...and he even introduced me to his mom...something I'll never forget....But I still prefer Eminem. Nobody listens to techno.

Although we all get heated...we're all in the same leaky boat together.

Peace's this "writer's" link: Why Are We Back In Iraq?

Cigarette Smoking Man from the X-Files said...

The right to assemble and speak is protected by the Bill of Rights, even for "anarchists". However, the right to shoot or injure police horses, is not. Even if there were no terrorist threat and no Republican convention going on, law enforcement can and will apprehend those plotting to do such damage.

And personally, I think the Mindless Moore Mob has gone more than a bit nuts. And that's a view from a centrist. (You've seen my Party Platform--not exactly a "conservative" am I?)

redleg said...

Wow.... Ala you generated a lot of venom.

I would like to point out that those who protest while they are exercising their right to free speech are ignoring the same rights granted to others. That is what the sweet lady from Philly is saying. You may not agree. So go protest somewhere about it.

She also believes labor unions are corrupt. I think she has more than a valid point here, but it is dangerous to voice a dissenting opinion about that in the North East. They still have mobsters up there, Ala. Not that I am suggesting mob connections to the liberal, democratic leaning labor unions that are one of the prime causes of US jobs being outsourced overseas. Too expensive to compete otherwise. Do the math.

But wow, venom this early in the morning. Can't we all just get along?

justrose said...

ALa -- I started reading this and thought, "wait a sec, here, where's the picture of the inflatable rat?" And there he was, a little surprise at the bottom! Thank you! You never disappoint.

here's some sugar for you baby

ALa said...

rab_ I appreciate your clarifications...I do. What I mention about our 'freedoms not being guaranteed in a time of war' is from a Supreme Court decision though and not my conservative imagination (LOL). I was referring to all kids of protesting (i.e. anti-abortion right-wingers too) --not saying that any of them are wrong...just stating the truth that it doesn't win hearts and minds --let alone sway a single opinion. It just usually makes people stop and stare at the 'nuts' and have something to tell their families over dinner...
(p.s. I am not so happy with Michelle Malkin these days as she sat there like a mute on Bill Maher's show the other night and let Bill and the intellectual, D.L. Hughley, walk all over her)
–I stand by the statement that unions are bullshit…and I have the goods to back it up (future post).

ALa said...

Paul -you lived near Roosevelt Mall? Too funny. Then I am sure you've seen the rat. I am afraid that it will hard to ask for a card from the operators after I use 'the dart'.....haha

Thanks Justrose & redleg....

riceburner147 said...

Ala71 re: Unions
During Gen Washington's encampment at Valley Forge the troops there were subjected to cold and hunger. We all know this but, why ? Some historians posit that in light of a British naval blockade around the colonies goods were in extreme short supply. Congress (convened in York) was sending money to supply the troops in VF (tho not enuf) but much of the goods were winding up in the black market, sold by the men who were charged with the duty of delivering those goods. They drove teams of horses pulling wagons, hence the name "Teamsters". I believe this account tho I have scant proof of it. It reflects to me the nature of the human heart. Having said that, and because of the nature of the human heart we need a balancing force in our culture to counter the avarice of business owners. This may no longer be unions to the degree that was once needed but you will see in the future that the scales will tend to get out of balance (labor - management) and injustice will result.
As a current example look at Wal-Mart, its scurilous business practices are just beginning to surface, and yet, who can afford to NOT go to Wal-Mart ? Shall we make up signs you and me, and go stand outside of Wal-mart to "protest" that corp. paying women less than
men ? Or the practice of giving a company a large share of their business, and then, when they are relying on that business, squeeze that company for more and more price cuts until they are forced out of business.
I have been a Teamster for most of my adult life. I was the shop steward for my local (929) until I realized that it was a corrupt union (later the local was indicted for collusion etc). I have had my own businesses (non-union) and understand the issues involved. Our traditional unions (many, not all) need to clean up and change with the times, perhaps even becoming something else. But there will always be a need for a system of checks and balances (sound familar ?) in the dealings between fallible human beings. (IMHO)

91ghost said...

If they roll the marbles under the police, I sincerely hope they get their skulls cracked. I'm feeling the venom this morning.

Bigandmean said...

Rab, you use words like repugnant, fascist, and hate in your posts. I think it's time to take a deep breath, close your eyes and chant a few hare krishnas. Frankly, I can't work up any hate for anybody and I don't understand how anyone else could get so exorcised over a difference of opinion. Life's way too short to spend even one moment of it in a hate mode.

Paul G. said...

Whose marbles will they be rolling?
The NeoCons say the Libs have lost thier's.
And the Libs say the NeoCons have done the same.
Where are these marbles coming from?
I want to join that group.

Frater Bovious said...

What the hell is a neo-con??

Labor Unions: Once upon a time big business did things like chain women to sewing machines. The productivity skyrocketed owing to no time lost to going potty and stuff. Also, meat packing plant conveyor lines would not be stopped even if some poor immigrant was being dragged by his sleeves into the grinder and being turned into Vienna Sausages. If Big Business had treated people like human beings, there would have been no toehold for any type of union activity. So, in their day, they did serve a purpose and better the life of the average worker.

They also made union bosses filthy rich.

The primary driving force today is the filthy rich boss angle. Let's be serious, people are not being ground up in machinery or chained to equipment even in non-union shops. There are things like OSHA that deal with all that stuff.

I totally agree with you Ala regarding protesting. Sure, go ahead and protest, but don't kid yourself that you are changing anyone's mind. And since here in Texas we are a right to work open shop state, you can't even effectively threaten people into paying attention to you. And, the right to protest does not mean some big effing macho man can grab a woman and hurt her and threaten her because Sears uses someone else to drive their trucks. That type of activity is insupportable, period.

All this crap about Ala being repugnant and fascist because she didn't cotton to having her person threatened leaves me scratching my head. WTFO? Being a conservative that objects to being intimidated by some mouth breathing thug makes her just like everyone else I've ever met or known, liberal or not. Nobody likes that and his behavior was reprehensible.

Lastly, what the hell (again) is a neo-con? I think I'm offended.

ALa said...

Frater- I am curious...what is a 'right to work open state'? The 'union' threat on our fledgling business is why we are contemplating the move south...

riceburner147 said...

Its true, I admit it, protesting is inconvenient. Just imagine how "inconvenient" it was when that impertinent woman took a seat at the front of the bus. What nerve, first it caused a ruckus, and some people were late to work. Tsk Tsk. What else is inconvenient; Voting, letters to the editor, children, i could go on. Protesting (and even more so, civil disobedience) are some of the bedrocks of democracy (along with the freedom of expression here expressed in various blogs)and thus are not optional but obligatory for the patriot, be they of one party or another. The fact that some are annoyed is of little import, how many in our great country were "annoyed" at the enslavement of an entire race. Let us not make our convenience, or the opinions of others, the measure of an ideas rightness.

ALa said...

Want-a-Harley -oh, I mean my post...I never said it was wrong -I said it was pointless in today's society to block people from entering a store or gather in large masses with a message of there.

riceburner147 said...

re: I am sure that most of these people truly believe in the cause behind their protest, but I think that the average protester (who is usually the ‘professional protester' hanging on from the sixties –The parents from Dharma and Greg…) just ends up hurting their cause with the inconvenience they bring about on the general public, their primal screams and their visible hate.

I strongly agree that anyone who touches someone crossing a picket line is wrong (should be prosecuted), this is not in view in this paragraph. How do you know the demogpahics of the group (whichever group that may be) I have been in charge of protests (along with others) and no primal screams were heard. Comeon, weak point, admit it. Protest is a (sometimes) powerful tool in a democracy for those willing to get out from behind the monitor and let their voices be heard. For those who are inconvenieced, let them eat cake.
btw a used touring bmw (K100rs) is in my future. "Kraut Burner" ?

tescosuicide said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Paul G. said...

I don't know what a 'right to work open state' is...
I do know what a 'right to work' 'open shop' state is.
What right to work and open shop means is that you do not have to be a union member to work in a union shop and you cannot be required to join a union to be hired.

Up until very recently this also meant that you were paid in accordance with and represented by the union, you just didn't pay union dues.
Believe it or not the union representation part was the idea of the unions, not the DOL or business.
It backfired on the unions.
Fortunately government in it's infinate capacity for failure has, in just the last month or so decided that non union shop members are not entitled to union representation.
The unions are pissed, showing they can be just as stupid as the Department of Labor.

Paul G. said...

Frater Bovious
This the hell a neo-con is.

Your offendedness however is your own problem to deal with.

Frater Bovious said...

Paul is right about the open shop state part. my bad on the quick typing. And he is right on the backfiring on the unions. The net impact in Texas is there are very few union shops here. Just some of the major ones like General Motors. And there are truckers that drive for union outfits, and truckers that don't. And companies that use Union Truckers, and companies that don't.

You also see very little protesting, and when you do, it is during union negotiations, not about whether or not some company is using union labor.

What unions do accomplish is giving workers a kind of veiled threat. The statement "someone is handing out union representation cards in the parking lot" is treated with the same urgency as "core meltdown" is in a nuclear power plant.

Lastly, while theoretically you can work in a union shop without joining the union, friends of mine in the aircraft maintenance industry inform me that generally all employees in a union shop end up joining the union. (I've been told everything from, there didn't seem to be any reason to not join, to They told me they really liked my car over in parking space a35, and it would be a shame if anything happened to it.) So the largest impact seems to have been the ability for companies to start up and not have a union as their startup partner.

Also Paul, thanks for the wickpedia link to neocon. I can safely ignore whether it is a pejorative or not, as I don't see myself as fitting the description.