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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Protesting is fun

Last night U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton issued an injunction against the Arizona immigration law, SB 1070.

Despite the ruling, today's scheduled protest against the law was not called off. The marchers, eleven busloads of whom were driven in from Los Angeles, went ahead and had their protest anyway. Why cancel the party just because the reason for the party was canceled? The weather was nice, all their friends were there, and it's hard to beat that warm fuzzy feeling you get when waxing self-righteous.

So they marched from the state Capitol chanting "Hey ho, hey ho, SB 1070 has got to go." (The meter may have been a bit off, but at least it rhymed.)

They also stood outside the office of Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio chanting "Sheriff Joe, we are here, we will not live in fear." (True enough; when you really fear someone you generally don't hector him right outside his office.)

Traffic on Tucson's I-19 was disrupted when protesters threw tires, paint buckets, and glass onto the highway. (It is as yet unclear how many commuters were won over with this tactic.)

Let's face it, protesting is fun. It's fun the same way throwing snowballs at cars is fun. Or heckling a comedian. Or razzing a teacher. Or having a few beers and yelling for your favorite sports team. Or looting during a power outage. Or playing mailbox baseball. All of these things allow you to feel naughty and work out aggression at the same time.

And protesting is as gratifying as rebelling against your parents.

Most people outgrow this kind of thing after their teen years. But not everybody. The high derived from protesting can be habit-forming. You get swept up in the crowd's frenzy. You feel a certain strength in numbers, and an exultation in your collective power. You get to yell at the top of your lungs, which can be therapeutic in a primal scream sort of way. You get to hang out with like-minded people. And to top it all off you get to feel virtuous.

It certainly beats reading a book and actually trying to learn about whatever it is you're protesting.


Anonymous said...

You've made couple of humorous references speculating on the number of converts produced by vandalism and violent protest. Its funny because on the surface these actions would only make people angry at the destruction, and certainly not sway non-believers to the protester's point of view.

But that's not the point of violence and vandalism in protest. This behavior is a threat. Its a hint of where things could go if the protesters continue to be denied. Its a threat of greater unrest and to the well-being and safety of the law abiding masses.

If I remember correctly you've also referenced the generally leftist nature of protest - particularly the chanting, yelling, misbehaving, and on its edges vandalism and violence. Just recently we're seeing the advent of a right of center protest through the Tea Party. By all accounts I've read the Tea Party protests are calm, well behaved and respectful, and I can't remember any reported instances of vandalism or violence.

I have to wonder where its all going. Politically I see no hope for the Tea Party participants. Our political system is hopeless. We will likely see an influx of new Republicans into congress this fall. I suspect a large percentage of those new Republicans will disappoint the Tea Party. Look at Scott Brown. Most politicians will ultimately serve their own interests - which will boil down to the Republican version of big government vs. the Democrat version.

We are supposed to be a Constitutional Republic - protected from the mob rule of unfettered Democracy. But those protections don't work. The judiciary is totally politicized - as Obama's appointments of Sotamayor and Kagan exemplify. These appointments are anything but an attempt to defend and uphold the Constitution through law. We have unfettered democracy today, the Constitution is not able to protect us.

I wish the well behaved, respectful, law abiding Tea Party movement could save this country, but I don't believe it will happen.

- Ed

PS - One of my leftist friends defends leftist policy because he thinks its necessary to maintain stability and ward of unrest. I suspect that deep down a lot of people knuckle under to leftist policy for this reason.

John Craig said...

Ed --
Thank you for your comment, and also for remembering the earlier posts. You make a good point but the threat of further lawlessness. I suspect that white people I general are more willing to believe that of the Hispanics marching in Arizona than they are of their fellow whites, the kind who were protesting at the G20 meeting in Europe last year. Anyway, that is a threat, you're right. Ironically, however, a big part of the reason so many of the Arzonans don't want further illegal immigration is that they see exactly what lawlessness results in their communities. The crime statistics for the illegals are way higher than for the rest of the population. I read somewhere that 95% of all the murder warrants outstandng in Los Angeles County are for illegal aliens.

So.....essentially you're saying that the illegal aliens and a motley cohort of leftists are protesting and using the threat of further violence in order to pressure this country to let in more violent illegal aliens. (Please note that I am not saying that all immigrants, even illegal immigrants, are violent, only that they have a higher than average percentage of violent criminals among their ranks.)

It's a quandary, for sure.

The Tea Party protesters have been amazingly well-behaved considering the size of their gatherings, and despite the fervent wishes of the media to catch some of them misbehaving. I partially disagree with you there, however. I think they will have an effect on the elections this all, if only in that they will help the more conservative cadidates win. As far as candidates acting in their own self-interest, well, that has always been a problem and always will be, as long as human nature is the same. But the Republicans will also know the power of the Tea Party vote and will be forced take that into account when they make policy, witness McCain suddenly becoming a hard lineer on the immigration issue no that he is about to face the angry voters of Arizona.