Monday, July 12, 2004

I received a call for action recently from United For Peace and Justice. They have been planning a massive protest in New York City during the RNC convention for over a year now and are having considerable difficulty with the city officials. This protest is supported by many groups and promises to be a truly massive showing. I am sending this link along for your information, but also to raise some questions.

First, I must admit I adore protests. It makes my heart sing to see citizens in the street putting their physical presence where their thoughts are. You don't actually get to see many of these on commercial TV. Worldlink channel on satellite TV showed quite a bit of footage of the war protests around the world and also the WTO protests and even some of the protests that surrounded the Bush inauguration parade. Regarding the parade protest, I heard from friends a lot of juicy details that were not on the news, but the best and most moving footage was that shown by Michael Moore in "Fahrenheit 911". In short, I love to see the protests, but it is hard to find good coverage on the news. If they are not well covered by the media, does this in part defeat the purpose of the protest? Also, given that the administration is now hyping the threat level and it is said security at both conventions will be at an all time high, I fear that the push-back against the protestors by the authorities could be draconian.

That said, a final question I would like to raise is this: are protests always a good idea? This question was put to me recently by a friend who felt that the Kerry/Edwards ticket was gaining such momentum and the Bush regime was doing such a great job of "deep-sixing" itself that an RNC convention protest at this time, particularly a very vigorous one that could appear violent, might be counterproductive in giving the RNC more grist for its mill and driving away potential swing voters. Should the Democrats concentrate on being the "good guys", those of sanity and high moral purpose, or should we just let it all hang out and allow everyone to have their outraged "say"? Should strategy count here? How much does perception count as opposed to reality? I'm still chewing over this one and would appreciate opinions from commentators to the blog. Thanks, Jeannette Ward


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