There’s a story in The Wizards of Armaageddon about how people used to protest the building of Nuclear Weapons at the Lawrence Livermore Lab in Northern California. The protestors would line up, single file, at the end of the military base, and take a single step forward onto the test field, where a very polite police officer would arrest them for criminal trespass, read them their rights, and put them in a waiting van. This would happen over and over and over the day of various nuclear tests.
It was polite. Civilized, even.
No such joy today, in DC, when people on stilts in giant Uncle Sam suits coated with dollar bills, or oil, will stop traffic, render a couple of parks unusable, and attempt to “shut down” places like the IRS. They come from their homes all over the nation to the Capital to exercise their right to petition the government for redress of grievances.
But, instead of being polite, like those at Livermore, they’re angry, and they’re out to get the government that they feel is out to get them. Is that my fault? No. Why are you punishing me by destroying my commute or making my life more difficult? I don’t like the war any more than you do, but that doesn’t mean I need to get all drastic and mess up the lives of ordinary people, doing ordinary jobs.
Some protests, like the one described here are a lot more clever than the movement to “shut the IRS down for funding the war,” and I welcome its non-disruptive creativity. Sadly, they’re not the standard around here.
You want protest? Protest at your congressman’s office. Protest at your senator’s office. Protest at the Capitol. Protest at the White House.
Leave the rest of the city to those of us who live here.
This post appeared in its original form at DC Metblogs