“Me thinks they doth protest too much…”

May 2, 2007 at 1:12 am (Cussed Dumbers)

Ah, May Day. Gotta love it.

The Bush administration, dating back to Bush the 1st, refers to Portland as Little Beirut. We’re always ‘mad as hell, and not gonna take it any more’. It seems there are always a few window smashers, someone dumb enough to resist arrest, usually when a TV camera is watching. Seems I’m always downtown when these things happen, but fortunately have never been arrested, beaten or maced.

But then, I’m not protesting much. I like my life, and karma has treated me well. I understand some folks do not have it as good as I, and I applaud them for trying to change their situation.

A favor, though? Know what you are protesting.

I was working for a nationally known corporate chain of convenience stores when the WTO protests happened, around the turn of the century. (This one, not the last one. I ain’t that old…) I asked some kids, who were on their way to smash some stuff, what they were protesting. “Corporate America, man! I’ll have a Slurpee and a Big Bite.”

I had to ask, “Nice shoes. Are those Air Jordans?”

“Nah, dude. These are the ones Eminem wears.”

“Cool. So you’re protesting the WTO, eh? Just curious, what has Walkman Turner Overdrive ever done to you?”

The kid, with his dyed-black hair and goth fingernails, replied, “Oh, you know. They keep the working man down.”

After getting directions to Starbucks, where they were off to smash windows, supposedly, they took their corporate grub and wandered off with their blingin’ Nikes and droopy drawers. Later on the news, I saw these guys breaking windows with their skateboards.

Damn that Walkman Turner Overdrive, anyway.

Tonight, people were a little more informed. Mostly. When I asked if she was going to march, a young caucasian woman, buying a twelve pack of Coronas, responded, “Damn right I’ll protest immigration!”

She was serious.

I did have to snicker when I saw the anarchists. They are the ones who cause most of the problems, usually at the end of the protests. The anarchists would work their way up next to families, or the occasional effeminate bunch. Pretty badass, hiding behind masks, women and children. For every potential troublemaker, there were about five bicycle cops.

According to the news, there were just two arrests. No ass-whuppin’s or macings. Just a group, albeit a very large group, of a vocal minority obeying the rules of ‘the man’. They followed protocols, and their voice was heard. Afterward, the streets cleared, the families went back to the ‘burbs, and things were quiet.

A few more protests like this, and maybe the so-called normal people will stick around, to discuss, listen, and maybe even move toward change.

Hey, it could happen…


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