You know Reg, the old white guy who writes for the Post-Gazette? No not, him. Not him either – that's the editor. And, no, Brian O'Neil is the liberal guy. The one who isn't old. No the liberal guy isn't that black guy. Well, yeah Tony is liberal, too, but never mind. I don't know why the women were all laid off. Just try to pay attention.
Yesterday, Reg Henry jumped the shark into “why don't we bring back Ruth Ann Dailey FT” territory?
Like most men of a certain era, Reg doesn't like a fuss. He prefers the quiet kind of “pull my finger, no really” liberal analysis as a form of democratic action. What he definitely doesn't like is the prospect of crossing Penn Avenue in the midst of a political protest. He might be late for his Starbucks. Or have to <gasp> read a handbill.
The G-20 has come to be regarded by some as a grand excuse for a riot, a jackass-a-rama, a Woodstock of ratbags. A decade ago, when Seattle hosted a World Trade Organization meeting, thousands of protesters turned out to cause trouble and the police overreacted. Recently, London had its own troubles with a meeting of the G-20.
Of course, these protests change nothing. They never have a chance of changing anything. How could they? They are all about the protest, not the result. While the demonstrators say they are seeking to protest (you name it) globalization, climate change, environmental ruin or economic recession, street theater is really about disaffected people acting out at everyone else's expense.
Or so I reckon by the evidence of my own eyes. Little kids scream and stamp their feet. Some of them grow up and scream, stamp their feet and throw something at any convenient symbol of authority. If you were a world leader, would you be influenced by jackasses indulging their revolutionary fantasies? Me neither.
Huh. I guess suffrage, the bus boycotts, Stonewall … all a sham. Nothing changed. Someone better inform the 5,000 homosexuals descending on Downtown this weekend to celebrate 40 years of nothing. Oh, except without Stonewall, 5,000 homosexuals wouldn't be doing anything. Together. Right?
You may have gathered that I am not much for street demonstrations. You may be surprised by this, given my reputation as a liberal. However, I do recognize that the Constitution's First Amendment establishes “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
So peaceably assemble already. Petition away with my blessing. Just don't make the average Pittsburgher's life miserable because you can't make your point successfully at the ballot box. The moment you stop being peaceable is the moment you lose me and the crowd.
Your reputation is a bit misguided at best, dear Reg. Armchair moderate is a bit more apt.
By peaceful, you mean don't block traffic. Don't distribute literature that yinzer's throw on the ground because they can't be bothered with pesky world issues (see recycling post below). Don't interfere with day to day life. Most of all, please don't make us think about the connection between our Wal-Mart Penguin jersey purchases and that kid in Bangladesh. Or the woman in Florida.
Reg makes an artful aside to the havoc and mayhem the yinzers bring to town with any athletic event. They block traffic (remember when Luke has his parade for winning the Superbowl?). They toss around plastic doo dads. They commit acts of violence (burning couches is probably the least of them). They drive under the influence. They waste police resources (and then complain for being manhandled).
I don't see “right to serve alcohol to stupid people” embodied in the Constitution, but no one proposes shutting down Carson Street bars to keep order. No one sets up a “free yinzer” zone to make it safe for me to venture out of my house Friday night.
Why not? Oh, that's right, there's no thinking involved. Who cares? We are the champions of something, anything. We've got Mama's borscht so everything is all right.
But why bother? Protests never change anything. So can I really expect blogging to change rambling columns from the old white male liberal establishment? Hmmmmmm