When I caught the Post-Gazette's latest attempt to generate G-20 buzz, I almost choked on my coffee. Leaders for whom I hold a great deal of respect sound like hysterical school-girls who missed the activity bus.
We have an opportunity for public dialogue around our region's role in significant global issues and we end up with a ban on PVC pipes as a public safety measure? What if there's a plumbing/contracting emergency? Will they use duct tape? My God.
What's next? Banning women wearing pink hats? Or eggs? Why can't the LAW be enough? This isn't an episode of Jericho.
Please keep things in perspective. Downtown is being shut down because of the G-20 Summit, not the handful of anarchists coming to town. I will be driving through Overbrook on my way from the Northside to Oakland because of the Summit detours. Not the anarchists. You will miss your Saturday morning trip to the Strip because of the Summit. Not the anarchists. The ambassadors, presidents, chief cooks and bottle washers. Not the anarchists.
If you give the anarchists the power to shut down Pittsburgh, they certainly have won quite a victory.
Do you know what the G-20 is and why people are protesting it? I'm going to spend some time trying to find those answers.
The G-20 (more formally, the Group of Twenty Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors) is a group of finance ministers and central bank governors from 20 economies: 19 of the world's largest national economies, plus the European Union (EU). It also met twice at heads-of-government level, in November 2008 and again in April 2009. Collectively, the G-20 economies comprise 85% of global gross national product, 80% of world trade (including EU intra-trade) and two-thirds of the world population.
The G-20 is a forum for cooperation and consultation on matters pertaining to the international financial system. It studies, reviews, and promotes discussion among key industrial and emerging market countries of policy issues pertaining to the promotion of international financial stability, and seeks to address issues that go beyond the responsibilities of any one organization.
It doesn't take a lot of imagination to think of a few things people might want to protest related to world economies. It wasn't a few months ago that local non-profit groups were duped (along with the media and the County) into supporting the dumping of e-waste in foreign lands. Oh, and don't forget that they dumped in Homewood, too. Hmmm. I wonder if there is any connection between the disregard for the people living in Homewood and the people living in the two-thirds world?
My point is that policy issues sometimes come home to roost. Maybe some of the folks who care passionately enough about this issue to join themselves together with PVC pipes and handcuffs, knowing they will end up in jail anyway, are on to something folks. Maybe they see something, feel something about what should be our connection to people around the world. Or in Homewood.