Predictably, the idiocy of the protestors who presented themselves was rivalled only by the disproportionate media coverage given same idiots.
Now, I want to go on the record as saying that protest is not only a vital and worthwhile element in a democratic society, it is an absolute necessity. Man's rebellious nature, and his inherant disinclination to be ruled, has lead to some of the greatest societal advances in our collective history. I truly believe the words of Oscar Wilde when he said:
Disobedience, in the eyes of anyone who has read history, is man’s original
virtue. It is through disobedience that progress had been made, through
disobedience and through rebellion.
That being said... these protestors are NOT the type who will be responsible for some of those great advances.
For starters, many of them aren't truly protesting anything in particular. The reality is, they're there because they hate George Bush. Or, at least, that's why they THINK they're there... in truth, they're brought there by one thing, and one thing only: Ego.
They WANT to be photographed, and interviewed by the media, and shown on televisions across the country being dragged away by police after a riot. In their sweat-soaked fantasies, it's what they dream about. They truly believe the police are there to stop them from proselytizing the "truth". Them. SPECIFICALLY them. They suffer from an inherant egocentrism... everything revolves around me, and my cause. The police have my picture, they're being sent on direct orders from Stephen Harper to silence ME, because I am a huge threat to his dictatorial rule.
Almost as humourous is their insistence that all violence during protests is the fault of the "draconian" right-wing rulers of the country in question... either George Bush ordered the police to open fire, or someone who wants desperately to BE George Bush did so. Liberal governments would never trample on my rights like this... it's just those bloody neo-con neanderthals. How quickly they forget that lefties from Jean Chretien to Fidel Castro have been in power during similar "squashes" of protestors. Hell, Chretien didn't just let the RCMP pepper-spray protestors, he eventually decided to start beating them up himself.
Let's be honest here, protestor: You're doing yourself, and your cause, more harm than good by acting like an idiot. Throwing a rock at a police officer while you call him "pig" isn't going to end well. For you, or for your cause. Normal citizens don't sit in their living room watching the 6 o'clock news and say "Gee, William, I hadn't really thought of it before... but that young man who just spat in the policeman's face really changed my mind about going carbon neutral".
Protest is good and natural and right. It is a fundamentally requisite force in our civilization. But your right to protest begins and ends with your right to free speech, and your right to assembly. You do NOT have the right to storm the hotel where the Prime Minister is staying, to make your point to him in person. You do NOT have the right to attack police. And when you do, you prove what many of us suspect: You're not ticked off about the environment, or free trade, or Bush's foreign policy. You're just angry, and desperate for attention. You'd be protesting if Stephane Dion was Prime Minister, and Hillary was President. You'd be protesting is CELINE Dion was Prime Minister. And I'd be right there with you.
But the second you raised your hand to strike a cop, I'd knock you on your self-important ass. Because the cops in that line are sworn to put their lives on the line to protect your right to PEACEFUL protest. Martin Luther King never slugged a cop in his blessed life. His cause was more just than yours can ever hope to be.
You're not being supressed because Steve Harper wants to be George Bush's friend. You're not being supressed by the U.S. Government any more than you're being supressed by the Illuminati. You're being supressed by your own inability to get your message across in a non-violent way. The only thing holding you down is your lack of imagination and creativity. Fund-raise, and buy advertising time. Get Al Gore on your side. Do a documentary on a rented video camera. Throw a toonie into the Speaker's Corner machine. E-mail a letter to the editor. Write David Suzuki. Do what you have to do to bring attention to your issue.
But remember: If you can't make your point without violence, it probably wasn't worth making in the first place. Trying to provoke police doesn't make you a hero, it makes you the father of a mob. Every person who gets hurt as a result isn't blood on the hands of police, or of Harper, or of Karl Rove or the Jewish Banking Conspiracy or the N.S.A. or the military-industrial complex: It's blood on YOUR hands. And what it says to the world is "my issue isn't what it says on my placard - I'm just angry because nobody thinks I'm important - pay attention to me".
That's adolescent petulance. And if you act like one, you'll be treated like one.
Now go to your room.