Friday, September 5, 2008

Reactions to Protesters

Okay, I know I haven't written anything in two weeks or so. It isn't out of laziness this time; I just haven't had a lot to say. No new space tourism news has come out that I am aware of, and with the political conventions going on, I've sort of been in a politics overload and haven't really felt like writing about it. But that changed last night.

I watched (and actually, recorded) both of the dominant parties' presidential candidates' speeches. Last night, Code Pink protesters tried to interrupt McCain's speech several times. Did you notice the excessive amount of U-S-A U-S-A chants? It turns out that many of those were started by delegates trying to drown out protesters who were shouting and holding up signs with slogans such as "McCain Voted Against Vets" (true) and "You Can't Win An Occupation" (it's about time someone makes that point). One of the protesters finally succeeded enough to attract the news networks' cameras and cause a reaction by McCain himself, but she had to start stripping off her clothes to do it.

Code Pink is a group that was formed, mostly by women, to prevent Bush from starting a war with Iraq. These days, they are dedicated to ending it, and have also begun acting on several social issues (health care, for example). They specialize in getting behind the camera, both covertly (slowly standing up behind a speaking politician wearing a pink shirt with an anti-war slogan) and overtly (outright interrupting a speech such as the one last night).

The point I am bringing up here is not that there was a protester. There are protesters everywhere, dissenting against almost every conceivable opinion. What interested me was McCain's reaction: "My friends, don't be diverted by the ground noise and the static. Americans want us to stop yelling at each other, OK?" I found that more than a little patronizing. There are many ways he could have tactfully handled this, but he decided (granted, at the spur of the moment) to be disrespectful toward those with dissenting opinions.

The point I am trying to bring up here is that everything, everything about these political campaigns is scripted and rehearsed ad-nauseam. The only chance we have of potentially seeing these peoples' true personalities is at spur-of-the-moment reactions such as this. And there is a similar example of Obama's reaction when presented with a similar situation.

Early in August, Obama was giving a speech in Florida when a group of protesters used a rather Code-Pink-like tactic, raising a sign behind him and starting to shout while he was talking. The sign said, "What About the Black Community, Obama?" The crowd reacted with boos, and then chants of "Yes We Can" to try and drown them out. (Sound familiar?) At that point Obama turned around and saw the protesters, one of whom was still shouting. And what was his reaction? "Excuse me, young man, this is going to be a question-and-answer session, so you can ask a question later." and then "Sit down. You'll have a chance to ask your questions." This seems a bit patronizing as well, but at least Obama showed a willingness to listen, and later, he did allow the protester to ask a question. This, of course, wouldn't have been possible at McCain's speech last night, but at least McCain might have shown a little respect for dissenting opinions instead of dismissing them as 'static' and 'ground noise'. Dismissing dissenting opinions outright is what Bush does, and it's frankly troubling to me.

Oh, and if McCain wants to win, someone has got to tell him not to walk out to the podium like an old guy who has his pants hiked up to his nipples.

Just sayin'.

Progress: 4.03%  Flight Time: 0:06:05

No comments: