maarmie's musings

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Here a Republican, There a Republican...

Cables, Brooklyn Bridge - photo/maarmie

Republicans: They're sneaky, and they're good. And now, they're the ones in charge.

The biggest error one can ever make is underestimating one's enemy, and Democrats have long underestimated their nemesis at their own peril. While a Republican may seem to be little more than an unthreatening slow talker who doesn't know the difference between his or her head and a hard, dry turd, don't let appearances be deceiving. Behind that dumber-than-a-sack-of-rocks exterior beats the heart of a pack of rabid wolves.

At best, Republicans are selfish and exclusionary. At worst, they are as informed as they are intelligent, and they rely on the bible as a mandate for how others (read liberals) should live their lives. Oh, did I forget to mention they're hypocrites? Not all; just most. They rarely practice what they preach, it seems, and the basic tenets of the religion they all Baaaaaah over like sheep are ignored out of their own loathsome self interest.

Considering my obvious disdain for all things Republican (don't get me wrong, Democrats are no better), I thought it fitting to journey to New York City this past August/September to protest the Republican National Convention. When I got back from my foray into activism, my boss fired me. I can't help but think my termination had at least something to do with my trip (one he sanctioned after he accused me of somehow making money off my adventure while taking money out of the pocket of the company!). But what the fuck. I had a great fucking time while a great fucking time was to be had.

Desperately wanting to go protest in NY but not wanting to go alone, a local activist friend of mine put out his feelers and found three others from this city who had already made plans to go and had booked hotel rooms far enough in advance to get lodging across the street from Madison Square Garden. I met up with two of them a few days before the trip and have since forged a great friendship with one of the two, a stay-at-home dad named Michael who put his wife through medical school and who thought enough of his 15-year-old daughter and what a great experience it would be for her to bring her along. Though they were strangers when we started the trip, they all now occupy special places in my heart.


The day we flew into Newark was fabulous, and we troublemakers were ready to obnoxiously comb the city. After we got to the hotel and put our stuff in our rooms, we put on our protest gear and hit the streets. Throughout the entire four days, Michael wore a bright yellow tarp that, on both sides, read "Fascists repent." This slogan caught on quickly, and we saw signs popping up all over town that demanded the same. I won't say that Michael - a long-haired, sandal-wearing hippie type - didn't more than slightly resemble one of those drooling homeless guys you see roaming the streets of New York with a crazed look in their eyes and conversations for one. But he certainly grabbed lots of attention, including the notice of the Jay Leno Show just three hours after we arrived.

Some goombah from The Sopranos and that gay intern freak were standing on the street behind Madison Square Garden looking for unsuspecting protestors to make fools of for that night's show. We walked by and were almost a block away when I heard, "Hey, get that fascists repent guy. Get that fascists repent guy." One of the camera guys ran up to us and asked Michael to be on the show. That was the last thing Michael wanted, he said, but 30 seconds of peer pressure was all it took for him to sign the release form.

The two tried their hardest to make Michael trip up, to inflame his emotions, to make him look a fool. They even pulled two delegates walking by into the mix in an attempt to come away with something televisionworthy. Their attempts failed. Michael was articulate and kept his cool. Needless to say, the footage likely never made it to the small screen.

Rallies and protests

I hadn't been to NYC for a little more than a year, but I stuck to my purpose for being there and didn't wander off to any of my favorite museums, galleries or clubs while I was there. Except for a matinee viewing of "Avenue Q" and a few meals at some of my favorite restaurants in the city, my cohorts and I were diligent in our quest - our quest to protest. This meant that we had to be on our feet for about 16 hours a day while we attended protest after protest and rally after rally. Coincidentally, however, the rallys and protests were held throughout Manhattan, so we had a chance to see a lot of the city in the process.

- more to come -

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