As I was driving by the library, I saw about 25 anti-war protesters in front of Rep. Mike Kelly’s office. They had the usual variety of anti-war signs, and they were protesting a possible war with Iran. Being the inquisitive person that I am, I decided to stop and ask them about their protest. Besides, I thought something may have happened while I was at work.
The first protester had a quote from Albert Einstein on her sign that said “You cannot simultaneously prevent and prepare for war.” I asked her if something had happened recently that triggered the protest. She said that Rep. Mike Kelly had not said anything particularly notable, but that he was in favor of taking a hard line against Iran. However, some in the Obama administration felt the same way, so Rep. Kelly was not a particular target of their protest. Also, one of the protesters mentioned that Friday afternoon was a good day for a protest, because the Bayfront Parkway was busy at that time and more people would see them. But there was no particular reason to have the protest on that day or in that place.
Another protester had a sign that said “Stop Lying About Iran.” I asked this female protester what the particular lies were that people were spreading. Her response was that people were lying about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. First of all, she assured me, he was not at all interested in developing nuclear weapons. Iran is regularly inspected for weapons and she is sure that they are only using nuclear material for peaceful uses. Secondly, she told me that Ahmadinejad never said anything about wiping out the Jews. Apparently his words were being misinterpreted and he doesn’t really hate Jews. In fact, she told me, the Jews in Iran are so well treated that they don’t want to leave.
I asked her if she knew what they do to homosexuals in Iran. She had no idea that they kill homosexuals there. I also asked her if she knew what they did to Christians and other religious minorities. Again, she had no idea what is going on inside the country. She probably had no idea what their religious police do to woman like her who do not cover enough of their bodies.
At about this time, one of the protesters got out her camera and started taping me. If I see me on YouTube, I might post the link. Or not, depending on what they do to me.
The next protester had a sign that said “How Is The War Economy Working Out For You?” I asked this protester how much he believed we were spending each year on wars. He said, “Trillions.” Another nearby protester or two agreed with him, and one of them said, “F#%$-ing Trillions.” I was scribbling a few notes, so he asked me to write that down. I then asked what the size of the US budget was for the year, and none of them had any idea, except that they were sure that money for health care and teachers was being cut.
[For those who like numbers, the real numbers are that President Obama requested $712 billion for all military activity last year, of which $159 billion was for "overseas contingency operations" like Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a lot, but it is not anywhere near trillions. The total projected federal spending for 2011 was $3.708 trillion. And we have almost never actually cut spending, ever, at the federal level.]
At this point, Corbin Fowler made the comment that I was not a disinterested person. I never claimed to be anything but curious about what they believed. He also made some comment about my shoes, and something about Pat Boone, who I just learned is still alive. Apparently there is something about wearing $50.00 black leather shoes from Kohl’s that caused me to remind him of Pat Boone, or makes me a member of the 1%, or something. If you didn’t understand that last sentence, it is because his words made no sense to me either. If anyone wants to explain his reasoning to me, I’m all ears.
At this point, I was about 1/2 of the way through the line. Next I passed the woman dressed up as Mike Kelly. I didn’t bother to ask about the “Make Love, Not War” sign. His sentiment was clear, even if it wrongly assumed that the two activities are mutually exclusive. Pharaoh would disagree, as he regarded fruitful lovemaking as an act of war, against him, that needed to be suppressed.
So what did I learn from the protesters? I learned that these particular protesters were rather clueless.