What I Learned From the Protesters

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.

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12 thoughts on “What I Learned From the Protesters

  1. Those protesters would probably derive a great deal of satisfaction to learn that, because of their efforts, the budget for the wars was cut to $159 billion. Maybe they could declare victory and go home?

  2. Actually, that number changes from year to year, depending on how much we think it will cost. We are planning for it to be lower int he next few years, and naturally, politicians are busy trying to spend the “savings.”

  3. The Einstein quote–and I don’t know if it’s real or not–bothers me. It’s not as if (Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, France, Poland, USSR, China, USA, Phillipines, etc., prior to WWII) there are no examples of what happens when nations aren’t ready to wage a war. And it’s not like there are no examples of nations spared when they are ready for war (e.g. Switzerland since 1650 or so).

    The only thing I can say in Einstein’s defense is that it’s hard to simultaneously mobilize for war while preventing it, but even that is a stretch.

  4. Einstein was of course a brilliant physicist. OTOH, he couldn’t comb his hair properly. When it came to understanding life, he about as smart as the average Joe. I don’t know if the quote was from before or after World War II.

    After reading Churchill’s 6-volume account of World War II, I think that if Norway was just a bit more prepared for war, the blitzkrieg might not have worked against them, because British naval aid might have arrived in time.

    The Russians were actually making arms shipments to Germany on the day that Germany invaded them. Had they been just a bit more prepared, the Germans would not have gotten as far, and the war might have ended a lot sooner.

  5. I know this is a relatively minor aspect of the whole thing, but I’m just really hung up on the shoe thing. You bought those shoes on sale, at Kohl’s, with Kohl’s cash, and they’re “engineer shoes” not “banker shoes.” If you were like your friend the bank brokerage department manager, your career would be in serious jeopardy if you showed up to a new client meeting in shoes like that — but you’re not. You just need something that looks moderately professional with dress pants and can take some plant-floor pounding.

    The guy is so clueless he seems to think he can judge people’s social standing by their shoes, and he doesn’t even know he’s looking at inexpensive white collar comfort shoes, not fancy elite dress shoes.

  6. What’s even more fun about the shoes thing is that if I know the hipsters protesting,their shoes cost more than our gracious host’s as well. They just look like they came from Goodwill. So ironically, they’re paying $100+ for shoes, and don’t even have a good enough eye to discern $50 shoes from shoes that cost $300 and up.

  7. You guys are completely idiotic. The protesters simply want America to stop spending 17% of its Annual Federal Income on supporting the military industrial complex. Idiots like you probably get paid by Raytheon, Boeing, NG and others big time to play up and support the Military Industrial Complex. Sure make fun of the “liberals” for wanting to spend more money on developing the infrastructure in 3rd world countries, on developing vaccines for horrible ailments, and giving food aid to North Korea.
    You guys just don’t get it do you? A litle less Fox and a little more MSNBC would help you.

  8. Alex; keep in mind that government subsidies go to those powerful enough to advocate for them. In the case of foreign aid, read “tin pot dictators.”

    Thanks for your vote in support of tyranny!

    You want to talk about liberty? Let’s talk about thanking the Marines instead of the Peace Corps.

    (and, for the record, a large portion of my income IS due to my company’s sales, directly or indirectly, to the DOD)

  9. Bubba, be careful feeding the trolls. They bite.
    I am thrilled to know how Alex thinks (did I put his name and that verb together? How silly) I get paid. I wonder if he knows what percentage of the US. government budget went to defense under President Kennedy?

  10. Alex, I deleted your last post for bad language. You may resubmit it if you like, but first you need to edit it. When you do this, please imagine that my blog is my living room, and my children are within earshot. Then imagine yourself in this room with the people who have commented on my post. We are sharing coffee, or beer, or whatever, and my daughters are in the kitchen cooking up some sort of snack.
    If you write as if you are in that setting, we will get along just fine.

  11. Pingback: Why Americans Can’t Win in Syria (And Shouldn’t Try) | Books, Toys, and Games

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