I’ve never been to a protest. I’ve never felt the urge to protest something in public. Of course I have political opinions, and I’m not shy about expressing them (to my wife’s chagrin) at parties, in the elevator, on the bus or in one of my many discussions with the homeless vagabonds that infest the Norfolk and Portsmouth area. I protest many things, privately and semi-publicly.
But the idea that I could take time off from work to mill about, wave a placard and shout prepared slogans has never appealed to me. In addition to that, I doubt that protesting has much of an effect on the intended target. Witness the idiocy of Code Pink during the Bush years, and the Tea Party protests that have fallen on the deaf ears of Congress.
No, it would be entirely too optimistic of me to believe that the expression of my discontent, even added to that of thousands, would make a ripple in the stagnant swamp of Washington.
Upon reflection, though, my primary concern is not that my voice will go unheard. It’s that I might one day resemble this thing:
Look at the gaping maw on that ghoul. Judging from this picture, this woman was so mad about the oil spill she dug herself out of her grave to send the CEO of BP into her personal hell of screaming madness. If this woman is not dead, then good Lord get her to the hospital! She could be contagious, people.
The look on that harpy’s face is the near total absence of reason. It is a human being given over almost completely to animal passion, and not the fun kind of animal passion. It’s the “tear out your throat with my teeth” kind of animal passion.
In a good world, we could disagree civilly, debate the merits of ideas and agree on a course of action that is least objectionable. Nobody would take it personally if they lost out; they’d resolve to better defend their ideas or abandon them as unworkable. But today, it is not only allowable but expected that you make your views known in the basest manner possible. If your political ideas should never have survived that freshman year of college, what matter? You’ve got to be you, don’t you?
Even if the “you” we see is a baneful, withered husk that frightens small children.