Thursday, January 20, 2011

When Does Protest Become Intimidation?

Does putting a happy face on a call to protest make it okay? I'm wondering.

It is no secret that Walmart is not the most popular retail outlet around. Personally I don't think it's presence does as much damage to local businesses as it's detractors would like us to believe. That, however, is not to be argued today.

What is, concerns the tactics  of those who  oppose them. The current flap is one in Washington, D.C.  I found it interesting that the web site for this opposition has a rap song decrying Walmart. Perhaps that's appropriate for Washington D.C.   I just don't particularly like the connotation.

More than that, it's asking protesters to congregate at the home of the developer. This is where I fear a perfectly legal protest and expression of free speech may cross the line to intimidation. One's home is usually considered sacrosanct. At least it should be.

To have hoards of angry people invade your neighborhood to protest strikes me as intimidation. Not only for the developer in this case, but also, maybe even more so, his neighbors. There can always be unexpected consequences of large, uncontrolled, angry people gathering.

That the organizers have some awareness of this would seem obvious with the placement of the smiley face in their flier's target. A recognition of last week's events in Tucson. Yet it remains on the web inviting anyone who would like to copy and distribute it.

Behavior does not change over night, but I wish ours would get a move on. We've become so confrontational, aggressive and self righteous, it's no wonder the rest of the world sees us as a severely wounded nation. It has become so invasive one wonders where we'll find the leadership capable of extracting us from what we've done to ourselves. Or have allowed to be done.

I hope the police are aware of this protest. I hope they'll be a silent presence to make sure the letter of the law is obeyed. If it is not I hope there are real consequences.

That's what's happening to us you know. Consequences of a too permissive society. Perhaps a collective trip to the woodshed is what we need, because we're still not getting it.

1 comment:

Margie's Musings said...

I think all this public anger, etc. started with the Clinton administration. Before that, of course, it was the Vietnam War.