Monday, September 17, 2007

"We love freedom, how 'bout you?!"

Conservatives don't quite have a knack for protest marches, like the left does.

On Saturday, I joined a group of around twenty conservative bloggers and activists at a counterdemonstration to the Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) anti-war protest march. Most estimates put the WAMM crowd at approximately 1500, which sounds about right to me. The marchers started at the Saint Paul Cathedral, then took a hard right turn (how apropos) onto Kellogg Avenue to the Xcel Energy Center, site of the 2008 Republican National Convention, and then doubled back to the State Capitol.

As in a football game in which the final score doesn't tell the full story, you can't judge the success or failure of this event by the lopsided turnout. I spoke with one WAMM marcher who was disappointed by the turnout on her side.

Both sides looked at Saturday's event at least in part as a practice run for next year's Republican National Convention, at which the left is gearing up to stage a major protest action — which some fear could turn violent. Conservative bloggers are referring to this group of protesters as "anarkids," a combination of "anarchy" and their ostensible twenty-something average age.

A pair of anti-war bicyclists challenge the conservative counterprotest at Saturday's WAMM march

But Saturday's event was for the most part peaceful. There were the two female bicyclists who had a pointed conversation with one of our group (see photo), the trio of military veterans against the war who were respectfully but firmly challenged by Navy vet Swiftee, and the tall, slim ranting guy with a shaved head whose verbal attack on Leo nearly drew an intervention from a mounted patrol of Saint Paul's finest. Then were the two women dressed from head to toe in red feathers.

The WAMM pre-march rally featured several speakers and the obilgatory series of rhyming chants ("No War For Oil," etc.). Rainbow gay pride kites and banners flew high, which was an ironic scene at a Catholic cathedral.

We were encouraged before the march began by the many motorists who honked, clapped, and waved at us as they drove by. The left definitely has the organizations, the coalitions, and the individuals who seem to be energized by the street theater of political protest en masse. The right is much more into working the political process by lobbying, campaigning, and writing. This day reminded me of the demonstrations outside the gubernatorial debate at the Fitzgerald Theatre last fall: a bunch of activists shouting at each other. Maybe next time I'll just wander around with my video camera like Eva Young did, in search of some interesting interviews. If I get around to it, I'll upload my video of the march itself for your viewing pleasure.

True North, the new conservative collaborative blog that sponsored the counterdemonstration, has aggregated much more coverage of the event. Don't miss the brief video of Swiftee sweetly taunting the marchers with "Bin Laden thanks you!"


lloydletta said...

Swiftee's actions in that march were part of the reason Flash wanted nothing to do with it. He didn't want to be associated with that sort of nonsense that disagrees while putting all sorts of inaccurate motivations on those with whom one disagrees.

It was Avidor who had the video camera - and I was doing some of the interviews. Avidor and I have been working as a team like that for quite a while.

MNObserver said...

Why do you say it's ironic that there were rainbow kites at the Saint Paul Cathedral? This sacred and historic structure has, if you recall, been vandalized by anti-gay groups.

Scholar said...


I found it ironic given The Vatican's position on homosexuality.

Matt Abe