Calliope sent around the MoveOn.org missive rallying people to demonstrate against Republican tactics to stack and/or thwart the judiciary. I decided to go because (1) as a lawyer, I feel particularly passionate about the, well, sanctity of an independent judiciary; (2) as a citizen, I have this old-fashioned idea that demonstrations - however inert their effect - are important in a democracy; and (3) Calliope would know if I didn't show up. And she wouldn't approve.
Well, a smattering of folks showed up in the chilly drizzle of the drab protest grounds at West Town Mall (Kingston Pike and Morrell Road), about as many as I would have expected on a weekday after work. Local news agencies had been advised, and, to my knowledge, never showed up. Which is not, of course, the least bit surprising. Maybe if somebody there had been a registered sex offender or was a witness in an upcoming murder trial, we could have coaxed out the media. But nothing that newsworthy was going on.
So some goober from Mall Security, bless his heart, came down to tell people to stay off the grass, which was Mall grass. Other security guys kept an eye on the crowd, which included schoolteachers, housewives, children, an "ex-witch for Jesus," her Great Dane, and other dangerous subversive types. Pretty soon, a Mall Security van went creeping along the parking lot up the hill with a by-gosh G-man Crown Vic following, its passenger jotting down all the license plate numbers of the automobiles.
Meanwhile, the beleaguered masses whipped by in their cars, trucks, SUVs, etc., glazed-eyed in that in-transit trance that overtakes motorists driving home after work. Some noticed us; some didn't. Those who noticed mainly seemed to be wondering what the hell we were doing or protesting. The signs - "No Nukes for Courts," "Save Our Courts," and "Pist at Frist" - didn't make much sense if you had no concept of the balance of power (a basic Civics-level concept), let alone if you lacked any idea of how that balance was being tilted. Then you'd have to get into a lot of, like, political, Constitutional, and historical stuff they don't talk about on MTV, E!, or, uh, Fox.
Exactly five of the several hundred cars that passed while I stood my hour-long sentry seemed to appreciate our message. We got a couple of thumbs-up, some friendly toots, and a cheer from a granola looking couple in a Prius wagon.
And, of course, jeers, sour horns, and thumbs-down from assorted other vehicles, mainly large, mainly white (what is it with rednecks and white cars? For that matter, why are all rednecks large and white?).
But what bothered me was the woman who, while stopped at the intersection, asked us why we were demonstrating. When somebody tried to explain, she replied that she knew that why, but why bother? What good would it do? And she kind of sneered, like, you idiots.
Bitch! What is her problem? What is it with people? Are we so jaded and complacent, so shiftless and uninspired, so defeated by greed and arrogance and the shallow, venal, degraded state of our democracy, that we'll tell a handful of pitiful picketers, hanging on to their last line of optimism as feebly as they hold their thin posters against a spitting sky, to just give up and go home?
We liberals talk about hate like we never own it. Well, I hate people who think like that indolent, feckless woman, and their fat, hard-farting husbands in their bawl-caps and dee-luxe cab Ford F-550s that I hope they end up having to take a second mortgage out on their plastic-and-rubber pasture palaces to gas up for the ride to see Johnny and Gigi off to Iran because they got drafted because they couldn't graduate because they couldn't pass their fucking civics test.