Protesters forget thinking cap stamina

COLORADO SPRINGS- Such an unfortunate characterization of the J&P.
Gazette reported 5/29/2008- WAR PROTESTERS BAIL EARLY
In the Gazette coverage of the Air Force Academy graduation, the paper featured this teaser on the front page: “War protesters bail early.” The article on page 8 began: “Air Force Academy cadets apparently are made of sterner stuff.” We can’t deny “while the cadets and their families sat through the early morning fog and drizzle, war protesters left rather than wait for the late-arriving President Bush,” but Springs activists rarely show anything but tenacity in making their point. Why would they leave early and give the media such a predictable pot shot? Do we chalk it up exclusively to our antagonistic local daily newspaper?

While it might be unfair to compare the brawn of military officers to that of septuagenarian activists, I fear this was a test of brains, and the space cadets came out on top.

The AFA had announced that President Bush was expected at 9am. His motorcade not having turned up by then prompted diverse deductions: he might have sneaked through another entrance, he might have choppered in, or he might have been called away to emergency affairs of state. Activists might also have become discouraged by the diminishing flow of cars into the event. A lack of passersby is the surest way to take the wind out of a protester’s banner. But the number of incoming having petered to nil would have been the giveaway to Bush’s impending arrival.

A presidential motorcade along an interstate has few escape routes, and so cannot begin before all vehicles have been cleared from its course. Escorts block all on-ramps over 30 minutes before to ensure the procession will encounter nothing to threaten its pace. That the AFA gates were advertised as open to attendees until 9:30am puts to lie the suggestion that Bush was expected by nine. The path would not have been unencumbered until the later time. Indeed police did not begin emptying the interstate until after nine. The motorcade sped into the North Gate by 9:45. Bush was not due to speak until eleven.

Did the protesters lose heart and/or heat? I think what the participants forfeited was thinking for themselves. Through the PPJPC, activists let the AFA relegate demonstrations to the minimally visible North Gate, and they let the AFA misinform them about Bush’s ETA. Compound this to the lukewarm organizing effort and contradictory announcements of the action plans. It’s hard to see how the J&P could have done worse if they’d tried. Low turnout, TV interviews of unprepared interviewees, and the rag-tag bunch ultimately offering the Gazette a pithy swipe at their capitulated spirit.

These are otherwise very determined activists. Usually their self-sacrifice does not include their very mission.

Here’s the full text:

AFA graduation notebook
May 28, 2008 – 5:15PM
By BILL REED and LANCE BENZEL
THE GAZETTE

Protesters miss late-arriving Bush

Air Force Academy cadets apparently are made of sterner stuff than anti-war protesters.

While the cadets and their families sat through the early morning fog and drizzle, anti-war protesters left rather than wait for a late-arriving President Bush.

By the time Bush, whose motorcade was behind schedule, passed through the North Gate, a solitary protester – carrying a sign reading, “War is not the answer” and flashing a peace symbol – was all that remained of a band of 20 people who planned to greet the president.

The rest cleared out amid slate-gray skies before the president pulled past the gate at 9:45 p.m., 45 minutes after his scheduled arrival.

South of the academy, five other protesters stood on a hillside overlooking Interstate 25 near the Fillmore exit and unfurled a cryptic message.

Their 50-foot long banner read, “Mene Mene Tekel Upharsin,” an Aramaic phrase meaning, “It has been counted and counted, weighed and divided.”

The biblical figure Daniel interpreted the so-called “writing on the wall” as a judgment against the king Belshazaar, determining that his acts had been weighed and found deficient and that his kingdom would be divided.

“We wanted to speak to him in a language he purports to listen to, which is the Bible,” said Eric Verlo. “It was a great location for the motorcade to see us.”

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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1 Response to Protesters forget thinking cap stamina

  1. Avatar brotherjonah says:

    I vote that it’s the antagonistic attitude of the GagZette. There’s people in my neighborhood who call the cops when they do that “free newspaper” promotion (every 2-3 months) and toss samples on peoples lawns.

    People say, justifiably, that it’s Littering. If i truly needed a dose of Right Wing Crap I would dig their paper out of somebody’s trash bin or something.

    You know, get it for free. And, i’ve discovered, it’s not like their “News” changes daily or weekly or even monthly.

    On the other hand, I’ve been googling Mene mene tekel upharsin (we’re not on the first three results pages YET…) and going to blogs that have used it and saying “hey, take a look at THIS”. One of them is in Nigeria of all places.

    Another one is an AIPAC site, haven’t posted to it yet, the maintainer is so far to the Right that he was using it to denounce George Bush for Treason… i’m thinkin’ , yeah right on… but then, the Treason turns out to be entering into negotiations that “conceded too much to Arab interests”

    People who don’t think Bush is far enough to the right kinda worry me…

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