25 Feb Stop Being Ironically Stupid
Thus far this blog has simply been a lighthearted and often crude look into what it is we do over at Chicago Prohibition Tours. We talk about drinking or about meeting people in the service industry and try to stay above the fray of current events. However, and make no mistake about this, we are a group that focuses on an era rife with social injustice based on the religious fervor of a few. We champion people everywhere that fought against a ridiculous law and did everything in their power, both legally and illegally to destroy it.
It is with that understanding that I would like to talk about the recent protests taking place all over the US. Before you dismiss this out of hand do me a favor. Shut the fuck up. Put your misplaced and often misinformed notions aside and listen for a second. I WILL NOT take sides in the events either in Ferguson or in New York. In fact this blog will have nothing to do with the specific facts in either of those cases. Do I have my own uniformed thoughts on these things? Of course I do! I’m an American. This, I feel is not the appropriate forum. I simply wish to talk about protesting in general.
If there is one thing that I simply do not and may never understand with all of this it is the level of vitriol being expressed everywhere toward protesters. I’m not talking about the violent riots that have occurred nor the looting and destruction within them. I’m talking about the largely nonviolent protests I’ve seen like the ones in my beloved Chicago. For those of you so angry with these protesters I have only one question. What are you so damn angry about? More importantly do you not see the inherent irony in being so?
The United States of America was founded on civil unrest. One of the first things that we did as a people was to throw a bunch of tea into a harbor with the express intent of telling England to go fuck itself. Protesting is in our blood and occasionally violently so. Do not misunderstand me. I am in no way advocating for violence here. I firmly believe in peaceful demonstration and for the most part, that’s what I’ve seen. So they shut down the highway and you were late to work. You didn’t want to be there anyway. More importantly you now have a giftwrapped verifiable excuse for your boss. Put on some Enya lean back and calm the fuck down. Oh they impeded your entry into Water Tower Place to do your overpriced shopping? Seriously, shut up. You can go tomorrow.
Just because you don’t believe that there is an imbalance in justice in America or don’t understand why people do believe that, doesn’t make it untrue. It certainly doesn’t give you the right to tell someone that they can’t peacefully assemble to question these things. I find that this weird thing has happened in America where protesting is only okay as long as it fits in with your personal beliefs. How the hell is that American? Freedom of speech, press and assembly were set up to protect UNPOPULAR thought, not just the shit you agree with. The right to express these thoughts must be protected at all costs. Otherwise you get people like Neal Dow who’s answer to protesters fighting the first dry laws in America was to tell the Maine Militia to “fire into the crowd.” Which, needless to say is fucked up.
With all that being said I am not unsympathetic to law enforcement. Do you know how damn difficult that job is? Do you realize how easily criticized and unappreciated it is? I have many friends that are police officers; many with some pretty liberal views and especially in Chicago they’re putting their lives on the line for us. So, yes I say protest and do it with passion. However, your ass had better be doing it with knowledge. Understand that the copper you’re screaming “FUCK YOU” at probably doesn’t want to be there but he/she is, and it’s to protect you.
I firmly believe in civil unrest and marching and social activism. I also understand that sometimes it’s a lot of entitled assholes that want to call a cop a pig and get away with it knowing they’re protected by the “mob”. I was in theatre school at the outbreak of the Iraq war. I know all too well about false activism and the uninformed ignorance that comes along with it. The day I heard a kid refer to a protest as “Just so much fun” while laughing, I knew that some “protesters” probably should have their heads thumped for them. I also was at the NATO summit and watched shitty over privileged kids say and do anything trying to incite an incredibly calm and reserved Chicago Police Department into violence. There are assholes everywhere.
The point is this I get it. Both sides. One side is trying to exercise their constitutionally protect right to protest. Which, I believe might be the most American of all rights. The other side has a job to do which is to keep that protest from getting out of hand. YOU don’t have to be upset about that! Should you have impassioned thoughts about it? Absolutely! Yet you shouldn’t be all pissy just because it’s happening. So relax a little let the things that make America great continue to do so. More importantly let those who find fault in this great country continue to express it. It’s their God given right. Thank little 8 pound 6 ounce baby Jesus that people like Pauline Sabin did. Otherwise we couldn’t drunkenly and loudly argue about these things at a bar. Who doesn’t love that?! America… FUCK YEAH!!