Hello, and welcome to Protest Week. Hope you've already picked up your posters and megaphones. This should be quite a show.
Got a gripe? This is the place. Our philosophy: If you don't have anything good to say about someone or something, come sit next to us.
With President Bush, Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld coming to town to speak to the American Legion convention, protesters are coming out of the woodwork to make their messages heard. Tomorrow, Salt Lake residents will wake up and think the '70s broke out again. It's Down with Nixon and 'Nam all over again, man; only the names have changed. Where are Abbie Hoffman and Jane Fonda when you need them?
Seven protests are scheduled by six different groups. Scheduled? Well, it turns out that these are not your father's protests. These days, protesters get permits and are assigned places and times for their rally. In the '60s, that would have been like calling ahead to schedule a robbery.
Ah, for the good old days. They really knew how to protest back then. Protesters protested when and where they wanted, sometimes under the influence of certain drugs; they weren't interested in cooperating with authorities, or they wouldn't have been protesting in the first place. What was the point? The idea of getting a permit and scheduling a rally with the authorities would have seemed pretty silly.
The way it worked in the '60s was they took their protests to places where the people were; now the protesters make reservations for a certain area and people come to see them, like a zoo. Note: Please, do not feed the protesters.
We now have quite a lineup of protest rallies Wednesday for your viewing pleasure. Here's the schedule:
1. "Death to Israel" rally. Begins at 9 a.m. in downtown Salt Lake City and ends at 11 p.m. or until the first act of violence occurs. Should be fun. Just one question: Is it legal to come right out and say you want a certain group to just die already? At the very least, isn't this bad manners? A hate crime? How did they get a permit for this? At the very least they probably should have softened the name of their rally to, say, "Hooray for Israel's Enemies Rally."
2. "We the People for Peace and Justice" rally. Anti-war activists will meet at Washington Square and later begin a march. They will be joined by celebrity protesters Cindy Sheehan and Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, the head cheerleader for protesters protesting presidential visits.
3. "Freedom Rally." Pro-troops activists will attempt to undo the damage done by the aforementioned group (see No. 2).
4. "We the People for Peace and Justice" rally. This group booked a doubleheader. Twilight action is scheduled for 6 p.m. in Pioneer Park, with Rocky and Sheehan on the mount.
5. "Liberty Rally." Rally for illegal immigrants to gain legal status AND secure the borders. Huh? They want both!?
6. "Welcome and Appreciation Rally for President Bush." Actually, it will be a welcome for President Bush, without Bush, who, according to his schedule, will not appear. So we can only suppose that this rally is a reply to the "We the People for Peace and Justice" anti-Bush rallies (see Nos. 4 and 2).
7. "Rock against Rumsfeld Rally." Rally against the grumpy Secretary of Defense. Not that it's personal. Protesters are being told that dress is "bulletproof vest casual."
If you feel so inclined, there is still room in the program for extemporaneous protests, because the above program doesn't begin to cover all the issues. A few suggestions:
"Music Appreciators Against All Public Singing by Cher" rally.
"We the People for No More Cop/CSI TV Shows" rally.
"Rally for Banning All Drivers from Talking on Cell Phones." Except me.
"People Who Don't Want to See Jared in a TV Commercial Until He Weighs Three Bills Again" rally.
"Rally of People Driven to Insanity by Tom Shane's Voice."
"Freedom from TV Female Football Sideline Reporters" rally.
"Death to Men Who Wear Tank Tops in Restaurants" rally.If you can think of other causes, bring them to the show on Wednesday. Happy Protesting.