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Caving in - Peter Hentges

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October 30th, 2004

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12:16 am - Caving in
I went home and talked over with Ericka my plans to protest our President's appearance in our fair city on Saturday morning. She was a bit nervous but supportive, wanting mostly to make sure that I had bail money arranged, a lawyer lined up, and we had worked out coverage for her needs if I should be incarcerated.

I started feeling like I should also do something to actually help remove President Bush from office. Sure, protesting would give me that "I've got rights!" rush, but it would be unlikely to actually change anyone's mind or make them more likely to vote.

So I volunteered to answer phones at DFL HQ on Friday night, thinking I'd do that, go to work and then downtown to see about exercising my rights.

Well, as I was about to leave, we checked Ericka's blood sugar. Just a routine to make sure things are OK when I'm going to be gone for a while. It was 66. The scary part was that Ericka had no idea it was that low. She usually has a very good body-sense for when her blood sugar is off. So we got her some juice and crackers and cheese and decided that we'd check again in a half hour.

Well, that was when I should be starting my shift at DFL HQ.

So I got to thinking. It's more important that people get out and vote than it is that I verify the existence of my rights of free speech and assembly.

So, to the great relief of many of you, I bet, I decided that I'll not be going and getting myself arrested in the morning. Instead, I'll volunteer at the phone banks, calling people to make sure they get out and vote.

I feel both virtuous and half-way like I'm caving in. The way I figure it, the more people vote, the more likely it is that we'll get Mr. Bush out of office and the more likely it is that I won't have the need to verify my rights.
Current Mood: determineddetermined

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:October 29th, 2004 11:26 pm (UTC)
Thanks. You're fighting the good fight.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2004 06:58 am (UTC)
I don't think you're caving. Look at the bottom line: if you'd gone the protest route, what would the impact on the election have been? Probably zilch. Whereas working the phone back, if you get even one person to vote who wasn't going to do so, you've potentially made a difference.

I'm not anti-protest. I just think such a protest would have to be HUGE to make a dent -- big enough that it received some news coverage. One person shouting in the crowd and being hustled immediately away just won't be noticed... I completely understand your wanting to do it, though.
[User Picture]
Date:October 30th, 2004 08:36 am (UTC)
I agree with sleigh. I'll also say that--this is just my opinion/perception/viewpoint--ever since the '60s I've found solo and small-group protests to be a bit self-indulgent. If one weighs "makes the protester/s feel good" against "makes a difference," IMHO there's nothing on the latter end of the scale. There's nothing wrong with making oneself feel good, and sometimes it's what one must do, but I think one ought to be honest about whether it will do anything other than that.
Date:October 30th, 2004 08:28 pm (UTC)
It's all about getting out the vote, and then this horrible polarizing four-year nightmare can go away, and we can get back to a pleasantly divided government that doesn't get much done but at least manages to balance the budget now and then. (I wonder to what extent the framers had the role of partisanship in mind when they designed the checks-and-balances of the branches of government? Turns out that a Republican Congress isn't much of a check on a Republican President.)

Michelle and I skipped work early to do a couple hours of phone banking at the Kerry/Edwards HQ on Friday. I'd gone and done four hours thursday night, too, while Michelle was playing her weekly D&D game. Today we stopped by the Carpenters' Hall on Olive, and saw Elizabeth Edwards give a pep talk while we snagged some flyers (for Kerry/Edwards as well as Betty McCollum and Victoria Reinhardt [Ramsey Co. Commissioner]), since we have a route near our house to lit-drop for our Minnesota House candidate anyhow...and we've decided if we're going to do so dang much walking, we're damn well going to have more than one piece of lit to drop at each door.

Keep up the good work! You know the numbers -- the bigger the turnout, the better for Kerry.

-John N.

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