Monday, May 21, 2012

Low-key, almost mellow, were NATO Summit protesters, despite the end

If “the whole world (was) watching” Chicago on Sunday for evidence that our “brother’s bound and gagged, and they’ve chained him to a chair,” I can’t help but think they feeling rather disappointed right about now.
Sunday not likely to produce sequel

I’m sure some conservative ideologues will try to turn the end of the major protest march held Sunday against the NATO Summit into a “major catastrophe!,” what with the sight of some protesters being pushed by Chicago police when they tried to get a bit closer to the McCormick Place convention center than Cermak Road.

CONSIDERING THAT SOME of the protesters who at their peak created a mile-long line along State Street had already broken away to go home, and others stood by peacefully and complied with the police demand to move to the west (instead of further south), it’s hard to say that what occurred on Sunday was in any way unique or harsh or severe.

In fact, I think this is going to be an event that will be such a letdown for those individuals who wanted to believe that “history” would be made similar to the ’68 Democratic convention protests.

The ones that gave us the chant about the world watching us, and whose conspiracy trial a year later inspired Crosby, Stills & Nash to turn it into song.

Nobody is going to be writing songs about what happened Sunday!

PERSONALLY, I THINK too many Chicagoans viewed the day as some sort of trivial moment. Either that, or they viewed it as an inconvenience to their lives.

Such as the woman who lives in a downtown condominium who was only on hand to watch the protest to keep the activists as far away from her property as was humanly possible. Not that they really got anywhere near it.

But she was convinced the hoards of vulgarians were about to dump all over her property.

Then, there was another woman who was appalled by the fact that so many police were on hand to follow the protesters and prevent any scuffles from breaking out.

“THERE ARE STREET fights every day. This is Chicago,” she said. “There should be one cop for every 50 feet,” instead of the police lined up at arm’s length from each other – creating a gauntlet, of sorts, that protesters had to walk through.

Then, there was the humorous moment I noticed along State Street near the Harold Washington Library, when a young man had his (admittedly) very sexy girlfriend stand on the sidewalk so he could take her picture.

This guy now has a photograph of his smiling (and scantily-clad) girlfriend, with thousands of protesters marching right behind her!

I suspect he definitely will be paying more attention to her body when he looks at that photograph in their future, and probably will think it an afterthought that “those people” behind her might have had some serious point they were trying to make.

JUST LIKE I suspect many Chicagoans will have their own thoughts of what was more important to them at the time. I really don’t sense that the activity taking place inside the McCormick Place has put a dent on the city’s mindset these days.

Outside of the people who gathered at Grant Park for a noon-hour rally and the march to the Near South Side, I suspect the millions of Chicago-area people were going out of their way to ignore the activity downtown.

That activity really was mellow. The gathering, except for the fact that more people were wearing “Che Guevara” t-shirts than at any other public event, was probably less-hostile and spirited than the group that convened at Wrigley Field on Sunday.

Particularly since that group has a smattering of Chicago Cubs fans who left all irritable on account of the fact that not only did they lose all three games of the weekend series to the White Sox, the Sout’ Side ballclub was able to regain their status as a .500 ballclub against their beloved Cubbies!

ALL OF THIS has me thinking we had some very serious overkill in recent days when it came to security measures. Although I’m sure there are those who will argue that the reason things were so peaceful was BECAUSE of all those cops hanging around.
PETERSEN: Number 45?

Then, there was the gag of the protest march that I wonder if anybody got. Who in Chicago comprehended the signs in the march that read, “Boise State Rules All,” and “Coach Pete for President.”

Although when one looks at the field of candidates these days (and yes, a couple of Ron Paul supporters were at Sunday’s protest march to try to tout his non-existent chances of winning), the idea of Broncos head football coach Chris Petersen as our nation’s chief executive is almost feasible.

Particularly if he could duplicate his annual “Beat Pete” scholarship run/walk around campus to a nationwide event.


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