I’m going to make a fun point and a serious point with this one.
The fun point
The story — a couple of dozen “Tea Party” activists held a rally in Manhattan on Thursday to “stand up to Occupy Wall Street extremists”.
(I put “Tea Party” in quotes because the rally was organized by Americans for Prosperity, the operative arm of the Koch Bros. God knows who believes what in that outfit.)
The rally was foiled by Occupyers, however — who playfully joined in. The Guardian:
A conservative rally billed as an opportunity to “stand up to Occupy Wall Street extremists” fell flat on Thursday when it was co-opted by members of Occupy Wall Street.
Supporters of Americans for Prosperity, a Tea Party-esque group [-esque indeed] funded by the billionaire Koch brothers, gathered at the Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan to demonstrate against both Occupy Wall Street and President Obama.
But almost half of the sparse crowd were Occupy Wall Street protesters, smartly dressed and bearing signs parodying Americans for Prosperity’s ultra-conservative message.
“My sign says: ‘I’m dreaming of a white president, just like the ones we used to have,’” said Stan Williams, a labour organiser and member of the Occupy movement.
It must have been a lot of fun putting that together. Other signs included “I hate libraries” and “‘Every man for himself.’ –Jesus”.
There are also several interesting videos in the article; it’s worth a visit.
The serious point
Now my serious point. This is so under-appreciated as a technique. Not only is it non-violent, it’s effective.
I’ll give you three examples — one that should have happened, and two that still could.
■ Should have happened — When all those rightwingers open-carried guns to Democratic events, the only effective response was to do the same at their events. Mirror mirror.
But not dressed as leftwing counter-narrative gun-types. To do this right, you go as a rightwing gun-job — read your NRA bible, bone up on all your rightwing rights, and profess exactly what the guys at the Dem rallies profess.
Just be them, like in the story above. Be a Second-Amendment American to the bone. Chew tobacco if you think that helps. Spit.
Instantly two things will happen: (1) You’ll strip all the political context from the act, and everyone who sees you will see how stupid (and dangerous) the act itself is. That will happen on camera, by the way, since you’ve timed this to get the same news coverage everyone like you is getting.
And (2) the rightwing Blackwater cop-jobs will jump you like nobody’s business. You’ll spout off about your rightwing rights, and your rightwing bro’s and sisters will shuck those rights right out of you — also on camera. (Be sure to cover your face, and don’t forget your lines.)
How perfect is that? The right doesn’t stand by that stuff; they just pretend to. Here’s a perfect chance to make them show it. Believe me, they will, eagerly. You might even get a lawsuit out of it.
So that’s one perfect opportunity that we missed. But file it, folks. This can be done anytime the time is ripe.
■ Still can happen — We’re drowning in conscience objections from the right, challenges in court, the whole nine yards. Even my alma mater is soiling itself.
To respond, don’t use words; use deeds. You have a conscience too, right? Sure you do; what real American doesn’t? So use it.
Go get a job at … oh, Chic-fil-A would be nice … then start using your conscience to object. You don’t have to object to gays. Object to … chicken. You’ll serve anything on the menu, but not the chicken, because your religion worships birds.
You’ll serve anything else — fries are good, and anyone who likes the tasty sides can have all of them they want. You’ll serve the breakfast sausage with both hands. Just not the bird. Make sure there’s a camera handy when the boss objects to your objections.
I’m making this up, and you can probably do better. Opportunities for this kind of fun are endless.
Your model is the pharmacist who won’t dole out birth control and Plan B.
Your advantage? Anyplace that honors one conscience objection honors all conscience objection — it’s the dirty secret of conscience objection. All conscience is individual. Again, just strip politics from the act, and go with it. Be sure someone with a camera is handy.
Honors class project — Get a job at a pharmacy that has already supported someone who conscience-objects to vagina products (BC, Plan B, IUDs), and turn the tables. Refuse to dole out … Viagra would make sense. Or asthma drugs. Or corn plasters, if there’s a prescription version. You pick.
Then when the boss comes to see what the fuss is about, stand by your conscience and demand he defend it as well. After all, he defended the other guy’s.
Put him on the spot and make sure there’s a camera around. Just remember to play your role completely — be sincere, have a conscience, and object on that basis. If there’s follow-up (and if you’re good, there will be), stay in character.
You’re not making a point; the point is making itself through you.
■ Your November dissertation — Want a real one you can do in two months? If you live in a state where wingers are challenging black and brown voters, you can Mirror-Mirror them at white polling places.
Don’t go outside the script. Just find out what they’re doing — word for word if need be — and do that. Make sure that the cameras covering the dust-up at black and brown polling places are covering yours.
This works if you mirror them and don’t push further. Do that, get the press, and your diploma awaits. You’ve arrived. If this RW stuff is happening your state, and ten groups (say) on our side play the Mirror Game, I guarantee you a solid 15 minutes of fame. If not more.
The point of all of this is to strip the Right of its ability to make the ridiculous make sense — but only in the context of their presumed specialness. You do it by playing Mirror-Mirror without the context, then let the world play “who’s the fool?”.
A Hindu refusing to serve beef at a restaurant would be fired and laughed out of town. But a vagina-cop drug dispenser at a pharmacy makes sense?
Not after you’re done doing the same. This is how you tar their act with your own (kind of the way the right tarred impeachment using Clinton; there will never be another one).
And to go back to my first point — this really is fun. There are plenty of worse ways to make a point. Effective tactics can also be a blast.
To follow or send links: @Gaius_Publius