April 19th, 2010
While an auditorium inside was filled with those who had paid to hear the President speak, crowds gathered to protest outside, in the hopes of drawing attention to their cause. While various reporters sought to find "teapartiers", what was interesting was the crowd those coming to report did find. Certainly, there were a handful of libertarians, constitutionalists, and anti-war conservatives, however there were also various groups who felt they had been betrayed by Obama. What is particularly interesting is that these left wing groups comprised the majority of those present, for all the efforts made to label all dissenters as "angry, racist McCain supporters". Nearly a hundred gay rights and pro-amnesty marchers protested what they felt was a betrayal by the Obama administration.This sort of opposition has been growing, a testament to the realities of pandering to the more radical elements within one's party or society; they are allegiant to ideals, and not to charismatic leaders. Despite this, of course, there seems to be a fervent and determined effort to make all dissent out to be the work of "racists and McCain voters" working in some sort of unholy alliance, demonstrated most remarkably by the attraction of the mainstream media to the small and marginal elements within the teaparty movement which have received disproportionate attention, those who might help to perpetuate the false canon of an ignorant, racist, and fearful white American majority as the main opponents of the Democratic party, perpetuated by organs of the same to mobilize blind hate against all political rivals.
This manifested itself most notoriously in the form of one wealthy and affluent African-American who declared the Rastafarians and other radical blacks protesting perceived betrayal to be "McCain supporters" despite the fact that elections have been over for well over a year, and there is a particularly important detail regarding that man, who declined to give his name: despite the fact that protesters were told they were not allowed to convey a political message within the auditorium, he had been allowed in with both a tee-shirt and sign supporting the president. When told protesters had a right to free speech, his response was unyielding: "I served my country, you can't tell me about the constitution"
The protesters, much to the dismay of not only themselves but local citizens, were forced to locate not only blocks away from the event, but in an area forcibly closed to vehicular traffic by a literal legion of law enforcement, while military vehicles flew over Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, ironically appropriate to the racially charged nature of media coverage of this presidency, which as protesters Libertarian and Liberal alike pointed out, has been exactly the same as it's predecessors. Far from the promised change, it has increased the number of US troops stationed abroad, has increased the Number of military attacks in Pakistan and Yemen, has increased the number of troops in Afghanistan, and has renewed the patriot act, while ignoring many of the same problems ignored at home by Bush, and containing many previous staff members of both his, and the Clinton administration. The principal difference of course,
has been mainly that the media had no fear of attacking Bush, nor Clinton, and did so frequently. Yet the only elements who oppose Obama, they would have you believe, are 'teabaggers", a common double entendre so vulgar that the FCC would not have allowed it's use in years gone by. Perhaps it is telling that the only media outlet granted unrestricted access or any knowledge of events inside the building where a speech was being made, were those with the Annenberg policy center, yet perhaps more so is the rhetoric of Obama supporters past and present. During the major portions of the Demonstration, it's peak of nearly and roughly a hundred, members from a group calling itself "get equal" condemned constitutional advocacy groups, a spokeswoman who claimed to work for the DoD condemning the Oathkeepers organization which advocates amongst military members for strict adherence to the Constitution, whilst claiming the constitution as their justification for demanding the repeal of don't ask don't tell policy within the military, a segment of society long held by the supreme court not to have the same standards of civil rights as free society, as a necessity of the Nation's defense. Members of the SEIU asked Obama to grant rights to illegal immigrants, boldly proclaiming a message which would delight GOP leaders: "we helped you, now you help us!"
The truly shocking events were to occur afterwards however: Whilst during the protest, a former Libertarian party member and grassroots activist who now leads the debate team at a local high school, and proudly mentioned voting for Ron Paul in the 80s as a Libertarian, told his students that you cannot pick and choose your freedoms, that the glue of the Libertarian party and movement is the notion that marijuana advocates must support gunowners, and gunowners must support demonstrations and journalists, and journalists must support individuals from all walks of life seeking to live in peace and freedom, not just what makes the story, one attendee of the speech proclaimed upon exiting the auditorium, that protesters "did not have a right to free speech, because their criticism interfered with the president's ability to deliver his message."
It grows more difficult each day to reconcile the Campaign trail promises of Hope and Change, peace, and equality, with the totalitarian words and behavior of Post-Obama Democrats, as
even Liberals who once supported the party line are now finding out.
Perhaps they too will come to the belief, whether black or white, Homosexual or Radical, environmentalist or pacifist, that freedom is not something one can preserve for one's self, while denying it to others, that no Nation has the right to impose it's will on others, nor does any religion or political party.
If the LA grassroots is indeed an indicator of the national consciousness, then perhaps the peace movement will be a fertile source of new Libertarian thought.