Political Activism At Its Worst

Today I took my son to get a couple of books at the local Barns & Noble. I was not aware that a prominent political figure, who is also a writer, was signing copies of their book at the same store. I should have turned away from the bookstore when we saw the huge crowd of protesters outside. But I am curious by nature so we went in anyway.

Driving up to the intersection of Stevens Creek Boulevard and San Tomas Expressway in San Jose where the bookstore is located, we saw hundreds people waving protest signs and making a huge commotion on all four corners of the intersection, as well as down the Stevens Creek in both directions. Most of them were carrying signs, many were misspelled or illegible. Just about all of the signs were about the Obama health care plan. Some of the signs were outright incendiary and violent. As we got to the driveway, there were dozens of people crowding it on ether side and in the entry to the parking lot. We finally parked – it took a while because the protesters had almost filled the store’s parking lot – and went in. There were 4 or 5 security people at each door and many more roaming around throughout the store. We found a couple dozen people in line for a book signing in the children’s section, which was cordoned off with more security people. I asked who was there and I was told it was Senator Barbara Boxer, there to read from her political novel, “Blind Trust,” and sign copies of the book. So, we had a couple hundred people outside, and about one hundred in the store of which half at most were there for the book signing. My son and I were there to buy a couple Garfield books.

Now I want you to keep in mind that I strongly support the right of freedom of speech, which is one of our fundamental rights here in the United States; I also strongly support the right to peaceful assembly, again as a foundational right. What was going on outside the bookstore was just barely a ‘peaceful assembly.’ Getting out of the parking lot was an ordeal in and of itself, but nothing compared to being yelled at by protesters as we approached the street.

The people outside the Barns & Noble bookstore on Stevens Creek Boulevard in San Jose today are MORONS. This is the part where I get angry, in case you didn’t catch on.

I went to a local book store to get my kid a book or two, completely unaware of the book signing that was taking place inside, and on the way out I am labeled a communist, a baby killer and several other things that were completely unintelligible, along with a few I refuse to repeat. Just in case you were wondering, yes, those were some of the things that were actually shouted out at me as I pulled towards the driveway with two Garfield books. I never thought that buying a Garfield book would mean I was a communist. Who knew!? Oh and by the way, to the idiot that shouted that out… The word you were looking for is Socialist, not Communist. Get your political ideologies straight.

The crowd was very much like the fanatical fundamentalist protesters outside Planned Parenthood clinics. I would assume that more than one participant in today’s semi-controlled riot has attended at least one of those ‘social gatherings’ before; they certainly exhibited the same mob mentality. It is events such as this one that are going on all over the country showing how today’s political climate has swung the right and the left so far apart that when the inevitable inertial return swing comes, the impact is going to be very messy.

To say that my opinion about the political subject matter or opinions of the people involved will be changed due to this incident would be completely untrue. My personal convictions are based on my own sense of right and wrong and my own pragmatic sensibilities, and have very little to do with public opinion and I am certainly never swayed by a mob. I can say, however, that I am disgusted by the display of outright ignorance, intolerance and unabashed rage that I saw. I have no idea who organized the protest but by the look of the lemming herd they’d gathered I am sure they had an agenda of their own that is projected on to others by instilling fear and hate.

I can now say comfortably that I am thoroughly and completely disenfranchised by the current ‘two party’ system, including the ‘other’ parties that are currently playing the ‘party politics’ game. Several years ago I realized that I no longer identified with any of the political parties in California or on the national level in any meaningful way, so I changed my voter registration to ‘Undeclared.’ All of the parties have lost their way, and their respective minds. It seems as though it is no longer about what is good for the nation and it’s people; it’s about how to shut down or embarrass the other guy. In my play-book that’s completely unethical.