Most political activists recognize that their methods, to be effective, should be tailored to the mood of the day. When you're down and out and nobody is paying attention to you, it might take some theatrics and self-immolation, literal or figurative, to get attention to your issue.
However, when a majority of the nation agrees with you, the same tactics can come off as silly and self-indulgent.
Somehow, I don't think the Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War had that firmly in mind when they disrupted an Easter mass and sprayed fake blood around.
Six people were arrested at Holy Name parish's auditorium Sunday after disrupting an Easter mass to protest the Iraq war.
The group—whose female and male members identified themselves as Catholic Schoolgirls Against the War—stood up at the beginning of Cardinal Francis George's homily and shouted their opposition to the conflict, which marked its fifth anniversary last week. As security guards and ushers tried to remove them from the service, the demonstrators squirted fake blood on themselves and parishioners dressed in their Easter finery.
The red substance, which one protester later described as "stage blood," initially drew gasps and a few terrified yelps from the 600 worshipers at the mass. The shock, however, quickly transformed into anger as people booed the six while they were escorted from the parish auditorium.
Look, kiddos, a majority of the country thinks that the war was wrong and not worth the cost. What, precisely, did you hope to accomplish here? The probable result is not drawing positive attention to your arguments in opposition to the war. Nor is it likely that more people will think about whether or not the war was right. Rather, the probable result is to reinforce the thought "war protesters are touchholes" in the minds of people who already tend to think that, and to distract other people from issues of substance to issues of decorum. Of course the usual suspects will vent their usual OUTRAGE, but on a more serious level you're going to have a lot of regular folks talking about how you are dicks instead of talking about the war. In fact, next time a lot of people who saw this story encounter a debate about the war, the first thought that is likely to come bubbling to the surface is not a substantive one but "war protestors are assholes."
So way to go. If I were inclined to conspiracy theories I'd wonder if you were engaged in right-wing agitprop. But hey, you'll get your fifteen minutes now. Your mugshots will be everywhere. And to a pack of frustrated performance artists, what could be better than that?
Last 5 posts by Ken White
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