Friday, September 5, 2008

Politics, Protest and Palin

On Monday, the Matron and her family hopped on their bikes and joined approximately 9,995 other people in this peaceful protest against the war in Iraq, and Republican politics, generally. Even Merrick waved a sign, provided to him by the ever helpful members of the Internationalist Socialist Movement.

Yes, it is going to be that kind of blog post. Apologies in advance to Republican friends and readers, but the Matron has made no secret of the fact that she leans left, hard.

Before the march, there was a rally with all kinds of theater, fervor and fun! She saw elephants on bikes.

Faux lobbyists.

And bunches of banners with slogans that make a left-leaning girl's heart, well, just happy!

Now, here's where things get tricky. Because after the march, the Matron and her family got back on their bikes and headed home, through the city streets. Here they are! Don't they look threatening?

Since last Saturday, the Matron and her family -- and an entire city--have been living in lock down. State troopers and police from the entire state have been sitting at every major intersection throughout the entire city, not just the convention downtown.

And if that damn helicopter noise hadn't ended this morning, the Matron's head was going to pop!

So on Monday, the Matron and her children saw plenty of this:

Funny, she just heard on the formerly reliable Minnesota Public Radio that a few windows got broken on Monday because the police decided to rely ONLY on bike patrols. In retrospect, they wish they would've gotten out the militia sooner. Say it ain't so, Tim Nelson! How could you be so wrong!

Indeed, the entire downtown was packed with swat teams and police in full riot gear. She knows, because Merrick waved to every single machine-gun toting policemen he could see. His arm nearly fell off, there were that many!

This is what the marchers saw at every intersection:

Anyway, while her family was headed home, the renegade protests started breaking out all around them! The children were captivated and terrified as young people linked arms, blocked streets and started singing songs about peace. They baited police officers. People yelled and geneal mayhem ensued. The tension!!! Scarlett screamed, wept and begged to go home. Stryker begged to follow the action and chase behind every last mini-riot.

Logically, they did. Just what the police wanted, she's sure, a family of five and a burley hot on their heels.

Here's a shot the Matron took of one of the very first confrontations. Yes, there were lots of bikes! The protesters are walking behind them, in the background.

Here's about the ratio of police to protester. See that one guy in the middle? He's the threat. Good thing there are fifty police officers watching him!

Here's back-up!

The police arrested nearly 800 people, including the incredible Amy Goodman. Her crime? She asked a question. Journalists are so pesky that way! You can watch her arrest, here.

Many journalists were arrested, but the one that made the Matron angry was a 17-year old junior in high school, who was in and out of jail without a single call to his parents. That's right! The minor with the bruise in the shape of a boot on his back got kicked from jail and sent into the street without a single call to Mom and Dad.

Now, the Matron is critical, but she also gets it. Nobody got seriously hurt and the worst trouble seemed to be traffic jams and some broken windows. She's had her fair share of beer and argument with the Mayor (they fly in some of the same social circles and once, the Matron ran a Green Party campaign, opposing him!) and the Chief of Police is a member of their Zen Center. Good guys. But the police presence just seemed, well, excessive.

Speaking of excessive! Isn't it great how Sarah Palin is a big fan of the environment! The Matron is wildly relieved that somebody is finally going to get creationism in the public schools and end all this ridiculous nonsense about global warming! Thank goodness Sarah can shoot a moose from a helicopter. Finally, a gun-slinging VP with better aim than Dick Cheney!

But sexism annoys the Matron, right or left of the spectrum. And when she googled "Sarah Palin humor?" One of the first links claimed to have nude photos. She did the same for the men in the game and guess what! No such expanse of skin to be found, anywhere.

And please. When was the last time anybody asked Barack Obama who was watching his children? And don't say Michelle, because she has a high-power job AND is on the campaign trail herself. If you run for, or serve as, President, Vice or spouse, your children get less of your attention! A lot less. Maybe only a very little, in organized time slots.

That's okay, thinks the Matron. It's a different life than most people lead and those children? They'll get lots and lots and lots of other benefits that probably outweigh or counterbalance the fact that their parents have to hire out so much help to raise them.

Why pretend otherwise?

The Matron is also so happy to see how well that whole Abstinence Only sex education thing is currently working for the Republican Party! She feels very sorry for Bristol and boyfriend, gussied up and paraded out, sorta like forensic evidence. "See!? Here are my prolife politics, in action!"

Gloria Steinem never disappoints and she sums up the entire situation, here, much better than the Matron. Because Sarah Palin stands for just about everything that the Matron, doesn't.

Farewell, Republicans! She's happy to wave good-bye. . .


Anonymous said...

I so agree. I don't lean in either direction, but I don't get why so many people are so impressed by Sarah Palin. I'm glad she's a woman, but it ends there for me. Her speech that so many people are praising upside down and backwards struck me as a pep rally for a bake sale or something. "Now get out there and sell some cupcakes!!!"

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Salon had coverage and video of some very disturbing raids.

My husband and I were in Chicago on the first day of the Iraq War. It was quite an experience to be at the intersection of Lakeshore Dr. and Michigan Ave. as protestors shut down the intersection and police on horseback monitored the siutation.

Since I lean almost as far left as the Matron, the whole McCain/Palin ticket makes my head hurt.

I'm with you on the working parent issue, but I don't much respect for any PARENT that would accept the nomination knowing it means that his/her teenage daughter would have to live out a time in her life in which she is likely to be very fragile under intense public scrutiny.

Also, SP, if you don't want people talking about your kids, quit talking about your kids!

Minnesota Matron said...

I'm in complete agreement with Jen, and have wondered what thought process led Palin to say yes to the proposition of exposing her daughter to so much humiliation and pain. The only thing I can come up with is that Bristol's already in the public eye -- at least the Alaskan eye-- so what big difference does the national spotlight make, as opposed to the state spotlight?

I don't buy that argument, but that's the ONLY one I could come up with.

Anonymous said...

Love the lefty writing I've been reading on blogs. It makes the veins in my forehead quit throbbing so much. And, I had not seen the Gloria piece. Thanks for linking that.

Anonymous said...

I was just looking at This. Picture 31 made me think of you.

Unknown said...

I grew up in Washington, DC, where protests are just part of the scenery. I do remember being caught up in one ugly one as a kid and the fear. But cha know what? Seeing "We The People" in action is one of the finest lessons you can give your kids. Well done.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree that the "crackdown" in the cities was excessive and pretty ridiculous. CNN was running all the coverage on it and Mr. D came home in arms, I hadn't heard a word of it on NPR. Sensationalized? You bet.

What impresses me about SP is her willingness to put herself out there. Whether or not I agree with her is another story. But I do agree with you that attacking her personally is wrong and should be off limits (as it seems to be for so many other politicians who are different only by merit of having a penis).

BTW, hooray for you for bringing your kids down to participate. They'll never forget it.

Minnesota Matron said...

Wow -- thanks for that link, Hay!

smalltownme said...

I lean your way too.

You slayed me with "Finally, a gun-slinging VP with better aim than Dick Cheney!"

If I could stop laughing, I would say Thanks for this great post.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom!® said...


Although I type and cough from my deathbed, I'm with you in spirit. Leaning all left and everything, even if it is to spit out my lung.

Love, BTM

Mrs. G. said...

Let's just hope we are waving good bye in November. We will be, right?

Julie said...

The police presence does seem excessive. This will be something your children remember forever -- sometimes the best education doesn't happen in the classroom!

Karen Jensen said...

Did you see last night's Daily Show? "What's that word? It's like an alternative. . . She had a choice?" I'm with you about the sexism. It's ugly. But my disgust doesn't make me like Palin any better.

Unknown said...

So many "just hometown folks" come to see them. Easy to see why the Republicans like to say they are "the party of the people." I guess they just don't like bicycles?? Or handmade signs??
As for the nude photos---to be perfectly fair, Fred, Rudy, Dick C, John M. sans clothes is cruel and unusual. I might have to cut out the part of my brain that thought of that. I am so hoping I don't need it.

Anonymous said...

Well, I guess I was wrong about the RNC and how white it appeared... see picture #25 from hippyhappyhay link. I did feel like I was in a lock-down situation on the West Side in St. Paul, since we need to go through downtown to get to many locations... and they closed the bridges on Thursday! I applaud you, Mary, for taking part! Good ridance to Republicans! - oh and did you hear how much Cindy McCain's outfit cost - more than both of our houses are worth! Hum, and let's see - they don't qualify as elitists?

JCK said...

I adore you. And your post.

And horrified by what went on behind the scenes. Excess? Yes.

thefirecat said...

When will they ever figure out that we will not go away, we will not stop protesting, because we are ANGRY and we have a right to be?!

Pardon me for having an opinion, but that Constitution they claim to love and uphold more than we do? GIVES US THE RIGHT TO DO WHAT AMY GOODMAN DID.

In fact, it damn near obligates us to.

Jocelyn said...

Thank you for the photos and firsthand account. I listened to quite a bit of NPR today, and nobody seemed to want to be straightforward about what happened.

Leave it to The Matron.

When are you going to post about how left of the Democratic Party you are?

Anonymous said...

The best coverage of that convention I've read so far! My lewft-leaning heart rejoices when I read your piece!
(Formerly from Life after AC)

Manager Mom said...

Great post, Matron.

It was really interesting to see the photos and hear your take on the events. From what I read, the security presence did seem a little excessive.

Irene said...

Thank you for this very powerful post and showing us some things we needed to see and hear. Usually I lurk, but I just want to say, as a Dutch person, that I am glad that there are Americans like you and my daughter, who is also just another ordinary American citizen. It gives me hope.

thefirecat said...


"When are you going to post about how left of the Democratic Party you are?"

....I don't think teh interwebs is that wide. My screen certainly isn't.

Minnesota Matron said...

Firecat, you are so right!

Queenly Things said...

Where are the Chicago 7 when you need them, huh?
I loved that Steinem piece. It so perfectly and eloquently said what I hadn't even formed thoughts about yet.

Daisy said...

Loved, loved Gloria Steinem's piece. I posted on it this weekend. Not since Hillary refused to stay home and bake cookies and hold teas have I been so proud to be a feminist.

Liz said...

I was at the protest, too, and was successfully intimidated by the excessive police presence. Amy Goodman is one of my heroes, and I could not BELIEVE it when I saw the video of her arrest, or the accompanying videos of her producers being arrested. And Sarah Palin...ugh. Ugh. Thank you for writing! I can just imagine Merrick charming the gasmasks off those riot police.

Anonymous said...

By Dr. Reardon who also blogs at bardscove.

With all this talk about Sarah Palin redefining feminism and people who don't support her candidacy being sexist, I think we could use a little clarification.
Women's progress at work and in government is critically important. We are not, after all, living in the Dark Ages. But, and this is a VERY IMPORTANT BUT, consider the following scenario.

You're about to board a plane and a flight attendant says, "Today as part of our responsiveness to customers program you may choose Mr. Jones here as co-pilot. He will fly the airplane should something go wrong with the pilot, who isn't at his best today. Mr. Jones has been a pilot for twenty years and has an impeccable record. He is, however, a man. Because you support the advancement of women in the workplace, we also have a woman here who is willing to fly your plane. She is not a pilot but she didn't blink when asked to do this and for the past week a team of experts has been talking to her a lot about how to fly."

Who would you choose? If you chose Pilot Jones, would that be sexist? Or would you simply not be a complete idiot?

Apply this to Sarah Palin. She has not spent time in Washington as a senator or a congresswoman. She has spent most of her life in Alaska. From her interview with Charlie Gibson, it is clear that she is proud of not blinking about making decisions that affect millions of lives. And she is uninformed about the workings of the U.S. government.

Personally I'd have nothing against Sarah running for a seat in the House or Senate. It's a reasonable next step. And were she blocked from this path because of her gender, disparaged and demeaned in the press, I'd be miffed for sure. That would be sexist.

But just because I'd like to go to NASA and tell them that by November I want to be an astronaut, doesn't mean they should hand over the space shuttle.

There is far too much at stake to put someone completely inexperienced in the ways of Washington and the world so close to the presidency. There's no excuse for it, really. John McCain should know that. That's not sexist; it's simply common sense.

Dr. Reardon also blogs at bardscove.

Anonymous said...

Reardon piece posted at