The Protest that Never Happened
He set aside a space near the vendors (directly across the road from me, only a hundred yards away) and fenced it off using the white PVC expandable fencing like we use at dog shows. It was a generous space, not a small space. He put a speaker’s platform in the center of it. He pointed out that it was near the port-a-potty, water, and near the rear entrance the press uses, and accessible to electrical outlets. He put up a shade canopy, and set out cones so the TV station would have a place to park. His statement said, “Of course they are welcome. This is a public event. There is an admission price, though. It’s five dollars. No one will bother them. The Marshalls will escort them in, and no one will stop them or bother them. They have a safe platform from which to speak.”
Then he said to every participant and vendor: “Do NOT! Under any circumstances, do not go near that fence. Ignore whatever is said. Say not one word to them. No one in any kind of uniform is to be on this half of the grounds. It takes two sides to make an argument. Trust me. This will be over before it starts.”
When the mob arrived at the back gate, the US Marshalls were ready to take them to their designated safe spot to speak. Then the fire Marshall showed up and reminded everyone that due to the drought there was a state fire ban. There were no campfires this weekend; no one could burn anything. Then the TV stations showed up at the press gate ready to film the promised “violence.” The protesters hollered a few shouts to incite things, but there were no responses.
No one came with anti-protest. There were no verbal exchanges or acknowledgement of the protesters’ presence. It was business as usual on Sutler Row. Bored, the press and the TV station left. The disappointed protesters went away.
Looks to me like the one thing a protest group needs in order to have a “successful” protest, is a group of anti-protesters. And when anti-protesters arrive, and become like-minded, both sides must share the responsibility for the consequences.
Think of all the wasted violence if everyone just stayed home.