I was at our Co-op today meeting with the General Manager about an upcoming board and management retreat. There I heard a voicemail message received this morning, and it’s worth a comment.
The message was anonymous. The woman was perhaps not elderly, but sounded older, or retired. Here is my paraphrase, in full and to the best of my memory, of what she said:
I’m calling to see if you’re the one who authorized those political protesters to use our property. I know you’re a big-time liberal but I just don’t think it’s right that they should be allowed to do that. The Co-op shouldn’t be supporting that. [hangup]
First of all, the property she’s referring to is a small triangle of land across the street from our store, that happens to be owned by the town. In the summer it’s a flower garden between two busy streets. In the winter it’s nothing but a 10 foot spot of flat space. It could just easily be owned by the Ledyard Bank, whose branch sits on one end of the triangle – actually much closer than our store. Note: Being factually incorrect doesn’t help build your case.
But more importantly, the “protesters” she’s referring to were Dartmouth students and other folk holding signs and cheering for Edwards, Kerry, Clark and Dean as cars drove by. It’s a busy intersection, and they get a lot of exposure there. Further, although there were three or four campaigns represented, everyone was in good spirits and cooperative – they were not antagonistic in any way.
Those people were holding signs for democratic candidates campaigning for a primary election held next Tuesday. That someone thinks they are “protesters” is pretty frightening. Is she saying that when there is a sitting President we should not challenge them? (“You’re either with us or against us.”) Does she actually want an eight-year term for Presidents? (“We voted him in already.”) Even if she simply used the wrong word, she doesn’t want people expressing themselves on the streets. (“Those trouble-making youth of today.”)
Or, maybe if they were Bush supporters that would be ok?