They do protest too much

So it has come to my attention that there’s a movement afoot to have a sort of second Buy-Nothing Day on Thursday to protest the inauguration.  In the posting that alerted me to this there is a link to the Turn Your Back on Bush campaign.  But that site says nothing about refraining from spending on inauguration day.  Apparently Not One Damn Dime Day is a separate, spontaneous campaign which has been piggy-backed onto TYBoB.

So back to this no spending business: Uh, what the hell is that supposed to accomplish?  Doesn’t that fall under the heading of cutting off your nose to spite your face?  I realize to some there is no distinction between the Bush Dynasty and Corporate America (a subsidiary of Pure Unalloyed Evil, LLC).  But get a grip.  What do you hope to prove?

First of all, practically speaking, be realistic:  you will not even be a blip on the economic radar.  I’m the first to root for ideological lost causes; but this has no chance of catching on to a point that anyone will notice.  The election proved that even organized, mobilized, and stirred up to a fever pitch the activist minority isn’t big enough to make much of a difference; a few emails circulated a few days before the event aren’t going to do squat.

But let’s disregard practical concerns, and address the contention that it’s Just The Right Thing To Do.  No, it’s not.  Even assuming you will have a perceptible economic effect, you’re just hurting a bunch of commercial establishments that have nothing to do with Bush, Iraq, or whetever else you’re protesting.  Zip.  Nada.  Oh, and cementing the popular impression of yourselves as a bunch of bitter contrarians who prefer lashing out in whatever direction is available to taking constructive, positive action.

Granted, I think having a second gala inauguration for an administration that’s already in power is stupid and wasteful.  And I realize that a lot of people have some very strong feelings about this president, and an inauguration is the perfect opportunity to give vent to those feelings.  I also think that the administration’s approach to handling protests at the inauguration has been graceless and in very bad form.  But this, frankly, is a dumb way to protest.

I am increasingly disgusted with the state of protest in this nation.  Like it or not, there are very real limits on how much capital, both monetary and political;  energy; and most of all, public attention can be mustered up for dissent.  The more of those precious resources that is squandered on pointless,  self-defeating initiatives, the less remains for the kind of action which actually touches hearts and changes minds.

View All


  1. Yeah, that’s been making the Internet Rounds and is as tiresome and idiotic as any other pseudo-boycott proposed. Waste of time and energy, with pointless and effectless tacked on for good measure. People just have to start dealing with the reality that Bush is president for the four more years. If I could take 8 years of our previous snake-oil salesman, I can take four more of this guy.

  2. if you happen to notice that Patton Oswald is on Comedy Central, you may enjoy to watch him. he expresses a similar sentiment “in his hatred against hippies” and their ridiculous, ineffectual means of protest. “If we dress up a mouse, and put him in a cupboard… we can stop this war! ‘Where’s the mouse? Who knows!'”
    it’s his delivery which makes it funny, of course….

  3. I have a (somewhat embarassing) question to ask you, and since you are so political, I think you’d be able to answer this.

    While watching the news last night, I caught a glimpse of Kerry in office as a senator. How can he run for president, and still keep his seat? How does that work?

    1. Because there is no rule against it. Should be though. If you’re the confirmed candidate for a party you should be required to give up all previous elected posts.

    2. yup…

      and I wonder how many days he was there to vote?

      But if he had won, there are rules/governances on how the senate seat is replaced. I believe, but could be mistaken, that the sitting governor has some say.

      – Jason

  4. “Granted, I think having a second gala inauguration for an administration that’s already in power is stupid and wasteful.”

    I thought you might find this interesting…
    How Have Wartime Inaugurations Been Handled in the Past?

    1. Indeed. It’s hard to escape the feeling that it’s just a way to say “ha! we won! so there!” as loudly and as obnoxiously as possible. There’s altogether too much triumphalism in it.

      I’m no fan of either party; but the Dems had better start winning elections or the citizens of DC are going to start suffocating on the dense, toxic layer of smug gathering around the white house.

      1. I dunno

        It’s the same drug; power.
        The Dems were mainlining that in the 90’s. The economic downturn subsequent to the turn of the century was merely the hangover.
        As technology converges, so, too, do politics, advertising, and law. It’s one giant, steaming loaf.
        OK, so that’s a bit cyncial…

  5. Damn right it’s a dumb way to protest. Reminds me of the “Great Gasoline Non-buy Day”: protest the high price of gasoline by not buying on one specific day. (I forget the day.) The thinking was that if enough people didn’t buy gas, sellers would reduce the price.

    I nice idea, but the implementation would have no real effect, because even if enough people refrained from buying gas on the appointed day (and I don’t believe enough would, but even if they did) they would be buying gas either the day before or the day after. So the month total sales would be the same. Net effect: zero. Net price change: zero.

    Dumb dumb dumb. Don’t people think anymore?

  6. Do they think that uf they manage to hurt the economy by not spending, they can prove their point by showing that a Bush presidency is bad for the economy?

  7. Personally I think, Help DC City Not Get Stuck Footing A 40Million Dollar Bill For The Inaguration Ball might be a better protest.

    It is bad enough that this President is having a $40million gala celebration when we are at war, in the worst dept in many years, still in the throws of a depression, and trying to cut taxes. I mean shit at his inaguration he offered a prayer for our armed forces. That is nice and all, but prayers don’t stop bullets. My familly had to buy our cousin who has been deployed into Iraq body armor because the government apparently has not set aside sufficient funds to properly equipt our troops. But aparrently it can afford to throw parties for bush. I had a lot more respect for FDR who forwent an expensive party because we were at war an he had sufficient intelligence and morals to realize the money could be better spent elsewhere.

    But to add insult to injury, rather than spending his billions, or the republican parties billions, or federal tax, bush has handed over the bill to the District of Columbia. A district which already has financial problems just trying to fight against the highest homicide rate in the us…

Comments are closed.