Beware the tidal wave of protest as the Mighty Left of SC rises up!

In case you're having trouble spotting the demonstration, it's just below and slightly to the right of the traffic lights.

Last evening, rushing to get to The Whig, I glanced across the street and saw the above demonstration. At least, I think that’s what it was. There was a sign, although the guy holding it never turned it so it could be seen. I didn’t have time to run across the street and ask, but I wondered at the time: Is this Occupy Columbia?

Apparently not. Apparently the Days of Rage don’t start until Saturday:

An offshoot of the Occupy Wall Street protest phenomenon will stage a gathering Saturday at 9 a.m. on State House grounds.

“Occupy Columbia” is hoping to attract 200 people and grow in number from there, one organizer, Travis Bland, said.

Saturday’s event will be held on the same day as “Occupy” protests and gatherings around the state and world, said Bland, a 2010 graduate of the University of South Carolina with a degree in history.

“We were inspired by the Arab Spring and the Occupy Wall Street movement,” Bland said…

I keep waiting for the moment when these folks wake up and realize, Oh, wait! This isn’t Egypt! There’s no police state, no Mubarak, no repression! This is the premier liberal democracy in the world, and it’s headed by Barack Obama! Never mind…

Until then, you might not want to drive near downtown on Saturday, because the streets will be clogged. Of course, that’s more likely to be because of the State Fair.

But you never know…

22 thoughts on “Beware the tidal wave of protest as the Mighty Left of SC rises up!

  1. Brad

    Oh, and I do expect that on Saturday there will be more than the five or six pictured above. I just don’t expect to be particularly overwhelmed.

    Also, I don’t know whether it will be worth braving the Fair and football traffic to come downtown and count them… (NOTE THE CORRECTIONS OF MY MISTAKE BELOW!)

  2. Doug Ross

    Would you join them if they chained themselves to the Confederate Flag and vowed not to leave until it came down?

    I’ve always wondered why nobody has done that now that it’s easier to get at.

  3. Brad

    Oops. Meant to go check that. I had read weeks ago that the streak of home games would extend to the first week of the Fair. Remember that?

    Anyway, this shows I wasn’t kidding when I said back on the Spurrier-Morris post that I do NOT follow this stuff.

    I’ll go ahead and change it in the post, but leave it in the comment so that y’all can make fun…

  4. Lynn T

    This is snide, Brad, which is not your best tone. Also, I’m not sure what Obama being president has to do with whether people have or do not have good reason to suppose that their voices are being heard. Roberts made the patronizing comment, in the Citizens United decision, that the outpouring of yet more anonymous money into politics would not cause citizens to lose faith in their role in our republic. It is true that it wasn’t sufficient in itself, but it surely didn’t help, given all the other evidence that our government is (putting it kindly) over-responsive to campaign contributors and lobbyists and under-responsive to ordinary citizens. So no, most U.S. citizens aren’t repressed — just ignored.

    Anyway, I’m not sure you’d be happy with anyone carrying a sign, unless it announced a new Starbucks opening.

  5. Karen McLeod

    Brad, I think you were looking at the anti-war protestors; there may not be many, but they are there most evenings.

  6. AM

    The peace protesters are the ones that are always there on Wednesday evening, rain or shine. And the number of people in the group appears to be about right for that group. That is the most committed group I have seen in SC.

  7. Steven Davis

    It was Wednesday, more than likely the weekly “No War” folks. From the looks of the group I think they’re still protesting the Vietnam War.

  8. Brad

    Actually, I’ve seen them a number of times, but now that Steven mentions it…

    Each time, there’s this weird little thing that runs through my brain (when I can see their “Against the War” sign, which I couldn’t yesterday) where I think, “But it ended in 1975!” Then I realize, a split-second later, that they’re talking about war NOW.

    They’ve just got that vibe about them. They look like they’re about to break out in a chant about LBJ.

    Which I don’t think is any insult to them. They’re probably still pretty ticked about that one, too.

  9. Brad

    I thought they had a long banner. Specifically, this one.

    I took that picture at a protest in New York during the 2004 Republican Convention. I’ve seen it since then at the State House.

  10. Kathryn Fenner

    Laugh at the size of liberal protests in Columbia if you will, but I marched in the big rally King Day at Dome, the first year–40,000 people marching to have the “Confederate” flag come off the dome.

    and hat’s off to Cassandra Fralix, Gerry Rudolph, Rebecca Rogers and all the other faithful, mostly Quakers, who stand in silent witness to their beliefs.

  11. Phillip

    The only phrase I would take issue with in your “don’t they realize” riposte to the demonstrators, is that this liberal democracy “is headed by Barack Obama.” He is the President, yes, and wields a certain amount of power. But I think the larger point of the OWS protests (and even some aspects of the Tea Party protests, too) is a recognition that true power in this country may not really reside with our elected officials. This, in turn, puts the notion of us as the “premier liberal democracy” in some danger.

  12. Brad

    Well, he’s the closest thing we have in our system to Mubarak, in terms of corresponding positions.

    And Kathryn: I think it was 60,000. And I didn’t really think of that as a liberal thing. Certainly not a “left” thing. I thought of it as sort of everybody-but-the-nuts-coming-together thing.

    I mean, look at the picture above of David Beasley and Joe Riley marching together. That was a different day, but it was that same year. And that’s what was happening that year. The pro-flag people were being marginalized. That’s why the flag came off the dome.

    Unfortunately, it didn’t go far. That’s partly because David Wilkins only allowed one day for debate in the House. And he wouldn’t allow anything but the “compromise” that Glenn McConnell, et al., had pushed through in the Senate earlier.

    A lot of good ideas, ideas the political center would have gone for, died that day. Ideas that would have ended the issue. The best came from Vincent Sheheen’s Uncle Bob — a bronze plaque on the grounds about the flag that USED TO fly on the State House. It was perfectly respectable to everybody’s opinion. But it wasn’t allowed to gain traction.

    That was one of the most frustrating days — or perhaps I should say, nights — of my career. As the debate proceeded, we kept writing editorials, scrapping them because of new things coming up in the debate, writing new ones, and then late that night, when they passed the Senate plan and all hope died, we were left running with an editorial on another subject, and having to comment for the next day on the missed opportunity. (This was five years before I had a blog, and long before Twitter or Facebook existed.)

    All those years I had written all those hundreds of pieces on the flag, and the chance for a real solution died on that one day. A few more hours of debate in the House, and we could have had something good.

    Anyway, it was a remarkable consensus moment, one that failed to bring about lasting change because of the stubbornness of legislative leaders who didn’t want to be the ones to truly settle the issue.

    It wasn’t a liberal thing. If it had been, we wouldn’t have come as close as we did.

  13. Brad

    What the “compromise” did was take the steam out of that consensus. Which is why we haven’t achieved that moment again in the 11 years since then. It bled away just enough centrist support for action that nothing has happened since.

  14. Steven Davis

    “All those years I had written all those hundreds of pieces on the flag, and the chance for a real solution died on that one day. A few more hours of debate in the House, and we could have had something good.”

    Too bad that time was spent writing on something useful. Kind of a waste of time now that you think back at it… hours spent writing about a symbol. It’s not like a tax bill or a jobs bill. It was about a piece of cloth on a metal pole.

  15. Michael Rodgers

    Mr. Davis,
    Just “a piece of cloth on a metal pole”, you say? That’s an insult to all those people who revere — and have revered — that flag, including Sen. Glenn McConnell, President pro tempore of the SC Senate.
    And moreover, you have just committed, in this nonlawyer’s opinion, a “crime against public policy.” According to Article 3 of Chapter 17 of Title 16 of our SC Code of Laws, it is a crime to “publicly mutilate, deface, defile, defy, jeer at, trample upon or cast contempt, either by word or act, upon” that flag.
    By commenting here that that flag is just “a piece of cloth on a metal pole”, you have publicly cast contempt, by word, on that flag.
    Such behavior is a misdemeanor and, if you are found guilty, you “shall be punished by a fine not exceeding one hundred dollars or by imprisonment for not more than thirty days, or both.”
    Michael Rodgers

  16. bud

    Kind of a waste of time now that you think back at it… hours spent writing about a symbol. It’s not like a tax bill or a jobs bill. It was about a piece of cloth on a metal pole.

    Yup. I can certainly press [Like] on that point.

  17. Steven Davis

    I hope the water cannons return soon. If nothing else it’ll give many of these protestors their first shower in weeks.

  18. Michael Rodgers

    David Brooks wrote an excellent column about symbols and practicality. He argues that Chris Ward has rescued the ground zero project by focusing on practicality over symbolism: “Ward (who is inexplicably being replaced by Gov. Andrew Cuomo) rescued the ground zero project by disenchanting it, by seeing it as it is, not through shrouds of symbols — by attending closely to all the practical complexity. American politics in general could use that sort of disenchantment.”

    Regarding our state government’s flying of the Confederate flag, the practical questions are when to fly it, where to fly it, and which flag to fly. It takes a lot of work to get people to focus on these practical questions. It’s difficult to cut through all the enchantment and disenchantment.

    Instead of true discussions on these questions, what happens is what David Brooks says, “You get politicians and commentators whose views are entirely predictable because they don’t care about the specifics of any particular issue. They just care about the status war against their social enemies and the way each issue functions as a symbol in that great fight.”

    On that last point, I saw on the web a masters thesis on the political meaning of the Confederate flag, and the thesis had a column by Brad (January 30, 2000) in the Appendix. The column defined and described all the different groups of people who took a side in the discussions: Johnny Rebs, Billy Yanks, The Disaffected, White Racists, Black Racists, Nouveau Republicans, Ancien Republicans, Movement Nostalgics, Movement Wannabes, Business types, Atticus Finches, Gentle Christians, No-nonsense types, Big Dreamers, White Democrats, Black Democrats, Scramblers, and No Compromisers.

    The takeaway is what’s said in the closing lines from that piece by Brad: “Not that “compromise” is what we necessarily need, in the sense of something that makes everybody equally unhappy. But what we do need is a solution that is just and fair and makes sense to the broad consensus of South Carolinians, no matter which of the many “sides” they may embrace.”


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