Friday, August 20, 2010

Why I don’t like protesters, good or bad

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I may be all for equal rights for everyone, regardless of who and/or what they are, but you’ll never see me joining a crowd of protestors or activists or anything of the sort. And the actions of the group in this video are a very good example as to why: Here’s newly-formed pro-LGBT rights group Queer Rising making a decidedly unwelcome customer service announcement at a Target store in Madison, Wisconsin, over Target Corp.’s $150,000 donation to MN Forward, a business group responsible for advertising for the gubernatorial campaign of Rep. Tom Eller (R-Minnesota), who is your typical far-Right wingnut with anti-abortion and anti-LGBT rights stances:

This stupid stunt is just full of fail. First, if you want to put pressure on Target Corp. for their decision to indirectly fund a bigoted politician, a good, effective and reasonable way to do this would not be to launch an offensive on a single outlet in the middle of nowhere. All they did was piss off the customers and the store manager, none of whom have anything to do with what Target Corp. did. All this stunt did was annoy innocent bystanders. What message did they get across? Whose minds did they change by shouting over a megaphone (and not the store-wide intercom as it would seem at a glance)? Even if they were able to convince a handful of folks not to shop at Target anymore (and I doubt they did), that’s hardly the sort of goal they ought to be going after.

Not only was this a complete exercise in futility, especially since they ended up antagonizing the wrong people, but their behavior simply stank of sheer dickishness to boot. Yes, they had the legal right to do what they did, and yes, they eventually left when the manager kicked them out, but if my reaction to this video is any indication, they came across as a bunch of stereotypical ankle-biters who see no better way to fix a problem then to annoy people. The way to get things done is to push for reform and contact those responsible for legislation, not by snarling like rabid little lemmings because a privately-owned organization chose to do whatever they wanted with their own money.

In the culture wars on equality and LGBT rights, it’s not about whether your side is right or not. (Of course, I consider Queer Rising to be on the side of good.) It’s how you come across. And making a scene like a bunch of dicks won’t make your opponents look bad or you look superior; it’ll just make you look like, well, a bunch of dicks. And I doubt that’s the image LGBT rights groups want to get across.

(via @hemantmehta)