This archived article was written by: Mason Paur
On September 2, protesters armed with signs and decorated with anti -war messages scrawled across their bodies (none of them clever) hit the streets. What were they protesting exactly? Some were protesting the president’s handling of the war in Iraq. Others, interestingly enough, were protesting the protesters.
The prior protest was organized by Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson. While the latter was composed completely of people protesting Andersons’s blatant abuse of his local office.
What exactly is wrong with using the mayor’s office to address national problems? When electing a mayor for a city, you are selecting an individual to represent you and deal with local problems. When this man, who is the representative for the capital of the state, publicly protests your elected president, he is misrepresenting the state as a whole. And when he addresses national problems he takes his eye off the local situation.
This is the second time that Anderson has organized a protest during a presidential visit. What exactly is special about the mayor’s protest? Absolutely nothing.
You could say it was a courageous act and a great exercise of an age old political tool. But what exactly is Anderson risking that would make him courageous? He runs no danger of being hosed, beaten or crucified. His office is secure, this is his last term as mayor, he lives in a city of little diversity and among politicians there is little risk of his future political career being damaged, locally.
As for the protest’s public impact, I describe the overall effort as political masturbation, or the exercise of political office just for the hell of it. Excuse the vulgarity, but I found it fitting. He had no original point to make; the mayor just regurgitated democratic talking points that have been ignored for the past few years or denied. Not to say that some of the complaints are valid, but just that the repetitiveness is ineffective and annoying coming from a pip squeak mayor whose opinion is as important in world politics as Pee Wee Hermans.
Were Anderson’s actions really designed to make a difference in the politics of our national community or just to grand stand? If he really wanted to make a difference he could have used the publicity created by the president’s visit to raise hot air about the president of the United States who more than likely never heard a word he said. If you are going to stick your nose where it is not wanted at least bring something to the table besides an over inflated ego.
In the end, Anderson just comes off looking like a drunk aunt at a party accusing her brother for stealing her keys.