I don't recall that I explicitly wrote about how embarassed I was at last year's Global Warming protest during the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly in Portland. Something about coming to someone else's city, a city that is better environmentally than many of the cities we live in, and holding a protest march just because we are there and we are UUs and UUs like to hold protest marches, really irritated me.*
I am only slightly more ambivalent about the people who are planning protests about the "government-issued ID" issue in Fort Lauderdale. While the theoretical basis for the protest makes more sense on its face, the regulation everybody's protesting comes from the Department of Homeland Security. It's not like the people of Fort Lauderdale had anything to do with enacting it. Indeed, they probably hate it since I'm sure all conventions hate it and it is probably bad for the local economy. (You think GA's coming back to Fort Lauderdale anytime soon? Neither is anybody else, I'm guessing.) So basically you are afflicting the afflicted by protesting as you snarl their traffic and yell at them on their way to work. They didn't get to vote on this, it was imposed on them by DHS, so annoying ordinary Floridians about it is just stupid.
But you know, there is an issue, arguably closer to the hearts of UUs, where the Floridians who have our values could use some help.
When you heard about the guy in Florida who murdered his children, his ex-wife and her lover, you may have noticed that he had custody of the kids despite his threats on his ex-wife's life. "Gee," you might have thought to yourselves, "what sort of crazy state looks at a choice between an unstable, murder-threatening, whackjob and a lesbian, and gives child custody to the whackjob?"
Florida is, as far as I know, the only state in the union with a straight-up ban on gay adoption.
You know those Domestic Partnership benefits Disney gives that the Baptist church hates so much? Well, local governments and large universities have been following the trend. But now there's an anti-gay marriage amendment to the Florida constitution up for a vote that will stop the public sector institutions from offering those. That almost makes me want to draw up a sign. Well, almost.
So yeah, if you believe that protests can make a difference in this day and age, and I don't really, at least you can put your arguably wasted efforts toward influencing people actually making a decision about something important as opposed to further bothering people who had a decision imposed upon them.
* As a Washingtonian, functionally, I do understand why people come to my city from other places to protest things and I don't mind that at all. (OK, I don't mind it as long as protest groups clean up after themselves and refrain from blocking off streets and otherwise taking their righteous anger out on people just trying to get to work in the morning.) But yeah, if you're not going to be making an ass of yourself, come to DC. And let me know you're coming. I make a mean Chicken Marsala...