WBC and the Art of Protesting

Posted: December 11, 2011 by jerkmag in RANT -- politics
Tags: , , , , ,

For all my outspokeness about politics, I rarely actually get to be part of any real political protests. I support the Occupy movement wholeheartedly, but sadly my work schedule at Newhouse negates me from being able to participate as much as I’d like. However, I recently had the opportunity to participate in a political protest against the Westboro Baptist Church last weekend.

For those of you who have not heard of the Westboro Baptist Church, they are a church group who believes that because America tolerates homosexuality, that is why God has let X happen. Over the years, X has included soldiers’ deaths, Hurricane Katrina, 9/11, etc. For those of you who are unaware of their existence, I envy your ignorance. I myself had the displeasure of finding out about these guys when they decided that the entire city of Syracuse was going to Hell for worshipping Bernie Fine–a guy I’m sure most of us didn’t even know about until the scandal broke.

Bernie Fine: Future subject of many Newhouse PR case studies.

So when I found out they were coming to Syracuse, I did what any sensible person would do. I logged onto the Syracuse Humans vs Zombies Facebook page and ranted about it. To my amazement, the page lit up with excitement. Just like that, we were an entire section in the counter protest. It really was quite a sight.

There must have been 40 people at least, all ready to protest the WBC in their own unique way. There was the gay rights groups on campus, a guy in a Santa costume and a guy in a Mario costume, all with signs ranging from “God Hates the WBC” to “Is this the line for Twilight?” to “I HAVE A SIGN!” We stood together for two hours and even marched around campus, much to the bemusement of the fans attending the basketball game.

Long story short, they never showed, but regardless it was a proud moment for me. It was just amazing to see so many students allied in one cause and it really made me reflect. The protest did not fall apart simply because they did not show. It became a statement against hatred and an incredibly fun experience for those who stayed to sing along with us all. I think it showed that there’s a part in all of us that can remember who we are as Americans. For all my Republican bashing, I’d just like to let it be said that I do hope one day we will not be a nation divided against one another. I just wish it didn’t take something horrible like the WBC to really bring us all together.

-Alex Perez

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