Sunday, August 9, 2009
So... Where are the Robocops?
The other day, I posted about the Teabaggers going all loop-de-loo at various congressional townhalls, and I said I had some admiration for them getting off their duffs and actually making their voices heard. As misguided as they were and are.
But it occurred to me that there was and is something distinctly odd about the fact that these Teabaggers are going around shitting on these Congressmembers and shutting down their townhalls, and it's not the fact that they are being incited by the likes of Beck and Limbaugh and Hannity or that they are being used as tools by the same insurance cartel that's screwing them and everyone else.
It is odd that there is only a minimal police presence at these events, and there have been almost no arrests (for the all purpose "disorderly conduct," let alone the direct threats and incitement and violence), nobody's been tasered, gassed or bludgeoned, and there are no Robocops whatsoever.
Compare and contrast with last year's overwhelming police presence at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in Denver and St. Paul last summer.
The video above is of one incident in St. Paul, in which peaceful street dancers were confronted with a phalanx of police who gassed and clubbed and arrested them.
Dozens of people were preventatively detained, people who had done nothing illegal, and some of them were charged with "terrorism."
Homeland Security, the FBI, and god only knows what other agencies of the National security state were deployed en masse to shut down legitimate, protected protest, through interaction with local and regional police forces acting in concert.
Nothing like that is happening now.
I admired the protesters in Denver and St. Paul because they were getting off their own duffs and putting themselves at substantial physical and other risk. Hundreds were arrested, thousands gassed, and all of them had their civil liberties massively impaired by an overweaning and frequently brutal police presence. So far as I know, nothing more radical than breaking a window and overturning a newsrack or garbage can (all of which could well have been done by provocateurs) was attempted by the crowds protesting at the conventions.
Yet here we have dozens of congressional townhalls throughout the country being beset by howling mobs, mobs whipped to a frenzy by right wing talk radio and television hotheads (who call themselves "entertainers"), who threaten and intimidate, and otherwise disturb the peace, proudly. What they were intending, and who their organizers were were all known well in advance, and what they have done has followed the plan laid out long ago. Yet so far as we know, there is no National Security State investigation and surveillance, there is no preventive detention, no mass arrests, no Robocop presence, hardly any police presence at all.
Clearly an order has gone out for the authorities to stand down. The Teabaggers apparently know they are at no risk whatsoever. They can do as they will. And they are doing it. While the police just watch.
If they are there at all.
What a wonderful example of Authoritarian America's disparate enforcement of "rules", "law" as it is known.
And even stranger than the absence of police and authority at these townhalls is that Americans just accept that DFHs will be subject to the full power of the authorities whenever they gather to protest, whereas the salt of the earth, good American right wing wackos can do what they want whenever they want and nothing at all will happen to them -- except cheers from their sponsors.