Tuesday, September 23, 2003

The Humorous Recap of Sonny & Mike's Excellent Adventure Continues...

PART THE FOURTH -- in which we learn How Not To Stage A Protest...

So, Chuckles and I park his car, and the we begin our trek across the campus of USM looking for the protest site. Amazingly (he says, rolling his eyes as he types), the protest area was not clearly delineated. Shocking, I know, but bear with me. Mike was told via his listserv that the protest would take place at the "Main Entrance" of USM. If you've ever BEEN to USM's campus, then you realize that USM has about 17 "main entrances" -- we were unclear if the Nazis were going to be located at the main entrance by the Student Center, the main entrance by the giant marquee, the main entrance by the football field, the main entrance by the main driving thoroughfare...decisions, decisions, decisions.

Have I mentioned it was WET lately? No? Well, it was. And getting muddy and drenched while surrounded by a gaggle of 4-H alums and future slaves to the monkey grinder was NOT how I was planning on enjoying my Saturday. I'd rather have been at home, with my lazy arse on my couch, watching reruns of GODZILLA films or something. But, how many chances would I get to see humanity at its worst, all up close and personal like this? Not many. I tend to avoid racists and bigots. It's a personal thing.

So, after passing the alumni house (and not being offered a refreshing adult beverage -- and I was even inadvertently wearing USM colors!! So much for Southern hospitality...) we located the mass. Located at the front driving entrance (for maximum visualization, no doubt, as they wanted EVERYONE on hardy Street to see and hear their message), they were easily noticeable by the gaudy and hateful signs they were carrying.

God Hates Fags.

Thank God for September 11.

God Blew Up the Shuttle.

...and so on. Close to a whopping total of a DOZEN of Fred Phelps Whelps were there. A. Dozen. Fifteen at the most. And on "our" team? Tons more. Oh, to be sure, the GLBT Group hadn't taken into account the ran that was coming down (as all their signs were running and streaking -- through, mercifully, none of THEM were running and streaking -- due to the fact they used colored markers and construction paper), and the group never stayed at a constant number (due to the fact that there WAS a football game going on; hello!). But...but...there were a lot of students there.

Fraternity members would walk by and voice their support to the counter-protestors. Granted, a lot of them were drunk, but on more than one occasion, they would remark -- to the Phelpsites -- that they should get off their campus; that they weren't welcome here; that USM didn't want their [insert expletives here] hate here.

People drove by in droves, honking, cheering, and waving at the counter-protestors, voicing their support, and -- in one case -- blatantly flipping off the Phelps crew while shouting vulgarities at them.

The news crews came, and the USM students looked and sounded calm, rational, professional, and they expressed genuine pain that people could hate them so much, just because of who they were.

Students unaffiliated with any group would come by and express support for the counter-protestors, staring in genuine disbelief at the Phelps crew.

And the Phelps team? I'll not give them one iota of free space to those people. Just know that it was clear who the calm group was.

THUS ENDS CHAPTER FOUR. Coming Soon -- Chapter Five: The Endcap.

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