Protesting our right to break your laws, Part I

(Yesterday, I said I would probably be blogging pretty lightly or not at all today because of work demands. I ended up leaving for work around 8:30 yesterday morning, returning home at 11:30 last night, and I have to leave again at 7:15. But it occurred to me that my absence could be construed as endoring the one-day boycott in support of illegal aliens, and I could not let that happen.)

On the weekends, I tend to listen to NPR on the radio. Regular radio is usually pretty dull, and on the weekends Public Radio is a bit more relaxed, casual, and fun. That’s when they play Car Talk, and on Weekend Edition Sunday they have Will Shortz and the weekly puzzle, so I lend them my ear.

Yesterday, though, as well as this morning, the news is filled with sob stories about the one-day strike in support of illegal aliens. They are bringing us tales of businesses saying they will sacrifice a day’s revenue and shut down. Workers are fearing losing their jobs if they take the day off. There are rumors flying that ICE (Immigration Control and Enforcement) will be holding massive roundups of suspected illegal aliens, and some folks want ICE to issue assurances that no such thing will happen. (To their credit, ICE has so far refused to issue any such promises.)

What’s behind all this? I have a strong suspicion it can be summed up in Mad TV’s old joke dating service, “Lowered Expectations.”

Public Manipulation 101: Make a grand announcement of a huge public rally. Then have some of your people attempt to call it off. Have others start issuing grave warnings of just how horrible it will be if everyone you expect to protest actually does it. As the date of the event draws closer and closer, ratchet up the tales of how “torn” many people are about whether they dare to participate or not, until the whole issue of whether enough people will have the courage of their convictions to risk so much to attend.

Then, when the day comes, you’re guaranteed that you can declare victory. Regardless of how many show up, of how much of an effect you have, you can count all those hordes of folks who would have shown up, if they simply had not had to worry about losing their jobs, being arrested, or both.

Or, as I said back on April 13,

…I strongly suspect that as May 1 looms closer and closer, the organizers will find some excuse to cancel it publicly — while at the same time quietly encouraging it to go forward. That way, they can point to any inconveniences as “the price of having even a few rogue strikes,” hinting that that is the mere tip of the iceberg as to what could have happened had they actually gone on ahead.

How do I find it so easy to predict their actions? It’s simple. I just ask myself “how could I best achieve my goals with a minimum of effort, if I were not encumbered by conscience, ethics, scruples, integrity, or fear of the media exposing my scheme?” When I think of it that way, it’s usually pretty obvious.

So, even though I’m running on about four hours sleep, I’m NOT going to skip on blogging today. I’m going to haul my exhausted butt down to work, and I’ll put in as close to a full day as I can. Because I am NOT on strike, dammit.

Then I’ll come home and lapse into a coma.

Protesting our right to break your laws, Part II
Weekend Caption Contest™ Winners


  1. Overworm May 1, 2006
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