The Power of Protest
(Photo provided by Mike Scullen)
I was just at the anti-G.W. Bush rally outside the Telus Convention Centre in Calgary, Alberta.
Here's the image: A line of predominantly white men over the age of 50 with a smattering of women and perhaps a handful of others representing other minority groups in suits wrapped around the Hyatt hotel along Stephen Avenue Mall. Across from them a group of protestors who, in contrast to the well-dress businessmen, looked like a rag-tag bunch. In-between the media, some police on bikes, some cops with cameras and others like myself who are there because we don't support Bush and his former agenda, but we also recognize that our city is built on oil dollars and, right or wrong, it is Bush's policies that made some of our city (read those who were standing in line) very wealthy over the past decade.
So here's my limited take on the whole thing - when you have a legitimate claim that Bush has committed crimes against humanity and then you put up a placard that equates what is happening in Iraq with genocide you water down your argument and make your cause look like a joke. If you want Bush on trial for what he has done and to be held accountable for his actions, make legitimate claims on the poster-board.
One of my favourite signs was one that read, "The Geneva Convention Does Not Apply to the Elite." This passed in front of me when I was standing beside Brett Wilson, CEO of First Energy and member of CBC's the Dragon's Den, standing out from the rest of the suits in his signature jeans and sneakers. There is something to be said about Calgary's elite standing in line to listen to the man who single-handedly ruined the American economy through poor foreign policy and economic decisions and who is going to be sharing his thoughts on where business should be directing their energies over the next few years.
I wonder what these people are going to take out of this presentation, what are they going to apply to their own lives, what are they going to tell their kids when they go home tonight about what they learned from the former leader of the United States?
A friend asked me if I had a ticket (which was selling for $400 each... and they say we are in a recession) would I use it. For sure I would! I want to know what he is saying inside those hallowed halls of the Telus Convention Centre. I especially want to know how the City of Calgary is justifying the expenses that are being put towards Bush's visit. Let's be clear, whether you supported Bush and his administration or not, it is your tax payer dollars that are being sucked up during his visit here.
That's my rant for the day. Back to philanthropy and such next post.