Positive protest in the fog of reaction

I don’t believe in destructive protesting or spreading negativity.

I’m not a University student, just an average citizen who reads the Daily to try to get a handle on what the up-and-coming generation of our country’s leaders and workers are thinking.  

I have a question of clarification about Monday’s Daily guest column “Protests and funeral laws” by Andy Davis and Andrew Borene. They state, correctly, that Fred Phelps’ crew from Westboro is protesting soldiers’ funerals. I often wonder what Phelps’ real agenda is – for people who dislike homosexual activity so much, they sure like to describe it in detail and draw pictures of it. However, they also state that there are protesters at funerals with an “anti-war agenda.” I haven’t seen any reports in the news, and the only reports I’ve found are connected to Sean Hannity, which incorrectly equated Phelps’ group, who is decidedly pro-war, with anti-war liberals.

If there actually have been protests by anti-war groups at funerals, I would like to know about it. That would be uncalled for and morally reprehensible. I consider myself a liberal, but a commonsense one.

For example – I’m anti-nuke, because it’s bringing an elephant gun to shoot a gnat, it makes a huge hole and a big mess and seems like a dirty waste of whatever you hit. I dislike gas-guzzling sport utility vehicles and giant, customized F150 pickups, because they are never used to their potential – all that monster horsepower, all that strength, and you’re using it as a glorified grocery-getter?

I have participated in protests and demonstrations over the years, but only when it seemed like there was a point to be made, something that I believed in and felt there would be a positive impact. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar, they say – I don’t believe in negative, destructive protesting or protesting just to make noise. How does overturning a trash bin or breaking a store window sway people to your side? What positive outcome do you expect when you harass people at a funeral?

If there is a factual basis for their comparison, please let us know. If not, if they just heard the Hannity nonsense and bought it as fact; let the University know also. The voting public needs to know how easily those who seek public office can be swayed by incendiary reactionaries. I’d like to know that those who seek public office are able and willing to wait until all facts are checked before taking action or making statements.

Mary Switras is an Anoka resident. Please send comments to [email protected].