Nestled between the Telus Convention Centre and the Hyatt, my office is effectively ground zero for all of the parades, protests and parties that roll through the area. Over the last eight years, this has included the G8 Summit, Bill Clinton, the World Fantasy Convention,
and, this week, George W. Bush. You can tell he was a little bit nervous, as he picked i) an oil town, ii) Canada, and iii) St. Patrick's day to deliver his first speaking engagement as a civilian. But, that wasn't enough to stop the protesters, who we had to listen to for an hour as we waited in line to get inside to hear Bush speak.
Now, I'm all for freedom of speech and the value of a good peaceful protest. And there should be no shortage of good material to protest about when it comes to Dubyah. But the crowd disappointed, offering little by way of intelligent protest. These people that apparently have enough on their hands to hang outside in the cold for a few hours in the middle of the day (yes, I was also outside, but that's different because I was 'entertaining clients') but not enough time to read the news or to brainstorm some clever protest material or to get organized.
One faction of protesters cried out against the war, the economic crisis, globalisation, the Israel/Palestine conflict, and fascism. At the same time, another group was working hard to expose the Skull and Bones and the Freemasons, that 9/11 was an inside job, that the prophet Jeremiah has foreseen all of this, and that Calgary has Marxist-Leninists. There were the randoms, with 'Kill more babies' and the oh-so-clever-and-informative play-on-words 'Buck Fush'. A fourth faction was busy spewing hate at the working class (those of us in line to get in). For the first time, I found myself to be the object of a large crowd's scorn:
Hey all you suits and your AIG bonuses!
Guilty by virtue of my gainful employment. Shame on me!