I’m sure I was not alone in my concern that the YouTube mic check vids were skewing very heavily toward evil nasty Republicans (Karl Rove, Eric Cantor, Scott Walker, Michelle Bachman, Donald Rumsfeld) which was not helping me with the ‘OMG, there are so many fucking liberals in this movement’ problem. So I have to give Occupy New Hampshire proper respect for mic checking the president himself today.
Also, congrats to them for keeping their concise, if only intended, message very timely and very much in the original spirit of the movement. They did not trot out liberal talking points, a tendency at OWS protests which has also aggravated my hopelessness and changelessness problem. The text of their mic check as quoted on the Time.com Swampland blog is below:
Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested. While bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights. Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.
Unfortunately, however, Obama deftly handled his first mic check very much the way he has handled OWS so far, which is to do nothing while would-be brownshirts shut people up on his behalf. In this case, the audience shut the Occupiers down by chanting “Let’s get fired up” and then chanting his name like a particularly dimwitted group of authoritarian cultists. Obama seized the opportunity to preeningly feign openness to the protesters, even though very little of their intended message had been heard. From the New York Daily News account:
“I appreciate you guys making your point. Let me go ahead and make mine, all right?”
Obama continued the speech uninterupted, even referencing the frustration of protesters at one point as an example of a profound disatisfaction that the American Dream “feels like that’s slipping away, and it’s not the way things are supposed to be.”
Regrettably, Obama completely won the round, right down to co-opting the protesters’ message to segue into his usual military-mongering. Things became so calm that you might think police had removed the protesters. No, as it happens, seems at least one of them was dually-afflicted with both Stockholm Syndrome and social networking disease. Tom LaValley, in an interview with The Washington Post (which has subsequently removed LaValley from the story), said
“He looked us in the eye, let us speak,” LaValley, 23, said. “He didn’t drag us out, didn’t have security come get us.”
How low can expectations go? Very low apparently. Complicity in police brutality is apparently not a dealbreaker for LaValley, who told The Post “he was still undecided but likely to vote for Obama in 2012.”
LaValley also said that, following their silencing by the crowed, he and his colleagues became preoccupied with getting the mic check on Twitter and Youtube.
Some lessons here: Keep the message short. Persist until the police escort you out. Have a backup mic check group in place, if possible. Leave the uploads until after you’re busted.
Most importantly, get over your fucking Stockholm Syndrome. Everybody.