The more I think about it, the less sense it makes to me. On Saturday, there was a planned Tea Party rally to take place at the King Street side of the Wisconsin Capitol. It was the usual "tax day" event, made special by the appearance of Sarah Palin and also because the Capitol has been dominated over the last 2 months by intense anti-GOP/anti-conservative protesters. In fact, it was quite nervy of Sarah to show up in this town, which, even in quieter times, Republicans avoid if they can. I've been living here since 1984, and I don't remember any GOP presidential candidates ever stopping in for a rally. (By contrast, Obama has held huge rallies here twice.)
The anti-Tea party people had a rally planned for the opposite side of the Capitol, at State Street. Here's some video, shot by Meade and me, the first half of which shows the State Street rally, where the audience is able to assemble and listen to their speakers. In the video, you see a poet named Josh Healey who is mocking Sarah Palin. (What if Scott Walker and Sarah Palin had a baby?) No one is heckling him or interfering with his presentation.
At 1:55 in the video, we're suddenly at the other side of the Capitol, midway through Sarah Palin's speech, in a crowd that contains people who want to hear the speech and people who are trying to deny them that privilege. Watch:
At 2:09, you see a man in a black and yellow jacket pointing and yelling "shame, shame." After a cut, switching from Meade's camera to mine, you see this man directly in front of me. The black in the upper left corner is the brim of my hat. He had been shouting right behind me as I tried to listen to Palin, and I turned to include him in my video. He thinks he can deny me the right to show his face on camera as the person who was most interfering with my hearing the speech. The cut at 2:22 is the switch from my camera to Meade's, Meade having just arrived at my side.
At 2:25, the man says "I will knock those cameras out of your hands." Meade says, "No, you won't That would be assault." (Question: What do the letters CPD on the side of the man's hat stands for? )Clearly visible at 2:58.)) He tries to block my view with his hands and yells, "You're here to see the damned rally. Turn around and watch it." And he goes back to yelling "shame," as if I could listen to a speech with a guy yelling "shame" right behind me. Eventually, our cameras cause him to shrink back into the crowd.
Then you can see, there are people yelling "liar, liar" right next to me. The noise of vuzuvelas and "booooooo" seems to come from everywhere. Even though we are near a loudspeaker, you can barely hear Palin.
Now, my question is: What is the argument that making that noise was a worthy and good thing to do? I know these protesters believe they are the good people with the right values. So explain this to me. Now, any crowd is diverse. Maybe there were respectful anti-Palinistas. Maybe the local Madison folk were polite and the rude ones were from out of town, perhaps Chicago. Maybe the letter "C" on that man's hat stood for Chicago. CPD. Chicago PD. I don't know. You tell me. Anyone could have a CPD hat.