Walking downtown yesterday morning, my first thought was: "it's amazing how easy it is to completely shut down a city." Congratulations to the security planners for such a thorough job. Now, please never do it again. It's unnatural walking around downtown Pittsburgh at noontime while the streets are speckled with walkers and way more bikes than cars. Police outnumber ordinary citizens. But at least we know how Pittsburgh will look in the Apocalypse after we run out of oil. Maybe that's the best protest demonstration pulled off?
So far, most of the protesters heeded the call to stay away from the center of the action, displaying their banners and masks far from the center of the action - permitted or not. 500 people in Lawrenceville insisted on protesting without a permit and ended up being dispersed by tear gas. There are just a few pockets of peaceful protest occurring downtown.
My favorite protest so far?
The SurvivaBall guys. Their "gated community for one" is intended to mock selfish methods of dealing with Climate Change and oil shortages, calling out Exxon and Halliburton. They walk around in their big expensive bubbles making fools of themselves. What better way to protest than by making people laugh?
A close second?
The Steelers heads of state battling against poverty.
One day down, and some say the worst is behind us in terms of protests. The self-proclaimed anarchists got out of hand yesterday. 66 folks were arrested. Many windows were broken. But insurance claims will cover the damages at PNC bank and Boston Market. At Pamela's diner, supposedly protesters returned with money to cover the damages. Before you get too critical of the protesters, remember the damage results from the Super Bowl. The damage wrecked on the city to draw attention to the fact that we won a football game. As opposed to damage which draws attention to issues like Climate Change and the situation in Darfur.
And maybe if we as Pittsburgh'ers spend 2 days thinking about these issues and learning the names of our world's leaders instead of the Steelers, then maybe we'll learn something from the G20. If the G20 was anywhere else, how much would we care whether the US, UK and France were taking a stand against Iran? Or whether the developed countries are considering stopping subsidies for fossil fuels in developed countries or Tibet's or Ethiopia's status?
It's quiet out there downtown. Maybe it's a good day to stop and talk to some of those protesters and learn about their causes. And if all else fails, save up your money and buy a SurvivaBall for the next Apocalypse.
The Hubris of Social Science
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