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"Losing my faith in humanity ... one neocon at a time."

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Remaining Consistent: Deacon Fails to "Get It"

posted by Jazz at 1/16/2005 10:26:00 AM

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Last night at Power Loons, Deacon inadvertently gave some blogosphere air time to a group of lawyers who are making a stand on principles which he fails to grasp. It's a short post, so let's include the entire thing, with no editing, and try to help set him straight.
An attorney at a Washington D.C. law firm (not mine) told me that her firm is closed for inauguration day, but a number of attorneys plan to work anyway as a protest against another Bush term. To me, this raises an interesting philosophical question: can behavior that is indistinguishable from ordinary conduct (I'll be working part of that day too) be a protest if those against whom it is directed (a) don't know about it; (b) can't be affected by it, even indirectly; and (c) would have no reason to be other than indifferent about the behavior even if they knew of it?
These are three questions which can be readily answered.

First, can it be a protest if those against whom it is directed "don't know about it."

The answer to this one ties in to all three questions, and may be the largest portion of what Deacon fails to understand. "Inauguration day" is not a federal or religious holiday. It's just a normal work day which also happens to be the day of the inauguration. If you are opposed to Bush being coronated again, why on Earth would you want to honor it by taking a holiday? Perhaps, just perhaps, this isn't only a protest against Bush, but also against the partners who are affecting the operation of the business as some sort of political rally for the administration. You don't get to speak for the political agenda of all your employees.

The other part of the answer lies in the blindness Deacon shows to protests of any form. Many protests are held against many things, some not even political, where the target of the protest is unaware. Why? Because it demonstrates solidarity among the protestors, promotes a feeling of kinship against a common enemy, and makes other people aware of what they are protesting and why. We are constantly reminded that Bush doesn't read newspapers, watch television, and in general is mostly unaware of what goes on in the country except as filtered through his closest handlers. That doesn't stop people from protesting against the madman anyway, and it gets out the message of their dissent.

To the second portion of Deacon's question... if the person "can't be affected by it, even indirectly."

Again, who is the message directly addressing? Perhaps Bush, but also perhaps the partners who made this decision. Something like this might give them a hint about not mixing their business with their politics where it directly affects their employees who might not share their views.

And the last portion.. if the person "would have no reason to be other than indifferent about the behavior even if they knew of it?"

That's a fairly large assumption. You may not be affected by any protest or modify your behavior because of it. (Lord only knows that Bush doesn't concern himself with the opinions of Americans.) But that doesn't mean that your reaction is indifference. It's more likely something between anger and disdain.

The last and most definitive answer to Deacon's question, in general, is to point out that he has now defeated his own purpose. Deacon has just taken what would have otherwise been nothing more than a handful of lawyers from one office taking issue with something their employer was doing, and broadcast it to the world. That's right, Deacon. Even if they remain anonymous, you just put their cause and their actions out on "the best blog in the world" (according to Time Magazine) so that your tens of thousands of readers are suddenly aware of it, along with all of the readers of every blog, pro or con, who links to it, quotes it, trackbacks it, etc. In one fell swoop of the virtual pen you've accomplished a million times more for them than they could have ever done on their own.

It's just a pity that you didn't include their names and the name of the firm. Then all of those nasty "intellectuals" around the country could have kicked in and sent them a fruit basket on Inauguration day.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who noticed this lovely little slip up. Doug Petch gives a shorter answer to Deacon's question. "No, but they will feel better about themselves."

Power Loons devotee Jordon Golson thinks it's all "a waste of time."

The "neo-progressive" similarly stands in line for his "I don't get it" t-shirt.