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The protesters quietly walked off. Except for one. She stood directly in front of me holding a poster high. Right smack in front of my face.
I remember, years ago, reading a review of a book lamenting our culture’s declining manners and civility, and how this rotting endangers the future of our civilization. A good argument, but I had the sense the author wrote from a position of wealth and isolation, that he was not likely to be in the trenches asking teenagers to turn down their ghetto blasters or to pick up the beer can they threw in the gutter. I always wanted to write a letter: “Dear Author, what if the barbarians don’t read your book? What then? What do we do?”
IT’S BEEN A LIFETIME inner debate: Do I assume a role of concerned citizen and tell this punk to knock it off, or do I turn my head and look out for number one? I go back and forth.
In this instance of the protestor in Helena, I went forth.
I stood up, walked up to the woman, asked her to move so we could see the speaker. She sneered.
“You can see.”
“No, I can’t. Please move.”
“You can see past me.”
“No, my vision is not warped. I really cannot see around your cardboard sign in front of my face. Please move so I and my child can exercise our right to hear the speaker.”
At which point the woman leaned forward and jabbed her elbow into my chest! (So much for “non-confrontational” protest!) Daring me to…slug her? Now, the last time I slugged someone I was in sixth grade, St. John’s Christensom School, Los Angeles, when I decked George Patterson and felt so bad about it I cried. Besides, I could see this woman was nuts, just plain nuts, and no doubt dreamed of a big fight, an arrest, newspaper and TV reports. I wasn’t going to give her the satisfaction. I turned, sat down. I looked, and she was gone.
The speeches ended. The Governor and the Director Moy and some other politicians put on a wonderful hands-on display of government in action by walking the aisles HANDING OUT FREE MONEY! A free quarter to everyone under eighteen.
As we were leaving, a group of boys came up to me and asked what happened with the protester. I told them. They thought that was pretty neat. It seems they too were irritated by the six people using this venue to exercise their right to free speech. I like ten year olds who know their manners.
“What are they doin’ here? What do they want?”
I told them I didn’t know.
A woman passed by and thanked me. “I’m glad somebody did something.” Her husband gave me the Montana cowboy nod.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?