On the evening of July 1, 2013, in reaction to Texas Governor Rick Perry calling a second special session to try to pass a handful of bills that couldn’t pass during the normal session, particularly SB5 (which have now become HB2 & SB9) there was a protest and march through downtown Austin, TX.
I imagine a decent number of the folks gathered at the front of the capitol were left over from the day’s earlier protest, and, according to the Texas Tribune, the biggest protest in “recent history.”
However, the turnout for this march might have maxed out at about 400 tired people.
And like most people in the country, the mass was absurdly passive.
While a gathering of 5,000+ peacefully taking over a downtown lawn draws attention, a herd of 400 marching downtown at a time when the area is deserted seems like, as much of most things coming out of Austin, just a poor interpretation of what a march should be.
I don’t know. I might be saying this still high from last Tuesday’s events but I’ll be the asshole that will be honest and say that last night’s march was the most incredibly boring protest I’ve ever encountered.
Maybe it was lack of signs.
Maybe it was the color orange.
Maybe it was odd that EVERYBODY looked the same.
But I think the fact that nobody was downtown was a major factor.
And also, no matter where I stood in the mass, the only chanting being said was a call-and-response: “Who’s choice?” “Our choice!”
For 2 hours.
And since when do we thank cops for NOT beating and pepper-spraying us?
The sentiment of the evening’s events was nice.
And I absolutely support the cause.
But I think given the atmosphere in which this march took place,
(In this case, the lack thereof,) the power and brevity leaves me unsatisfied.
When the Dems are a minority in the House and Senate and the 2/3rd’s majority rule is thrown out, some more drastic/effective matters need to happen.
Using elements of the same “democratic process” that is allowing this charade of a political process to continue seems futile and will lead to an overall disappointment.
There was nothing to resist.
Resisting is taking the streets.
Not calling the Austin Police Department and asking for an escort.
Then thanking them for doing an incredible job blocking intersections..
The latter being the most embarrassing example of civil disobedience to be associated with.
Not because it didn’t involve pepper spray, tear gas, or violence, but because it was so incredibly passive.
And I think the same will happen in this case.
Folks are far too passive in this city.
And ultimately, as I’ve witnessed in the past, they’re afraid of becoming a casualty of being involved what “real democracy looks like.”
But I hope I’m wrong.
I really really hope I’m wrong.
More photos can be seen on my Flickr account or by clicking here: