Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Stop Thebans

Today was the day of nationwide protests against the draconian anti-abortion laws from Alabama and Georgia and such benighted places, and while a quick transporter to go there was not available, I could at least show up locally, even though around here such protests are preaching to the choir.

Publicity said that protests were to be gathering at town squares and such places, but we don't have a lot of town squares around here. A web site showing locales showed that two of the three local events would be at shopping centers. Oh, I've seen that kind of protest before. A bunch of people gather on the sidewalk to yell at passing traffic. When I'm the passing traffic, I never know what to do. I can never make out what they're yelling, anyway. Not to be one of that crowd is a strong desire of mine.

But look. The third protest is at San Jose city hall. That's a plaza, at least, if not a town square, and it was the staging area for the Women's March which I've attended twice, and they're the sponsoring group for this one, so I'll go there.

So I do, and arrive as the rain stops just before official starting time to find ... they're all gathered up against the sidewalk to yell at passing traffic. Oh well. At least there's enough - about 300 people, I'd guess, virtually no children but a few men, not as large a proportion as at the Women's March - to mill around. I park myself on one of the artificial rocks and hang around agreeably for an hour. If any media types try to interview me, I'd say, "I'm here to support the women. Why don't you go talk to some of them?" but nobody does.

The first sign I see appears to read STOP THEBANS. I figure that's some species of alien, like, I dunno, Thermians. Then I figure it out. Other signs read:



GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUNdamental human rights


PRO CHOICE, because other people's choices are none of my fncking business

which I particularly like because it pretty well sums up my own reasoning for picking this side. Once upon a time I considered abortion vs. forced pregnancy an insolvable moral dilemma. I might not like abortion, but where did I get off telling women they had to keep pregnancies because of my moral qualms? That arrogant I'm not. Eventually I decided that if I couldn't solve the dilemma, it was up to the woman who had the problem to solve it for herself. When it dawned on me that that was exactly the pro-choice position, I took that stand and have never wavered since.

Anyway, so we're all milling around and clustering by the sidewalk, and every time a passing vehicle toots its horn, everybody cheers. Especially when it's a heavy construction vehicle or, in one case, a city fire truck. Oh, so that's what drivers are supposed to do. It feels wrong to me, for whom car horn = hostile intention. But, whatever. In between cheers, a few speakers wielding highly directional bullhorns, so I don't catch more than a drift of what they're saying. But the drift sounds good.

After an hour everyone begins drifting away and the rain starts up again. I like to think that $DEITY arranged that break for us.

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