Pittsburgh does surprise, it is true, for beyond his yuppie appearance, it is a hub for culture, higher education and top research. However, the yuppie appearance is rooted in a much deeper reality for your average "Picsburgher" had lived in the area for generations and is a little bigot, racially biased and dwells on the border between a moderate conservative and a moderate liberal. Not to mention that his average age is above the average US age and that it is still has, among all cities of its size, the lowest immigrant population. Thus big demonstrations and organized protests are quite uncommon for this city, and the protesters that the G-20 summit brought along are quite a reason to worry for the locals. as one of my co-workers noted" If they could not handle the Super Bowl , why did they imagine that they could handle a G-20 summit"?
So, on one side the city has to allow protestants -though a few Greenpeace members are already in jail- and on the other side it is totally unprepared to face the protests. And I do not mean logistics, I mean mentality.
for as my Earthwalking friend notes:
"the only protests left in this tamed and polymerized world are full of crazy anarchists and undercover policemen , disguised as members of the left. But, among them, there are serious resolute activists taking big chances. The protesting groups represent a diversity of opinions, including those belonging to Thomas Merton, the most peaceful among Americans, the ones who organized the 2005 protest against the war in Irak.[...]
Leftists from all over the world are hosted nowadays in your average american home , some of them are even sleeping in churches, in sleeping bags"
I spoke about her post with two of my neighbors and they did agree that some of the protesters are very serious and they do have a point to make, however their attitudes are no less panicky. On one side, they do not have the experience of such events. On the other side, they are just expressing the worries of the average American, worries voiced during a school discussion on the impact of the Patriot Act on the average citizen's right to privacy. We do voice our freedom, but we are also scared that the most unreasonable among us are free as well.Many more people seemed more scared of losing their lives than they were of losing their freedom, not knowing that to lose your freedom can be worse than losing your life...
The issue raised by the need to deal with Factions, especially the most violent among them, is as old as the United States itself, maybe older. In his 1787 article (the Federalist #10), James Madison stresses the importance of factions for democracy. "Liberty is to faction what air is to fire". Beautiful metaphor -- Factions , like fire, are as necessary to our life as liberty or air is. For fire is the source of progress and we could not imagine our life without . But fire can also be a source of pain, destruction and death. And so are factions-they stand for our individuality, for our beliefs , our passions that move us forward but also push us to destruction.