On April 5, valued lies.com contributor Sven sent in the following report of his participation in a freeway-overpass protest of Governator Schwarzenegger. I’ve had kind of a hectic week, and didn’t get around to posting it until now; sorry about that. Anyway, awesome job, Sven! Here it is:
While it hasn’t been getting much media attention, you’re probably aware of our California Governor’s fundraising and petition efforts to force a “Special Election” costing our state $70 million tax-dollars. I’m sure by now you’ve seen the petitioners, as they seem to be everywhere. With Jenny being a teacher, we personally feel threatened by what the Governator is doing to the teachers, firefighters, police officers, nurses, and other state employees by trying to take away their retirement pensions, as well as his half-baked “Merit Pay for Teachers” idea. Perhaps he thinks punishing these state employees is a good way to balance his bankrupt budget. In our view, driving teachers out of the profession will only further damage our schools. Classes sizes have grown too large, and we need more teachers, not fewer.
I guess if the petitioners were a legitimate grass-roots effort, I wouldn’t be bothered so much by them. But knowing that they are getting paid $5 for each person they con into signing their petitions really infuriates me. I’ve tried arguing with them in front of the grocery store that what they are doing is wrong, but I usually just end up feeling worse for it. Instead my wife and I feel limited now on where we can shop. If we see any sign of the Arnold Brigade, we usually go to another store.
So this last Friday, Jenny and I tried something different. While I believe it only got brief mention in our local news, Democracy for America had organized a protest against what the Governor was doing. While we’ve never done anything like it before, we decided to participate in their efforts by “Freeway Blogging.”
We went to one of the many overpasses where the protests were to take place around 4:45 pm, just in time for rush hour. When we got their, I was at first a little put off. There were only two other individuals at the Palomar Airport overpass of the 5 Freeway in Carlsbad protest site. While I was hesitant, Jenny pointed out: “we’ll double their numbers!” So we went and met up with Bryan and Sue, who had been their for a short while with their protest signs bungied to the fence of the bridge. We contributed our pathetic little 11 x 17 sign: “The cost of $wartzRenegers Special Election: $70,000,000.00”, and bungied it to the fence as well. We protested for an hour or so, and we found it much more rewarding than arguing with the petitioners. While we did receive a handfull of one-fingered salutes, most of the responses we received from the oncoming stop-and-go traffic was actually quite positive. Among some of them:
- Nearly half the cars honked, waved, or gave us a thumbs up to our Anti-Swarzenegger propaganda
- A Carlsbad Policeman and CHP stopped separately to say that they supported our efforts, and of course agreed with our protest, but that they had received a phone call from a “concerned citizen.” They asked what our signs said, and let us know we could not “bungie” them to the fence. As long as we held on to them, we were with in the law. We thanked them with a smile as they left us to continue our protest.
- a handfull of cars gave us the “heavy-metal” hand signal, and one gave a shout of “Anarchy”. I took these to be positive gestures.
- One passerby shouted “Show us your [breasts]” — although they didn’t use the word breasts. I believe they were referring to Jenny, although I suppose they could have been talking to me. Again, we took this as a positive statement.
Attached is a rather blurry photo of us taken by Bryan’s wife as she drove past on the freeway:
I believe it is at this moment that we are talking to the very polite CHP officer (not visible). In all, it was a lot more fun than I would have expected, however futile our efforts might be to stop Arnie. It seems anyone with $50 million dollars to spend and an axe to grind can get whatever they want on the ballot in our state.
Since you wont hear much about it in the regular media, check www.arnoldwatch.org for more info on what our Governor has been doing. Also, daily kos has some interesting reports on events at a California Target store. And later today 10,000 nurses are protesting in San Fransisco.
If you think it worthy, feel free to post our story to lies.com — it would really make our day. Since I’m a designer, and not a writer, edit it however you like. Thanks!
Update: Later, Sven forwarded this link to me: CA Gov. 2006: The tipping point. Shortly after that, he sent me the following message:
Victory! at least this round:
Perhaps our protest wasn’t so futile. I guess Arnold got the message when he had angry nurses, firemen (firepeople?), off-duty police, and teachers pounding on his limo as he was leaving his fundraiser in S.F. the other night.