There’s something about the month of May that brings out the crazies. Take a second and look around, listen to what the people around you are talking about, and really think about it. It wouldn’t surprise me if after a while you started to think that all the pretty colors and pleasant aromas wafting off the freshly bloomed “May flowers” have forced them to repress the few rational thoughts their mind is capable of producing, and throw intelligence to the wind.
I normally go out of my way to avoid May’s antics, figuring it’s better to avoid stupidity rather than meet it head on. However, last week, this wave of irrationality brutishly forced its way into my life and made one thing clear – the May crazies can no longer be ignored.
Imagine, if you will, that you’ve decided to be a responsible student and set aside some time in your day to catch up on your ever-increasing amount of assigned reading. You’ve voluntarily come to campus on a Friday, gotten a nice big cup of coffee and made your way into Kings Lounge for a few hours of quiet study.
Things are going great when suddenly, in the distance, you hear the sound of angry voices shouting in unison. As the voices draw closer your eyes drift down to the date displayed on your laptop screen. You start packing up your things, realizing that your attempts to continue on reading will be futile. It’s May Day, a fact that you won’t be able to ignore for much longer.
Within moments, the previously quiet study lounge has been filled with dozens of raucous protesters, holding up signs displaying “Fuck the Police” and several messages about the Zapatistas in Mexico, all following the lead of a megaphone wielding organizer screeching out stereotypical rally chants into the device. You attempt to ask one of the protesters what’s going on, but get no response. All you can gather is that May Day, also known as International Workers‘ Day, has apparently gotten these students riled up to the point of throwing temper tantrums inside the Memorial Union.
Before long the crowd disperses, going forth to other areas of the MU just as nosily and offensive as they have come. This is when the real irony of the situation hits. Despite a lounge full of UC Davis students expressing their displeasure with the interruption, the crowd has the audacity to chant “Whose university? Our university.“
Anyone who has read my column before can probably guess that I’m not a big fan of protests. In fact, if you remember correctly, it was this columnist who pointed out the flaw in Lieutenant Governor John Garamendi saying that students should “rise up and raise hell” if they want to see positive change for the UC system.
Honestly, is this really the way our society expects young people to get what they want? Are we really saying that if you don’t like something all you need to do is kick and scream like and infant until someone pays attention? I’d like to think not.
This May Day protest, like all other protests, places all its hopes for success behind one method – hijacking the personal space of others.
If anyone who participated in last Friday’s protests is reading, pay attention, this next part is for you. All I learned from this International Workers‘ Day flash mobbing was that not a single person in that crowd was willing to sit down and have an intelligent discussion about whatever it is they were fighting for. In fact, they weren’t even able to present their arguments in a manner that would allow me to answer the question of “Why should I care?”
Instead they stuck to the “tried and true” method of invading the personal space of those around them, raising their voices to the point that they think is impossible to ignore any longer. Well, I hate to burst bubbles, but after watching this mob storm two crowded MU areas, I still have no idea what you were fighting for.
Perhaps next time you wish to spread the word about a cause you should sit down at a table and discuss you views, as opposed to climbing on top of one and shouting them at me through a megaphone.
JAMES NOONAN does want to make these protesters think they’ve failed completely. I mean, he still hasn’t finished any of that reading. Feel free to vent your views at firstname.lastname@example.org.