The Games opened yesterday with the start of what I suspect will persist throughout the Games — agitators doing everything they could to dampen the party.
As the ceremonies occurred, protesters tried to push their way there, and the inevitable clash with authorities ensued. Two cops suffered minor injuries, but no protesters were harmed.
Here’s my thinking, okay?
Vancouver’s a leftist city. If you want to live here, you probably shouldn’t be a conservative-minded person. We don’t have a lot for you that way.
Greenpeace was born here. Charities and human rights organizations thrive here, volunteerism and activism are big. Lonely Planet claims our Commercial Drive is even Canada’s counterculture capital.
And I fucking love it.
I love living in a city that believes in a better world. I love living in a city that wants to be a part of the solution, that embraces the arts and humanities.
Maybe the city management needs to get on page with those qualities more, but I believe they have been gradually headed there — in the last decade anyhow, more so in the last year.
Mayor Larry Campbell began some good things in Vancouver. He quit, the post went to the next victor, Sam Sullivan, who I really hated in a lot of ways, but Sam continued Insite, the safe-injection heroin site responsible for the lot of positive developments on our Downtown East Side, the area notorious for heroin, AIDS, crime, and third-world poverty. Now we have “Mayor Gregor” Robertson, who’s already trying to make small but important changes on the East Side. More beds are available for homeless, a lofty environmental plan has been born, and the city’s on the verge of its most leftist, humane era ever. IMHO, anyhow.
People around the world NEED to realize that Vancouver’s Downtown East Side is a horrible place to have to live your life — in some ways — but it’s also a community with a strong and vibrant heart. A broken society doesn’t mean the broken people can’t offer an amazing contribution to society — and it’s breathtaking to see the positive steps the DES has taken in the seven years since the Games were won by Vancouver.
There have been a LOT of improvements. And there’s SO far to go yet.
So, I absolutely support ANYONE’s endeavour to improve the DES. I support a lot of issues the “protesters” are rallying against during these games.
I just don’t support their methods.
I can HATE the way their fight is being waged while supporting the causes at heart — not as rabidly as they do, but enough that I feel their voice is necessary.
So, sure, I support the arguments to an extent, but what don’t I support?
I don’t appreciate angry protesters who shout down opponents. I despise activists who have moral superiority because of the virtue of their political views. I deplore people who seek remedies to their causes while failing to respect the rights and allowances of others they deem as being “better off”.
I hate hypocrisy.
And that’s a lot of what I see in the “professional protester” class of agitator here in Vancouver.
It crushes me!
THESE ARE SERIOUS ISSUES. They need to be heard! They need to be shown! The world needs to see that we have a homeless problem, because it’s the rest of the country shipping their homeless here for our “mild” climate that has caused our problem. Our federal government NEEDS to be accountable to all its citizens, and BC can’t foot the bill for “transplanted problems” from other provinces.
Yesterday, the agitators decided they wanted to BLOCK the torch relay. So what’d they do? They made the torch relay have to divert from the worst area of the Downtown East Side.
For other Olympics, they try to avoid their shame. Here in Vancouver, we had a route planned that would run through the most impoverished areas of the city, including ALL our citizens, showing the world a city can be fractured and yet together.
Until, that is, protesters decided they knew what was right for the whole of the Downtown East Side, and they blocked the torch, prevented the route from going through, and instead of torch commentators around the world saying, “Hey, wow, Vancouver’s showing us their famed DES, the torch is running past homeless people, being carried BY a homeless man!”, we found ourselves just talking about these asshole protesters.
And that’s the problem. The protest isn’t even about the people anymore, it’s about hearing their own voices.
When you fight your fight with little or no regard to what’s important to other people that you’re NOT fighting for — instead of fighting FOR something, you start fighting against everything.
Please, if you see wrongs in the world, SAY SOMETHING about it. I goddamned well do, and you know it.
But don’t disrespect others. Don’t hurt others. Don’t shout down people to their face. Don’t damage property. Don’t assume you have the moral high ground. Don’t mock others for disagreeing. Don’t think you’re always in the right.
Don’t be a fucking asshole.
I mean, dude, it’s a short list.
Fight from a place of respect. Fight from a place of righteousness, but not arrogance. Allow that society can be a place that accommodates many viewpoints.
And once you master how to fight properly, please, for the love of god, don’t go developing shortsighted vision.
Don’t only look at how far you have left to go for succeeding, but remember how much worse it was before you began.
I’ve lived here. I know the DES is a bad, bad place sometimes. But it’s a far better place than it was. There’s hope there now. There’s change happening. Yes, it’s slow, but any productive, longterm change does take a long time to implement if it’s going to be done well.
Life’s filled with enough assholes. I don’t care if you have great political causes — if you disrespect people to make your point, you’re an asshole.
Yesterday, I stopped to listen to protest speeches at the Art Gallery. I’m glad I did! I appreciate their viewpoint, I admired their passion!
But when I saw protesters crossing the Art Gallery lawn and yelling ragefully at pro-Games people, my appreciation stopped.
Then, my “Who the FUCK do YOU think YOU are?” mentality took over, and I stopped caring what they said. I stopped supporting it.
And these issues are far too important to be fought by people so intent on angering the other side.
That’s why I’m so pissed off. I want the fucking idiot agitators to shut the fuck up so the people who know how to passionately argue their point, who are intelligent and accessible, who know the issues and don’t use propaganda to spur their points — I want THEM to get screen-time on coverage. I want THEM to be heard by the world. I want THEM to offer opposing views that make people think worldwide.
When people HEAR these issues we have, they have empathy. This is not a hard-sell set of social problems! You tell someone “Hey, this guy can only afford a $200 room every month, it’s crawling with roaches, the water’s unsafe, people are shooting crack, heroin, and leaving needles everywhere” — it’s pretty hard for them to go, “Oh, whatever.” The reaction is the same, that we all deserve better.
The MESSAGE isn’t a hard sell.
So why are these assholes selling it so hard, assailing others, disrespecting anyone who isn’t with them? They’re the George Bush “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” types of the protesting world.
But agitators, they’re not going to get an audience. They’re not going to win this fight. I don’t know if they’re even gonna make any headway at all.
And that’d be a fucking tragic crime. The world’s here. Get your shit together, make your point constructively, and please, let’s gain something from all this and find a way to attain a new goal we need to work together toward as a city.
Spraying pepperspray at cops when there’s no fucking reason to… what’s that accomplish?
There’s protesting and there’s agitating. It’s time BC’s demonstrators figure that out and stop including the assholes who make them all look bad. ‘Cos we all know it’s a small percentage who are this brand of fuckwit, and it’s unthinkable that they’re preventing these protests from resonating.
Don’t like my viewpoint? Fine. Don’t tell me I’m against freedom of speech. I’m not. Have you seen the amount of balls-all-out postings I’ve written on politics and everything else? I value my freedoms.
I’m not against freedoms.
I’m against selfish assholes who think they’re morally superior to everyone that disagrees with them — whether they’re on the right OR the left.
That’s what I’m against.
[Photos are shot by me.]