In my post about Philip Roth, I pointed out that he characterizes Republicans as “brutal” (unlike Democrats, of course). I just saw the same theme crop up in an article about the insanity that promises to envelope Berkeley’s town council meeting on Tuesday as the town considers rescinding its ill-thought out letter to the Marines. To begin with, there may be a lot of people there:
Hundreds of protesters from across the country and the political spectrum are expected to descend on City Hall with bullhorns, drums, banners and plenty of vitriol in anticipation of the City Council’s debate over the Marines’ recruiting station in town.
The ruckus started last week when the council voted to send a letter to the Marines, calling them “unwanted intruders” for opening the recruiting center on Shattuck Avenue last year. At the same time, the council granted Code Pink a parking space and a sound permit to make it easier for the peace group to conduct protests outside the center.
On Monday, Councilwomen Betty Olds and Laurie Capitelli introduced an item for this week’s meeting, asking the city to retract its statements about the Marines and clarify that the city is against the war, not against the armed forces.
“We’re starting to get people coming in from all over the U.S.,” said Catherine Moy, executive director of Move America Forward, one of several pro-military groups planning an all-day protest Tuesday at Maudelle Shirek City Hall. “People are pretty upset. We want to avoid clashes, but it could be really, really big. We don’t really know what’s going to happen.”
In other words, conservatives want to be there to exercise their free speech rights and they want to keep it peaceful. But that’s not how liberals see the fellow-Americans they’ll be facing across the picket lines:
Peace groups, disgusted that the council would cave in to pressure from the pro-military groups, plan to host their own rally, an “emergency 24-hour peace-in vigil,” complete with singing, drums and dialogue.
“We want to protect our city from the onslaught of the right wing,” said Code Pink spokeswoman Zanne Joi. “We’re facing people who are willing to kill or send other people’s children to kill to get what they want. We understand the reality of that, and we’re prepared to face that in a nonviolent way.” (Emphasis mine.)
We’ve gone beyond Roth’s “brutes” into Code Pink’s killers. As I pointed out in that same Roth post, though, while violent rhetoric does emanate from both sides (the same article mentions the obligatory death threats), the trend has been for the violent acts to emanate from the left, not the right. I wonder what Tuesday will bring.