Thursday, April 14, 2011

Protest Had a Good Beat/Easy to Dance To

Yesterday, I covered the visit of Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus to Burlington, Vermont.  for the Burlington Free Press.

He was in Vermont up the GOP base. Which isn't that huge, given the state's liberal reputation. But Priebus noted Wisconsin, where he's from, was perceived as pretty liberal, too, and the Republicans still managed to take over in the 2010 election.  So for Vermont's GOP,  there's always hope.

Fun fact: Priebus noted that if you took the vowels out of his name you end up with RNC PR BS. So maybe he really was born to be chairman of the RNC.
Demonstrations protest against RNC Chair
Reince Priebus Wednesday in Burlington, Vt.

Anyway,  there was the inevitable demonstration against Priebus's visit because some people are unhappy with the Republicans' and Priebus's views of labor unions.

But of course, this is Vermont, so the demonstration had to be entertaining. Fun. Definitely not negative. It had to have a good vibe.

So the roughly 125 marchers were fronted by a clot of drummers who ensured the whole protest had a good beat and was easy to dance to. Kind of like you'd see years ago when Dick Clark was hyping a hot new hit on American Band Stand.

One motorist, in fact, stopped me as I was covering the protest, notebook in hand. She wondered what was going on, as the music was so good. She seemed disappointed when I told her it was a demonstration, and you probably couldn't download the music on iTunes.

At the protest, we also had a woman blowing on a trumpet, super badly. It sounded like a combination of a million party balloons being deflated and a tornado hitting a high school's music and band room. The crowd chanted "Fee fi fo fum, inviting Priebus sure was dumb," which certainly fell short of the oratory of say, Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" speech. But the group's heart was in it, so it was OK.

And besides, none of the 220 or so Republicans listening to Priebus thought his visit was dumb, so I guess we had another difference of opinion there.

So, Burlington had another little exercise in Free Speech. Priebus did a nice job firing up the state's GOP, and the demonstrators who are against the Republicans also did a nice job firing themselves up.

It was a relief to see and hear two opposing viewpoints with neither side resorting to much anger or negativity.

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