Want to have a constructive discussion about something important to you? Want to give people the opportunity to hear what others have to say, to evaluate their points on the merits and come to an informed, educated decision?
No sooner had the panel finished opening remarks last night than a woman scampered up onto stage and yelled, “Mic check!” It was an orchestrated effort by several dozen activists to use the People’s Mic to interrupt a forum at Town Hall—a forum in favor of Occupy Wall Street, featuring three wonks and three activists from Occupy Seattle. Their stunt replaced what was supposed to be an informed discussion of the movement with an uninformative, shout-a-thon about process that consumed most of the evening. They booed opinions they disagreed with and drove supporters out of the building.
“I walked in supportive and left unsupportive,” said 69-year-old Mary Ann, who declined to provide her last name. “I’m turned off by the negative shouts, repetition, and all I can think about is a cult. And I believe in every one of their damn principles.” [bold in original – ed]
The part that I found the most amusing was this one:
As the clock counted down, it was apparent that Occupy Seattle had repressed whatever thoughtful ideas the panelists brought to the stage and were willing to fill the time with chatter about unenlightening process. They wanted more power; they wanted to speak. They were also being rank hypocrites. Here is a group purporting to give people a voice and cut through the bureaucratic layers of government and capitalism. Instead, they silenced speech, quashed ideas, and replaced it with their own bureaucratic process reserved for a minority that wanted power. One gray-haired woman who was walking out put it like this: “It was very divisive. Now they are a little group, like the 1 Percent.”
Wong justified the interruption, saying, “We need to respect the movement that uses this process. I stick to it because it is a democratic process.” Some shouted, “This is what Democracy looks like.”
And Wong was right. That IS EXACTLY what democracy looks like…and is EXACTLY why our founding fathers rejected and eschewed mob rule when creating our Republican form of government.