Last night, two Dennis Kucinich supporters screamed during Jay Leno's Tonight Show. They rudely interrupted Jay's Bill Maher interview. The audience seemed confused, Bill and Jay seemed pissed.
In Bill's defense, the Loose Change crazies have been hounding him for years now, and periodically infiltrate his Real Time sound studio to shout their poorly synchronized slogans. So Bill's not that keen on people shouting crap at him, and he might have thought it was 9/11 conspiratorial nonsense. I'm assuming this because Bill Maher should know more than anyone the importance of free speech, and surely he doesn't believe the only people allowed to express their opinions are individuals with HBO talk shows.
The Kucinich supporters yelled two slogans: "Let Dennis debate! Stop censorship! Help save democracy!" and "GE, NBC, Put Impeachment on TV!"
Jay asked the audience if anyone could understand what they said, the crowd murmured, a few smatterings of "no," and the show moved on.
The entire interaction was about a minute long. It was awkward. I cringed through the whole thing.
Why do crazy liberals do things like that? I say liberals because you rarely see a suit-wearing Conservative hold up a sad, limp piece of cardboard during the Republican debates with a psychotically lettered message of: "MORE PRIVATIZATION!!!" scrawled across its face.
"TWO, FOUR, SIX, EIGHT!....KEEP DOING WHAT YOU'RE DOING! THINGS ARE GREAT FOR US RICH PEOPLE!"
This is uncommon because random acts of desperate protest are reserved for a repressed, voiceless minority. Except, in America, the silenced minority is actually the majority. Most of us are poor, can't afford health insurance, think the Iraq war is pointless, and would like to mend our country's world image.
With all that being said, why are people continually shocked by these random outbreaks? I'm shocked there's not MORE of them.
Maybe it's because the protests of the sixties, and all the hippy girls placing flowers in the barrels of soldiers' guns, are considered cliché because liberals are way too cool to protest now. To protest you have to be -- like, you know -- angry and shit. It's very uncool to scream passionately about something. It's disruptive and rude. It doesn't accomplish anything. We've heard all these reasons to shut up and sit down before.
And yet, people keep protesting. Their numbers are fewer now, but you still see them. They're the annoying hippies that get in the way of your daily routines. They're the 80 activists in Washington, who wore orange jumpsuits and black hoods outside the Supreme Court, protesting Guantanamo. Sometimes, they lay down in streets to block traffic, or they walk into St. Patrick's Cathedral and lay down in the aisles to symbolize the causalities of the AIDS epidemic as the ACT-UP members did in 1989. Sometimes they ride bikes, or paint their faces, or wear crazy outfits.
The point is: they keep resisting. They keep resisting even when most citizens give them the stink-eye when they cause traffic jams and make a lot of noise.
Why would any sane person publicly humiliate themselves like that? What force drives people to stand up and start screaming like they're on fire?
Sane people only scream when they feel they have no other outlet for their voices. Bill Maher and Jay Leno have a public stage from which they can voice their political views. Jay uses his stage for comedy (I'm using the loose definition of comedy,) and Bill uses his stage for comedy (real definition), political discussion, and to show off his balls of steel when he dismisses the existence of God.
Whoever these Dennis Kucinich supporters are, they clearly felt enough desperation to risk embarrassment and jail time in order to reach a mainstream audience about what they perceived as social injustice. That's not crazy. That's brave. That's braver than most of us will ever be during our measly little lives.
I propose this: those protesters didn't interrupt a late night talk show. That late night talk show interrupted what should be our collective outrage. We should all be so furious and outspoken. Instead, we all slowly blinked and stared glassy-eyed at the television and computer screens, our mouths opening and closing like grazing cows'.
Protesting is a healthy part of any democracy, and yet it is increasingly marginalized as a form of communication. Instead of carefully regulating media activity, the FCC and its soulless Harry Potter king, Kevin Martin, have opened the door to all kinds of insane mergers of already monstrously large corporations. Rupert Murdoch's NewsCorp recently absorbed The Wall Street Journal and the latest word from Wall Street is that the Sirius and XM merger is back on the table. All the while, more fringe voices are forced out or silenced by new uber-management at the helm of these giant corporations.
So as the public airwaves are bought and sold to huge conglomerates, the networks' voices become narrower and simultaneously louder as more mergers occur. They pump into the public one truth -- their truth -- and silence any form of protest.
This brings us back to little Dennis Kucinich. NBC is a major network owned by a multinational conglomerate, GE. When the higher-ups (several of who include contributors to other presidential candidates) decided Kucinich's voice was not essential to the debate, they nixed him several days AFTER telling Kucinich's people he met the requirements to debate.
Using insane doublespeak that would make Orwell vomit blood, NBC claimed Dennis Kucinich was violating THEIR first amendment rights by fighting, biting, and clawing his way onto their precious, pure network, and sullying everything with his liberal propaganda. To be fair, though, I hear Dennis is terrifying in real life. Brian Williams says his eyes glow red in the dark.
And so we arrive back at forms of protest. Forced off NBC's airwaves, Dennis appeared on DemocracyNow!, a daily independent news program hosted by Amy Goodman. Goodman showed footage of the NBC debate, and then periodically cut back to Kucinich so he had time to give his answers.
How sad is that? That's what Democracy is becoming in America...a fake debate. Goodman and Kucinich should be applauded for their form of stubborn protest, but everyone else: GE, NBC, and all participants of the fake Nevada debate, should feel ashamed and embarrassed for our supposed democracy.