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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Weak Impact of Rally's

It's impossible to count the number of protestors who
have been on the capitol steps to gripe about this or that. Over the
last forty years, it has to be in the hundreds of thousands.
And here's the dirty little secret: In most cases the
impact the demonstrators had on the lawmakers was zilch.
Oh sure, occasionally legislators looked out at the
folks on the lawn and then went back to doing darn well whatever they
wanted to do as if the mass on grass had never been there in the first
That does sound callus and very un-American but in the
real political world that's just the way it is.
There are some exceptions however.
During the height of the Viet Nam war back in the dark
ages, about 10,000 colleges students, mostly from near by Michigan
State University, staged a massive march on the capitol. It was
impressive in that most of the time college kids could care less about
politics. Funny thing about the possibility of being drafted and
killed; it does get your attention..
Years later another crowd of 10,000 or so actually had
an impact on legislation. Instead of long haired hippies, this time
lawmakers saw a sea of white coats as doctors flooded the capitol lawn
to make their point on malpractice insurance. They eventually got a
bill; it wasn't perfect but their protest did resonate with the
More recently the first batch of Tea Party rebels, maybe
4,000 or more strong, started their campaign to fix everything that is
wrong with government. Lawmakers took note because these folks
reflected the anger that is out there and even lawmakers could figure
out, some of these Tea Party players might actually vote legislators
out of office if they did not listen.
Actually the only benefactors of all these events is the
news media. Toss five or six thousands chanting demonstrators on the
capitol lawn and you have an instant made story. Nice visuals, upset
citizens, and after a few hours, things return to normal.
But the lasting impact ain't much, but that doesn't stop them
from showing up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The title should read, "The Weak Impact of Rallies", since "Rally's" is the name of a fast food chain, and not descriptive of multiple gatherings of people demonstrating for a cause.

May 25, 2010 at 12:22 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You may have to eat your words sir.

May 26, 2010 at 12:27 AM 
Blogger KenK said...

Maybe they should start showing up at the representatives and senators homes? Several hundred people on somebody's front lawn wouldn't go unnoticed or ignored. I'm sure the media would cover it.

May 28, 2010 at 8:45 AM 
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