the mother of all protests
Life is a series of protests and counter-protests. From infancy, when you puke all over you mother because she decided to feed you that chalky, putrid formula, to old age when you piss the bed because the nurse wouldn't answer the buzzer, you are constantly protesting.
When your parents protest your choice of fashion, you counter-protest by going from dirtbag to goth, from Jnco jeans to flowing black dresses and black nail polish to drive home the point that those baggy pants really weren't that bad after all.
At some point your protests become organized and you sit out class to demonstrate your anger at the sexism rampant in the school's choice of textbooks or you walk out of work because you aren't being paid what you're worth and you want to prove it by parading up and down the sidewalk with a cardboard sign hanging from your neck.
You sign petitions for stop signs, you vote no to propositions, you call the cops on your neighbors when their son's band practice goes until 4am and all they keep playing is that same Led Zeppelin riff over and over, you throw eggs at the home of the cranky old lady who wouldn't give back the frisbee that landed in her yard.
Protest. Counter-protest. For and against, yes and no, you will or you won't.
Maybe we should set aside a day every year for this sort of thing. Call it National Angst Day. You could make up a ten foot tall posterboard listing all the things you are against and maybe another one listing all the things that your neighbor is against but you are for. Then we call all beat the crap out of each other, break a few car windows, throw rocks at the police, wave some flags, shout some slogans and be done with it for the rest of the year. Think of it as protest multi-tasking.
Speaking of which, I will be doing just that very thing on July Fourth. No, not erecting a billboard of protests or throwing rocks, but I will be doing a for and against at the same time. I can take my two pet projects - supporting the troops and annoying PETA activists - and combine them into one perfect holiday. I'm going to donate a steak to the troops this Independence Day. What better way to show how I support the war (a counter-protest to those who don't) and the troops and to do my part to shove my penchant for eating the body parts of dead animals in the face of the people who dress up as bloody cows and march into restaurants to annoy the diners?
I am going to make the donation in the name of PETA. And on July 4th, I will be sitting in my backyard with the aroma of sizzling cow and chicken on the barbecue, drinking a beer that was surely made by some oppressed factory worker in Canada (brought from the store to my house in my SUV), celebrating the independence of a country I love and support and raising my glass to the troops.
That, my friends, is how protesting and counter-protesting come together in a glorious moment that is the equivalent of raising your middle finger to every extreme activist on morality patrol in your neighborhood.
Won't you join me?