Don't Sit In Front of My Car

In anti-war protests, it's working people get the short end of the stick

By Al Carlos Hernandez
Published on LatinoLA: March 23, 2003

Don't Sit In Front of My Car

A founding Supreme Court Justice once said, ?The freedom for you to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.? This translates into: One's right to protest should end when it affects one's ability to earn a living.

I say this in reference to the anti-war protestors who in their zeal to end the war are creating enemies among those of us who have to work for a living. Some protestors have taken to closing major intersections during commute time, stopping cars and buses of normal people coming and going to work.

Why is it whenever there is social strife it is always the working class people who pay the taxes and do the dirty work who get the short end of the stick?

Corporate administrators are on salary. If protestors effectively stop them from going to work, they go play golf. Social services workers are on salary as well. They get time off to protest, organize protests, and search for mates, while normal people are at work trying to feed their families.

I know of a situation that puts this whole thing in perspective: A single mom who works at Walgreen?s was several hours late for work because protestors blocked traffic and the bus she was on. When she got to work, other workers were nice enough to give her some of their work hours in order to make up for her lost pay.

That?s what real Americans do.

Protesting is a good thing; I understand the angst and frustration when you don?t agree with what you consider and egregious wrong. My involvement with the Chicano and the anti-Viet Nam movement back in the day convinced me that through social unrest Latinos gained Third World studies, a bigger piece of the social service pie and better parity representation in governmental agencies.

For those of us who did take Third World studies, go over your notes because you knew this was going to happen sooner or later.

Who are these protestors anyway and why is it that none of them are attractive?

When I saw the first news reports and the protestors, it look like a parade of caras de burros, all player-hating George Bush. Blonde boys don?t look right with dread locks; bald women are not cute with bones through their noses. Now if these demonstrations were held in Iraq, and they were player-hating Saddam, the police would be less apt to give protestors counseling and bottled water.

This war is not a good thing; war is never a good thing. The average age of American Marines at war is twenty-two years old. I have a tremendous empathy for the parents of these brave young people, many of whom are stuck on public transit, docked out of hourly wages trying to get to work, because protestors who either don?t work, or are trust fund baby idle rich, have taken it upon themselves to lay down in an intersection because they are mad at Republican policy. This is decidedly safer than shouting insults at the Iraq?s Republican Guard. They don?t give time out, they give times up.

A word to the wise: Do not lay down in an intersection during commute time when you see that the car in front of you has custom rims and/or tinted windows. If the car has hydraulic shocks, which allows it to bounce up and down, retreat to the nearest Starbucks immediately.

Most people involved are earnestly trying to get their point across and their voice is being heard. Protestors are taught how to ?Noodle Up? when police try to take them into custody. The procedure is similar to what a two-year-old does when you try to pick them about when it?s bath time. They let their arms go limp, making it difficult to carry them. The intention here is to get the cops tired and prolong the arresting effort.

Another word to the wise: If you see a male or female Latino or Black Ccop who looks like they have been working a 14-hour shift and has not had anything to eat, and has missed his or her son?s T- ball game, don?t use the ?Noodle Up? technique. It may land you in special education.

It?s going to take a combination of peaceful protests and decisive military action to end this war.

Don?t hurt a brother or sister trying to help themselves.

About Al Carlos Hernandez:
Al Carlos is a national columnist and a screenwriter.

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