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Protests and “scheduling conflicts”

The anticipated Condoleezza Rice talk at my school did not come to pass (yet) due to what we were informed was a “scheduling conflict.”

She had another fundraiser to go to, but I suspect that she also would not have been pleased about the prospect of having her talk disrupted by protesters. That’s fair, I guess. If I were headed out on a book tour, I wouldn’t want to be getting into confrontations with people either.

While I don’t think most of the student body feels strongly about Rice one way or another, a subset of the population was outraged that she was coming to campus and another subset was outraged at the first subset’s plans to express their outrage. Some people complained that protesting Rice’s presence would have been tremendously rude.

I agree that the protests would have been rude, but isn’t that kind of the point of protesting? Not to hurt people’s feelings, I mean, but to behave in a way that one wouldn’t typically in order to bring attention to one’s cause. Protesting is clearly a protected right. Once we’ve established that people have the right to protest, it’s hard to complain that they’re being impolite. Protests are supposed to be disruptive and maybe even occasionally obnoxious. If they’re law-abiding, I’m not sure what the problem is. Isn’t polite protesting just loitering?

This is a RedEye community blog. The views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the author and not those of RedEye or Tribune Company.


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