"Protest Warrior is a new way for fellow liberty-lovers across the planet to mobilize against the left within their own cities. As you know, those on the left usually carry the loudest microphones... but they go silent quickly when truth is thrown back in their face." Ã¢â‚¬" ProtestWarrior.com
This is the mission statement of the Protest Warrior, a rightwing organization whose sole objective, it would seem, is the staging of venomous counter-protests to liberal protests. With its cunning motto Fighting the Left-Doing It Right! and persuasive online arguments, ProtestWarrior.com reminds me that I too love both liberty and throwing truth back in the left' face (presuming, I guess, that they threw it at me first. It' self-defense!).
While surfing through the Protest Warrior website, I log into the Sacramento chapter. To my considerable astonishment, under the position of Chapter President, it reads, "Leader Not Assigned." A button prompts me to consider running for the Chapter President office. With lightning speed, I push "Yes." In the hopes of clinching this lofty and esteemed position, I use the patriotic pseudonym Monroe Jefferson in my application, quipping, "It' time to show those loony liberals what America is all about!"
A few days later I receive an email congratulating me on becoming the new President of the Sacramento Chapter. They refer to me as "Sergeant." This will look incredibly good on my resume.
"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." — Thomas Paine
(a quote pasted on the Protest Warrior' website)
As new chapter president, my first order of business is lighting a fire under my chapter (or, using their terminology, my "strike force") through an email list provided to me. I decide the use of superfluous exclamation is the best way to accomplish this:
Sacramento Protest Warriors
I am your new chapter president! In my first chapter president address, I'd like to declare, LOONY ALERT!!!!!!!!!! Hey, it's time to get the chapter going again and take action against the loony left. Who's with me!!!!!!! I'd like to conduct meetings where we can plan various missions against traitors to our country (you know those who should be singing the French national anthem).
ATTENDANCE IS MANDATORY!
Fighting the good fight!
Sgt. Monroe Jefferson
Protest Warrior Chapter President
For the meeting, I request that people dress patriotically.
Upon arrival at the reception area of Carrow' Restaurant-the Denny' of Northern California-I spy a blonde woman and a man with a receding hairline and a T-shirt emblazoned with the face of Ronald Reagan. They sit awkwardly, eyeing people as they enter. Luckily I've come prepared:
MY OUTFIT: American Flag bandana; patriotic red, white, and blue tracksuit top; T-shirt that says "We Love the USA!"
MY OBJECTIVE: As chapter president, to go completely mad with power
Adjusting my American flag bandana, I take a stab in the dark. "Are you here for my Protest Warrior meeting?"
"We are!' the man proclaims.
With two clenched fists, I cry out my mission statement: "It' time to show those liberals what America is all about!" When their lackluster reaction dies down, I turn to Hairline and address him man to man. "That T-shirt shirt is fantastic!" I coo, adding with a respectful nod, "You just might make a good Protest Warrior chapter vice president!"
I turn towards the blonde woman, who' decided (rather unpatriotically) to dress in unauthorized civilian clothes. "Didn't you read my email?" I bellow, reprimanding her for not following my Protest Warrior chapter president orders in front of the patrons of Carrow'. I briefly toy with the idea of seeing if I could make her drop and give me 10 pushups. She makes an unhappy face at me.
The hostess steers us towards a table where we make, rigid uncomfortable right-wing small talk. "The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph," I state, quoting Thomas Paine (certainly not for the last time tonight).
"Is this the Protest Warriors?" asks a man with glasses, who claims to be a schoolteacher, as the rest of my unit slowly files in.
"It is!" I bark. Then with abrupt anger, "And you're late!" I give him something to think about: "What if you were late for an Operation? That just won't do!" Like an authoritative dick, I lean far back in my chair, adding, "Pull up some table!"
A gung-ho guy with moustache and glasses joins us next. So gung-ho, in fact, that he wears a Protest Warrior T-shirt. I like his moxie!
"Where did you get your awesome T-shirt?" I ask, planting
him a patriotic high-five.
"I ordered it right off of the website!" he proudly proclaims, gesturing to the emblem of an angry shirtless, muscular guy wielding a large sword and sign, that reads Protest Warrior Now! (Politics aside, I have to say the Protest Warrior emblem, is… well, a little gay.)
"You just might make a good Chapter Vice-President," I state, slapping him on the back, eyeballing the guy in the Ronald Reagan T-shirt in a way that says, I'm keeping you on your toes, pal.
Suddenly, the meeting takes a serious right turn, as we all get a chance
to meet a professional, full-time Protest Warrior. Much more intense than
my other chapter members, this very large, very humorless and very intimidating
arrives with his girlfriend and proceeds to give everyone at the table
a no-nonsense handshake and stress his military background. (He doesn't
bother to introduce his girlfriend, and she doesn't speak once during
our entire Carrow' Protest Warrior meeting.)
"Is someone going to take notes?" our newest arrival scolds us, looking to buck my authority at the first chance, it would seem. He can barely keep himself from rolling his eyes at the lack of military professionalism of my meeting.
With that, our Carrow' food arrives. The blonde woman in our Protest Warrior group bows her head and prays out loud over her quality budget-priced food. It' awkward. The rest of us look uncomfortably at each other, unsure if we should also bless our budget-priced meals.
Once the prayers wrap up, I get down to business. "One of the big things is the liberal loony fest down in 'Frisco," I tell them, referring to the third anniversary protest of the Iraq War while annoyingly calling San Francisco 'Frisco. "This… is our Super Bowl," I declare, taking care to make strong, creepy eye contact with everyone at the table. Next I open up the floor for some serious Protest Warrior brainstorming, inviting everybody present to put our collective brainpower together to strategize how best to break up the liberal Iraq protest.
"Bullhorns!" I tell them. "We need lots of bullhorns!"
"No bullhorns," nixes my imposing military nemesis.
"How about a bake sale?" I rally. After a moment of dead silence, my nemesis takes the floor, ignoring me entirely. "Remember, everyone: no fighting. Unless it' one-on-one in an alley," he tells us, miming a headlock/punching motion.
"Everyone should start going through physical training for the event," I break in, eager not to lose my president status. "Start jogging three miles a day!" As the ingenious ideas keep rolling, Imposing Military Guy throws me a curveball and compliments my dedication. "You got balls to get this going!" he tells me. My chest puffs up with the knowledge that these people look up to me and my balls.
"This will double," he continues. "It will blow up!" We do a cool-guy handshake.
"But that' when we'll get infiltrators," he suddenly warns, ruining the cool-guy vibe. "When we get big, you can expect that from the other side."
I suspiciously eye the schoolteacher, who hasn't spoken the entire meeting, and stare at him while intoning, "Maybe we have some infiltrators here tonight?!" I let this hang in the air for gravitas.
As we collect money for the bill, the large, intimidating guy concludes, "It' all about exposing them for who they are and making them look like jackasses."
"Exposing and making them look like jackasses," I repeat, adjusting my American flag bandanna. "I'd loooove to infiltrate the opposition and make them look real stupid," I say, wiping crumbs off my We Love the USA T-shirt.
NEXT: LEADING MY TROOPS TO BATTLE...
The blonde woman who prayed over her meal at Carrow' is truly freaking out. "Monroe! We were setting up our signs and we're already getting hassled," she exclaims over the phone.
"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph," I assure her, as I'm purposely a half-hour late to lead my Protest Warrior troops. With cringing apprehension, I grab my hand-scrawled sign that reads, "What Part of 'American' Don't You Understand?", dreading the all-too-real prospect that I might get pummeled today.
Suited up for game day, I'm dressed in my Protest Warrior costume: camo t-shirt, military aviator shades, another shirt that reads "I Support Desert Storm," and American flag bandana. On the very day after a large US/Iraqi attack on insurgents, I must now face 10,000 impassioned liberal protestors foaming about the Bush administration.
Perched on City Hall steps, a handful of hardened men looking like refrigerator repairmen make up the small conservative posse hoisting large American flags. Grabbing a flag from a pile, I make my way over to my stressed-out Protest Warrior chapter, which consists of the blonde woman, the large intimidating guy and his non-speaking girlfriend (continuing her run of silence).
"The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph!" I yell out as I walk up to them.
"Dude! Dude! The flag," the large, intimidating guy urgently remarks, gesturing toward the corner of Old Glory that has accidentally draped against the ground. I quickly make the adjustment as a sudden blast of "George Bush is the reincarnation of Hitler!" erupts from the direction of the protest.
"That' so disrespectful, period!" exclaims the blond woman with disapproval.
"You're really negative today," I mention.
With an air of concentrated determination, the large, intimidating guy sticks out his potbelly and turns to me. "Grab a flag. Let' go for a walk."
"Where should we walk?" I ask, praying it' safely with the rest of the hardened refrigerator repairmen.
"Right through the crowd," he says with a look of terrifying determination, aiming himself towards the mass of worked-up protestors.
"Okay," I say, crapping my pants. "Let' go for a walk!" Fully knowing that whatever follows is going to be, at best, unpleasant, I move forward towards the throng.
"You guys are brave," a refrigerator repairman with an American
flag interjects, patting me on the back. "Be careful, they're
We march like a scowling duo of determined misfit conservative crime fighters- American flags poised-ready to face roughly 10,000 irate protestors. I follow at the heels of the large intimidating guy as he drags me towards the liberal lions worked up to devour us.
We park ourselves close to a stage with a Bring the Troops Home Now banner, proudly displaying our American flags. As a man descends upon us with a Bush=Hitler sign, I get into character, standing with a permanent scowl, feeling beams of hate projected in our general direction. My oversized American flag is draping everyone in the vicinity whenever the wind blows. Some protestors walk by, "accidentally" pushing into us. Others openly laugh. One old hippie dude stops, salutes me, then, moments later, gives me the finger. Witty.
The press, on the other hand, treats us like media darlings. A New York Times photographer snaps a photo of two idiots brandishing American flags-namely, us. I play it up big for the cameras, scowling with my mouth gaped and an I-can't-even-believe-what-I'm-hearing expression.
Another photographer whispers in my ear," You should really be across the street."
"As true Americans, we have the right to be here!" I scornfully declare.
"I'm just worried about your safety," she stresses, to my growing unease.
For the rest of the crowd, our efforts to literally push the flag in their faces elicits scorn. A protestor gets up in the vicinity in my grill and sarcastically says," Your flag is drooping on the ground."
"Seriously, you should be a little more mindful of the flag!" remarks the blonde Protest Warrior woman, holding a very tiny handheld American flag. A big gust of wind almost blows off my hat, exposing that I'm in disguise. Venturing back, I notice that the refrigerator repairmen loitering by City Hall have been joined by a group of loud frat guys holding a large God Bless America banner.
Before I can even catch my breath, the large intimidating guy commands, "Grab a sign. Let' walk," eager to make a second suicidal insurgent attack.
"Where are we going?" I ask, hoping he doesn't mean
through the crowd while carrying his moronic sign that blares, "Except
for Slavery, Communism, Socialism, War Never Solved Anything."
"Through the crowd!" he says, now holding both the moronic sign and the American flag. We walk towards the protestors like two floppy-shoed right-wing clowns.
"If you're so smart, why are you walking around with a sign
and an American flag at a peace rally?" challenges an older, enraged-looking
man wearing an End the Occupation T-shirt, blocking our path. Oh boy!
I think, sensing the imminent screaming face-to-face confrontation. The
enraged-looking man fumes at us and waves his hands around furiously.
"You look like a brave guy-why aren't you fighting there?
You got that hat and that American flag bandana. Why aren't you
I get defensive. "Sir, first: Don't criticize my American flag bandana. Secondly, I'd fight if I could stick to the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy." I make a dreamy look. I then add, "We won in Vietnam, we'll win in Iraq!"
The enraged man looks like he' going to pop a blood vessel. "Vietnam was not considered a winning situation!"
"Liberal media!" I counter back. I'm beginning to see why our country is so divided-those at the polar extremes are both complete assholes.
I soon become diverted by a woman with sunglasses, who it turns out is covering the event for a Latino radio station. "Can I ask you a few questions?" she says, holding a tape recorder.
"Sure!" I say, increasing the tempo of my flag waving, as I watch my conservative crew slowly walk off into the distance, endowing me with the responsibility of being the PR spokesman for the PW organization.
I get interviewed.
"Will you tell me who you are and where you're from?" she says, putting the microphone under my chin.
"I'm Monroe Jefferson. President of the Protest Warriors-Sacramento chapter."
"Do you support the war in Iraq?"
I throw out my catchphrase: "What part of 'American' don't you get?"
She nods her head vigorously to encourage my whacked rhetoric. "How do you feel about the 100,000 people already dead?"
"It' more like 30,000," I coldly correct. "You're getting facts from the liberal media!"
"Well"¦ that' still 30,000 people dead."
"Yeah, but that' 70,000 more people still alive!" I counter, before angrily rolling my eyes and sniffing, "Liberal media!" Just for the hell of it, I add again, "We won in Vietnam, we'll win in Iraq!"
Like the old man, she clarifies, "Vietnam was not considered a winning situation."
"Liberal media!" I spout again, with more huffing and eye rolling. I conclude the interview with a soundbite that I'm confident will resonate through the airwaves: "As a Protest Warrior chapter president, I safely speak for all us when I say, KILL 'EM ALL, LET GOD SORT 'EM OUT!", whatever that means. I give another vigorous wave of the American flag.
"Remember," I add, "I represent the Protest Warriors!"
Fool me once ...
Not everyone WANTS to be famous.
Tour guides don't tell you all the gruesome stuff that goes down at famous locations.