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07/24/2011

NOM's PR disaster: Largely, the crowd was just plain misinformed

by Jeremy Hooper

Some actual sites and sounds from the day:

Protester:

"Mayor Bloomberg, give us the right to vote"

Protest sign:

"This bill must be vetoed."

An exchange I had with a marcher:

NOM marcher: "Let us vote."

Jeremy: "Excuse me -- did you vote last November."

NOM Marcher: "Yes. Did you?"

Jeremy: "I did indeed. I voted for Gov. Cuomo, and you?"

NOM Marcher: "Me too."

Protestor:

"We want to vote just like California."

And so on and so forth.

For just for a second, I want to overlook the eye-opening religiosity of the protest against civil marriage or the fact that 90+% of the crowd was bussed in from somewhere else, and instead note another big takeaway from today's National Organization For Screen Shot 2011-07-24 At 6.07.38 PmMarriage rally in NYC. Namely: The complete lack of understanding expressed by most every protestor to whom I spoke.

Speaking to the first quip mentioned above: While it itself is a direct quote, I heard lots of people crying out to Mayor Bloomberg in similar ways. As if the mayor -- a marriage equality supporter who is actually performing a same-sex wedding today -- has any intent on helping their cause, for one. But also: As if he has any power to do so. We are talking about a state law, fairly enacted by the state legislature, signed by the state's fairly elected governor. Not sure why anyone on site thought NYC's mayor was either a symapthetic or capable ear on this matter. But many did.

The second one: This sign was very popular. It was Xeroxed and attached to small popsicle-like sticks, carried by many on site. Because what: Did they miss the memo about the bill being signed a full month ago, with its glorious effects peacefully changing the world today? Who exactly is going to veto the darn thing now: A robot/time machine hybrid commissioned by NOM?

The third, my exchange with a marcher: This was but one of several, similar conversations I had. Some wouldn't tell me if they voted at all; some proudly said they voted for Gov. Cuomo (didn't hear the name Paladino even once). There was virtually nobody on hand who either would or could flesh out and logically discuss the ridiculousness of their "Let The People Vote" chants, when weighed against the facts. It was just tise abstact idea of "we want to vote," with no recognition of the fact that they already had the chance to do so, fairly, the way New York citizens have been doing for eons.

And the last one: Lots of talk about Prop 8 and California. Because again, there seemed to be little understanding of /concern for the process. Phrases like "New York doesn't have direct ballot" were complete and utter conversation-stoppers. Hell, I would have been happy to have a marcher come back at me with staunch convictions about filling both houses with conservatives, passing an initiative/referenda bill, passing a marriage amendment, and getting it before New York state voters. But I didn't get any of that. It was just "We want to vote -- period." One part Veruca Salt "I want a Golden Goose now, daddy," another part NOM talking point machine.

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*OTHER posts about the day:

The eye-opening photos from the day [G-A-Y]

Why so much sympathetic "security"? [G-A-Y]

Check out the name of the primary bus company they used [G-A-Y]

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