|Friday Morning The BlogCon Attendees Practiced “Up Twinkles” To Greet The Occupy Protesters|
Sometimes perspective is everything. During the two-day confrontation between BlogCon 2011and Occupy Denver, I was so wrapped up in the events, that there was little time to think about the what’s or why’s things turned out the way they did.
As many of you know, I write a political column for the Jewish Star, a weekly newspaper serving the Orthodox Jewish Community of Long Island. My column in today’s issue looks back at the events of last weekend, this time with some perspective. Below is a version of the column where I add back a few items that were edited out of the final printed version.
I landed in Denver last Thursday thinking I was simply attending BlogCon, a conference of the top conservative bloggers in the country (and me also) sponsored by Freedom Works, one of the few national organizations in the Tea Party movement. But the weekend turned out to be much more than that because twice on Friday and once more on Saturday, the Occupy Denver crowd tried to break into our conference.
The first hint that something might be brewing was Wednesday night when somebody forwarded me some tweets from the Occupy Denver participants that they planned to protest the meeting on Friday after 4 p.m. They were angry that Freedom Works was generating a petition condemning anti-Semitism within the Occupy movement.
By the time we gathered for our first session on Friday the call to protest had gone viral, we were expecting a sizable crowd, and Denver Police and hotel security were on alert. Some of the Jewish bloggers present had decided, that depending when they showed up, we would greet the Occupiers outside with Shabbos candles and kiddush.
The other preparation for our visitors was to purchase a box of Milk Bones for the recently elected canine leader of Occupy Denver, a 3-year-old border collie named Shelby.
|Tabitha Hale of FreedomWorks Not Only Put BlogCon Together But She Bought Something For Shelby|
Neither idea was to be implemented. At 2 p.m. there was a loud commotion outside the ballroom that housed our meeting. It was the Occupiers shouting, “We are the 99 percent!” It was the first and largest confrontation of three that would occur during the next 24 hours. Many of the bloggers, myself included, went out into the lobby to meet them.
Let’s face it, a key reason for the success of the Occupiers across the country is they are treated with undue love respect by local politicians and the press, taking them seriously despite the fact thy have no coherent idea of what they are protesting. They are like unchallenged bullies who aren’t big on indoor plumbing.
On the other hand, bloggers make a habit of taking on bullies, in the form of national news media, powerful politicians, or even world leaders. We also make habit of winning. As in most cases when bullies are confronted, the Occupiers didn’t have a chance.
The protesters suddenly found themselves surrounded by a few dozen eager conservatives with cameras. Instead of allowing the Occupiers to provoke us into violence we met them with ridicule. The protesters were shocked; no one had ever mocked them before.
We began to chant “Where’s the Dog?” referring to Shelby, and kept changing the chant to things such as “Breitbart, “ “Pay your bills,” and my personal favorite,“Spaghetti.” The Occupy Denver folks were stunned, one of their leaders even started laughing for a moment before he started accusing us of receiving money from the Koch Brothers (to pronounce their names correctly, we started waving cans of Coke at them, explaining that this was the only Koch involved in our convention). After fifteen minutes of the humorous exchange, the occupiers disengaged from the Hotel, while we serenaded them with the famous hit from the late sixties:
Hey Hey Hey, Goodbye
Amazingly if the Occupiers had really wanted to get into our discussion hall they would have scouted the hotel. Then they might have realized if they had tried to get in through the parking garage, they would have gotten in to the hotel on the second floor and could slip in without being seen. But it was too late, after the first break in the hotel planted people to guard every portal in the building.
A larger group showed up at 5 p.m. and an even larger one on Saturday afternoon, but thanks to the excellent work of the Denver Police Department and Crowne Plaza’s security team the protesters did not return.
The Freedom Works sponsored BlogCon was supposed to be an opportunity to learn the latest tools available to conservative bloggers. I also had the opportunity to finally understand what the Occupy movement was really about—bullies, propped up by the mainstream media and Democratic Party politicians. Unfortunately for them, my group did not fall for their provocation. We confronted them with what they deserved, truth and ridicule.