Thoughts on the G-20, the first

logo with bridgeI’m been ruminating (can that be used as a verb?) about  the G-20 for a while, and I’ve had all kinds of thoughts, random bits of brilliance and so much mulling around in my head.  It’s strange to think it’s practically come and past already.

My day in the Golden Triangle during the summit was uneventful in the traditional sense, but gave me even more to think about.  After the jump I’m going to write about the lead-up to the summit, protesters, violence, the media, and probably some more stuff.  I’ll have my own pictures (which I am sorting through), and if I can get my computer to work, possibly a short presentation of sorts, but that may be a ways off .  See you after the jump.

For a while before the summit, I noticed that as I walked downtown, I felt more leery.  Not nervous mind you, but almost to the point that I was questioning why people were downtown.  Out of state license plates increased, and people who aren’t normally in the hustle of Grant Street started appearing.  And I didn’t like that.  Not that people were coming to Pittsburgh, I love this city and am always happy when people come to visit and find what makes this city so special.  I was nervous because I had a sinking feeling they were just here to cause trouble.

An article from The Radical Middle stayed with me, here’s a piece:

A sensible court ruling downtown: there are rights, but there are also responsibilities; exercising the first should not, and today happily does not, excuse you from the second. And I think: the first amendment is not a Get Out of Jail Free card.

I think Chad hit it on the head with this article.  And while it did not always apply to what happened during the summit, it is a good sentiment, one that I think local residents understand and just wish that all the visitors could abide by.

I didn’t like that these people don’t know us.  They come to protest, not caring that we live here, that we work here, that we go to school here.  This is home.

When told to go home during the protest in Oakland, a student replied, succinctly and elegantly, “We are home.”

But, this is an international event, I would be naive to think that there would not be protesters, that we would not have a large influx, and I am happy for them to have the chance to protest, the chance to have their voice heard.

Which brings me to the protests in Lawrenceville and Oakland yesterday.  I’m a bit torn on them.  I honestly cannot wrap my head around the anarchy mindset.  Not to say I think it’s wrong, I just don’t get it.  And asking an anarchist group to file a government permit to have their protest, well, that’s just funny.  That being said however, I think they tended to overreact the entire week, as well as be generally unorganized and confused.

Now, the protests in Oakland.  I love Phipps.  Probably more than I should.  So when it was announced that it would host the opening reception, I was excited.  It’s one of those treasures that Pittsburgh has that I want to share with everyone.  Ad nauseum.  But I digress.  I think that last night’s activities legitimately started as curious onlookers.  That’s how downtown was all day, most people just walking around with cameras.  How things got out of hand, I’m not sure.  I’d love to blame the out of towners (and I understand that even that is rude, but hey, this is my home), but I don’t know for sure.

Yesterday, before everything broke out in Oakland, I thought to myself that it was a quiet day.  The march in Lawrenceville ended predictably, with some violence and police action, and the only reported vandalism was a broken glass door to a PNC bank.  Maybe I jinxed it.  Maybe I put too much trust in people.  Maybe I’m more naive than I choose to believe.

The Angry Drunk Bureaucrat has a fantastic open letter to the protesters, a portion:

So, you’ll have to pardon us if Pittsburgh doesn’t have sympathy after you smash our windows and mess up our fair city. We’ve seen it before; we’re not particularly thrilled about what you’re doing. Especially, considering we got shot at to allow you to do… whatever it is you think you’re doing.

Go home children.

So senseless destruction, fires and whatnot erupt (I’m a pacifist, it’s all senseless),  but thankfully today so far, it’s been quiet.  The march went well (aside from maybe diverting all bus traffic out of the golden triangle) and things seem to be peaceful.

I realize that I’m rambling a bit, ok, a lot.  But in my mind, everything seems somewhat cyclical, redundant and contradictory.  It’s how my mind works, and most of the time, even I don’t understand it.

But for now, I’d like to close with this quote which came from the PG yesterday:

One student, Amanda Eggert, 20, a junior at Pitt, was one of those on the street afterwards. “We’re hungry and we wanted a late-night snack,” she said outside the boarded-up McDonald’s on Forbes. “We’re just trying to live our normal lives. What did McDonald’s ever do except make delicious chicken nuggets?”

Those who know me know that I keep a quote file.  I’ve been keeping it for years, and this is the latest addition to it.

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