On my Sunday morning shows yesterday I heard a lot of talk about “Tea Party of the left” and “professional” or “paid protesters.” (I’ve never met a professional protester, but if anyone is taking applications please email me!) Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) contradicted that comparison by pointing out that the Tea Party was funded by the Koch Brothers not grassroots organizers.
Sunday evening (as an amateur protester) I headed down to the Trump Tower in Chicago’s Near North neighborhood for an event planning to moon the Tower in protest of Trump’s declination to release his tax returns like all other modern presidents. There were a couple of hundred people there to protest, and about as many to gawk and heckle.
The professional heckler group included three young, white men, one in a cheap made-in-
China suit with Trump wig, the other two in MAGA hats, a middle-aged white woman in an American-flagged-themed, novelty stovepipe hat that must have been dusted off from her Tea Party days; and the final member of their team was an older, white man who appeared to be calling the shots. They all had earpieces to coordinate their heckling. Who pays their fees? Is Koch Industries funding them to heckle like they paid them to protest during peak Tea Party years? Is the Trump administration footing the bills? Or is it the Trump Tower and Trump Organization?
Protesters were barred from crossing or entering the sidewalk on the Irv Kupcinet Bridge (Wabash) heading North from the Loop. The hecklers appeared to start at Trump Tower, across the Chicago River from the protest, and then head South across the
bridge until they were directly next to the protest. The hecklers moved freely, without interference from the police, all while yammering on through the megaphone.
Their megaphone was louder than the event’s megaphone, so they didn’t have a hard time drowning the protesters out.
The protest itself was organized by a group founded in January called, Shitshow, that
describes themselves as a “satirical news show covering the worst in current events, politics, and more.” So far, the only event they have covered is the Trump Inauguration, and though the group has a YouTube channel, they have yet to post any videos to it. The event had mainstream, national press coverage, but wasn’t publicized very well locally or within protest/anti-Trump groups in Chicago. As mentioned before, their megaphone was easily drowned out by the professional quality of the hecklers’. If these were professional protesters organizing the event I couldn’t tell based on the marketing and advertising for the event, the lack of corporate signage, and the sub-par audio equipment. It would seem that the only cost incurred by Shitshow was the protest permit.
Because of the national publicity, I wasn’t surprised to find nearly as many professional photographers and police as mooners. And some cops tried their hand at amateur photography.
The event went off without any disturbance, and the ass-embled protesters dropped trou and sent Trump their sentiments, demanding the release of his tax returns.
Critics of anti-Trump protesters say that the resistance needs to focus their message. I’m not sure I agree. This event had an extremely focused message: Release your tax returns, but had limited participation. Isn’t resisting Trump and his hateful administration enough of a focus? I think it is. Resistance is our talking point and our thesis.
Even though 45 is warm for Chicago in February, I have to believe that half of these cheers were for recovering numb butts.