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Part 2: Lady in Pink column’s reader comments led me to think about protest tactics.

By
March 19, 2007

Pink ladyPicture: Mrs. Wilson’s profile on the right of woman in pink. All photos were taken off the TV screen from the live CSPAN broadcast of the hearing.

We now know that the person about whom I wrote this column yesterday, was really a transgender female named Midge Potts, formerly a U.S. Navy sailor, who is a member of the anti-war group Code Pink: Women for Peace.

You can read more about Potts on her My Space page

Now that the identity of "the lady in pink" was been made public, this will hand a silver plater full of sarcastic, disparaging and dismissive jokes about the peace movement to the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh.

Part One: A Plame-Wilson hearing sideshow: with friends like these

(Scroll down for Part Two, which was added on Monday, Mar. 19, and is a response to the comments made by readers about Part One. You can read the comments from Part One HERE. )

First wearing a fuzzy pink hat, then exchanging it for a paper crown with lettering on it (illegible on TV), a fortyish woman managed to get a prime seat behind Valarie Plame-Wilson during the House hearing on the CIA leak case. Whenever she stood up she clearly displayed the "impeach Bush now" message on her hot pink t-shirt. It seemed that whenever she stood she looked to the left, nodded, and sat down as if someone had told her to remain seated.

Pink lady's crownPicture: The pink crown, which could
be seen even when seated.

Watching on CSPAN I saw her stand up numerous times.

Her expression looked smug and self-satisfied. She’s even seen at one point rubbing one index finger down the other several times in the gesture used to convey "shame on you".

As the news reports of the House hearing are being shown on the television news broadcasts, this woman in pink is in many if not most of the images of Mrs. Wilson.

What could she have been thinking as she persisted in hogging the screen with a woman who I assume she wholeheartedly supports? Is she merely misguided or mentally ill? For those prone to thinking of Republican dirty tricks, could she even be a plant sent there to mock the proceedings and make those critical of Bush look rude and ridiculous?

That this would benefit her cause?

While she has a right to express her opinion, I am sorry she choose this serious hearing to do so in such a distracting way. I believe it showed disrespect for Plame-Wilson as she spoke, not only for the first time in public, but under oath as well.

Rep. Tom DavisDespite the persistent but implausible comments from Rep. Tom Davis R-VA (pictured right) that there was no proof anyone involved in leaking Mrs. Wilson’s identity as a CIA employee could have been expected to know she was a covert agent, her responses made it abundantly clear that any administration official at the very least should have assumed there was a very good chance her job was classified.

Her testimony before the House committee was damning to the Bush administration.

I think we needed to attend to the testimony without distraction.

This is what Midge Potts had to say after the hearing, as being broadcast repeatedly on CNN:

I don’t think the importance of the message is diminished by the antics or the clownish things at all because it’s grave, our situation is grave.

I beg to differ. The antics and clownish behavior of Code Pink do diminish their message.

Why give mockery ammunition to the likes of Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh? Limbaugh already has Code Pink in his sights:

(March 14, 2007)- RUSH: Do you remember the left, the anti-war left had one of their pathetic little anti-war protests in Washington? It seems like it was this year, but time is really, really flying. Anyway, there was this Code Pink babe that went to the microphones and said this. Do you remember?

 

CODE PINK BABE: We women of the United States have a very clear message for every single presidential candidate, including or especially, Hillary Clinton. And we women say, puuuull ouuuut noooow! (Cheers and applause.)

RUSH: Does that not remind you guys of your first and second wives? Maybe even thirds. Pull out now! Transcript

Now these right wing potty mouths have a protester with an Adam’s apple and five o’clock shadow to make fun of.

As well-meaning as the woman in pink may have been, her antics and clownish behavior didn’t do her, and Code Pink’s, cause any good.

Part Two: Response to Comments

I want to respond to some of these comments before I think of a new column and this one goes into the the Never-neverland of the columnist archives. (Shameless plug: you can read all the CHB columns and Doug’s Rants since the new format by clicking "Columnists" on the top of the page.)
 
First, to the reader who thought my focusing on this issue was trivial, hey, what can I say? Everything that I feel is worth writing about isn’t earth-shaking, and if it is, what I have to say has probably already been said, often better than I could say it.
 
Second and really most important, I want everyone to be clear that the reason I wrote the column in the first place was not because I disagreed with the sentiment behind "Impeach Bush Now", but because I thought the way the message was delivered was a lousy tactic.
 
I certainly don’t want to censor anybody. I just want people I agree with to use the most powerful methods to persuade people who may be sitting on the fence, reluctant to give up their opinion that Bush and his chosen people can do no wrong. I think there are many people who tend to automatically believe those in high positons of authority because it is more comfortable to do so. They feel anxious or at least uncomforable when faced with evidence that those they trusted as their leaders, to be Freudian, their father and mother figures, have lied to them.
 
These people sometimes can be persuaded to see the truth. But it takes a deft approach to do so. I requires understanding the power of the mind to cling to a set of deeply held beliefs because to give them up will cause psychological conflcit.
 
Don’t you think that Karl Rove was delighted when he saw Midge Potts and her homemade pink tiara jumping up and down? He knows full well how many people want any excuse to believe that George W. Bush can do no wrong.
 
When it come to political persuasion I like to think of myself as cold and calculating, as a total pragmatist, believing that while maintainng a high stantards of ethics is essential (no Bush – Rove dirty tricks) what  counts is results.
 
I don’t give a two-penny damn about her emotions when it comes to a Midge Potts wanting to have her twenty minutes of fame, and I’m a shrink.
 
My view is that the point of protest is to effect change.  Initial tactics should be to persuade those who may still have the remnants of an open mind, and if that doesn’t work, then we have to move to stage two which follows the model of protests not only against the Vietnam War (where Universities were shut down), but of Ghandi in India and the democracy protests in Red Square in China.
 
We need people committed enough to go on hunger strikes until death, like Ghandi did, or to stand in front of a Chinese army tank like the still anonymous man did in Tiananmen Square.
 
We also need the thousands of people we now have engaging in peaceful protest who will show by massive numbers how many Americans are committed enough to the cause to make their way to Washington or another big city.  It have to show thousands are willing to get arrested, and if it comes to it, to be tear gased and beated down with police batons like Vitnam War protestors were.
 
As far as the self described antics and clownish behavior of Midge Potts, I see no way that this advanced the cause. Add to that that at least some people found her popping up and down in an outfit that looked like it came from a costume shop to be distracting, and other found it to be disrespectful to Valarie Plame Wilson.
 
According to Wikipedia, Midge Potts Potts is a Persian Gulf War veteran who served aboard the USS Yosemite, presumably as Mitchell Eugene Potts. It seems to be she would be a far more effective spokesperson for her cause if she spoke in this capacity.