For those unfamiliar with the term astroturfing, it refers to political demonstrations that are orchestrated by professional protesters and made to appear as grassroots community outrage over an issue. We recently have been subjected to such an event in my small town of North Ridgeville, Ohio. The artificial outrage has its source in the shooting of five mangy, disease-ridden, feral kittens by a humane officer. Let me begin this post by saying I am pro-kitty, I live with four of them. I am also supportive of residents of a community seeing something in their community they want changed and petitioning their local officials to facilitate that change. That is not what happened in North Ridgeville, and what did happen in my small community is a form of national thug politics practiced by the left across this great nation.
The original protest against the shooting of the kittens transpired last Thursday night and consisted of 20-30 people with hand-written signs marching near city hall for and hour or so. A few people driving by blew their car horns to show support for the protesters. Monday night, after the radical animal rights group Alley Cat Allies, co opted the local issue to use as a fundraiser for their organization, there were 70-80 people, some with professional signs, screaming in front of city hall for two and half hours. The symphony of horn blowing from vehicles driving by was not limited to cars, but semi trucks also joined the Astroturf orchestra. A gentleman on a motorcycle, with window-shaking exhaust pipes, even treated me and my neighbors to his incessant driving back and forth in front of city hall. In fact, after watching the traffic for a while, I noticed that the people blowing their horns, some for 30 seconds or more at a blast, were the same half dozen or so people constantly driving back and forth in front of the protesters. Obviously these were members of the group whose job it was to disturb the peace in order to get their way, like a child throwing a temper tantrum.
I took it upon myself to read Alley Cat Allies website, and on it was reports on the North Ridgeville event. The website also mentioned that members from Alley Cat Allies were meeting with the mayor and council members to demand action be taken. Again, I am in favor of members of a local community organically growing change in their city. But I am not in favor of outside agitators, in the form of national organizations, invading a town and using thuggery to intimidate local officials into bowing to their demands.
Maybe the humane officer who shot the kittens could have handled the situation differently, but he is certainly not the evil monster characterized by some of the protesters. What is even more distasteful is some radical animal rights group using the kittens' death to fund raise for their organization and assert their influence where they have no business. As for those in my small community who allowed themselves to be used as tools of Alley Cat Allies, I wonder how many of them would have taken in those five kittens and paid for their medical expenses. I wonder further how they can be so exercised about five kittens being euthanized, and yet I would guess, most of them have no problem with the thousands of human babies aborted every week in this country. And shame on my local officials for allowing themselves to be intimidated into placing the rights of out-of-town carpetbaggers over the rights of taxpaying residents of the community. But this is 21st century America, where thuggery has replaced reasoned public discourse and the rights of the dissonant few are given precedence over the rest of us who pay the bills and serve our communities in silence.