Good-hearted mountain folk come out in a massive display of civil disobedience – successfully preventing President Junior from making a scheduled appearance at Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park last Friday*.
The local media spun the story in favor of the President – blaming the trip’s cancellation on sudden thunderstorms in the area, but the protesters know better – it was their tireless efforts that intimidated the President’s entourage to the point of calling off the appearance for the President’s own emotional safety. This forced the President to give his scheduled speech at a McGhee-Tyson Airport hangar instead of at Cades Cove, arguably the physical mainfestation of mother nature’s supple, nourishing breast.
TOWNSEND – The rain, they said, was a sign.
“Maybe God is sending a signal to George Bush,” 78-year-old Al Wiberley said late Friday morning, standing in the downpour at the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and protesting the president’s expected visit.
Maybe Old Man Wiberly didn’t get the DNC memo about Bush’s co-Presidency with the Creator himself. Wiberly needs to do some fact-checking on who has the Heavenly Hotline.
To the 40 or so protestors who gathered at the park, the end was fitting. They didn’t think the president belonged in the Smokies, home to the country’s most polluted national park, when he has not done enough to rid the skies of pollution or to address global warming.
“It’s a PR photo opportunity that he’s really an environmentalist of sorts. He isn’t,” said Wiberley, an Alcoa resident who has volunteered at the park for seven years.
The protestors, who mostly hailed from East Tennessee and North Carolina, also had complaints about where they were allowed to protest – 10 miles from where Bush was scheduled to speak.
“I am appalled that as a U.S. citizen, I’m not allowed to get anywhere close to where the president is speaking,” said Patch Scott, who lives in the Mascot area.
Scott also added (off the record) that he is appalled that as a U.S. citizen, he was named “Patch” and vowed to get even with both his parents and Robin Williams, star of the horrendous waste of celluloid that was Patch Adams.
Next to the official sign designating the new ” ‘First Amendment’ Expression Area,” protestors displayed their own poster that read “FREE SPEECH GHETTO.”
Two freshmen from Western Carolina University, Tara Jones and Carmen Batchelor, were the first demonstrators to arrive. They tried to enter the designated protest area around 7 a.m., they said, but they were told to come back later to get a permit.
“We’re terrorists, as you can see,” Batchelor, 18, said sarcastically. “We hug trees; therefore, we’re evil.”
I thought the whole tree-hugging thing was a metaphor. I guess not.
Shortly after 8 a.m., however, the students were able to sign the agreement saying they would avoid using sound-amplification equipment and would pay for any damages they did.
Batchelor said she had another idea for a permit.
“I wish I had a copy of the Constitution,” she said, referring to the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble.
The students came to the event to represent their campus chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, but both said they disagreed with Bush’s environmental record, specifically his Clear Skies initiative.
When a man passing by on a motorcycle shouted, “Bush rocks,” Batchelor barked back.
“I could run this country better, and I’m only 18,” she said.
Batchelor later admitted that she did try to actually read the constitution one time “in high school” but gave up after she couldn’t find the clause that specifically outlined a right to abortion and free health-care.
Bess Crider, a mother from Bryson City, N.C., had much in common with the other protestors, except for one minor detail. She voted for Bush, both times.
“I don’t think Bush is a bad guy,” she said. “I think he’s principled, and I don’t regret voting for him, but I wish he would change his environmental policies.”
Wearing a sign that read, “I am a Republican for Responsible Environmental Policies,” Crider explained: “I believe being a conservative means conserving our environment as well. I wish Bush believed that.“
Is that right Bess? Well, I wish Bush was actually a conservative, but I’m out in the cold as well. I guess we should get together and commiserate over a big fat bong.
In the end, the protesters got their message across – and that message was something about cleaning smokestacks, more oil for blood and something about midgets. No matter, they were able to keep the evil BushHitler out of their prisitine skunk habitat and at the Airport where he belongs.
* – Article heavily excerpted due to site-required registration