To Tory Shepherd,
I was made aware of your article Grab-bag of rage as the March in March was much ado about nothing when reading Victoria Rollinson’s excellent article The missing ingredients.
I took part in the march and have read your criticism, some of which may be valid. If I may be so bold, I would like to offer some criticism of my own.
You wish to denigrate protestors for not having professional signs?
“At the Canberra protest the UNHCR was the most professional looking outfit there, carrying polished signs (not floppy bits of cardboard).”
If you think that’s important then I am not surprised that you thought it an “incoherent outpouring of rage against the machine.” You go on to say
“The point of March in March was to protest pretty much everything, which meant that the valid points being made were drowned out by noise. Those signs, those higgledy piggledy signs with bad spelling and worse grammar, idiotic slurs and downright nasty smears, tainted the whole project. “
It’s rather ironic that you spend the majority of your article reporting that “noise” rather than the “valid points”. I would suggest that, without those few rather distasteful signs, you wouldn’t have bothered even mentioning the other 100,000 of us.
“They have to be smart. And that is where the Marchers failed and earned the contempt of so many. If your form of protest makes people either snigger in contempt or want to pat you on the head or give you a good bath and a spelling lesson, then you’re doing it wrong.”
Snigger at your peril. Your condescension may well end up causing you to be the one viewed with contempt. You seem to feel that we needed politicians there to lend credibility to the exercise. Once again you fail to see that it is the lack of credibility from our politicians and media that was a driving force behind this people’s protest. We are tired of spin from image consultants and advertising firms. We are tired of biased inaccurate trivial reporting by the media. What you dismiss as a “grab-bag of mixed messages” was in fact an opportunity for every individual to voice their concerns.
Saving the best of your journalistic expertise for last you end with
“But the Marchers in the end threatened to disappear up their own proverbials in a puff of BO and bong smoke.”
Oh really? I am 56 years old and I marched with my nephews who are 6 and 9. We spoke in the lead up days about why we were marching. The boys’ take on the conversation was that we were marching to save the trees and fish, and to make people be kind to each other. I thought that was a wonderful message and I was very proud of the “higgledy piggledy” signs they wrote and drew themselves. It was great to see my elderly neighbours waving their anti-fracking signs to the beat of drums played by pierced dreadlocked musicians. It was uplifting to see atheists applauding Father Rod’s speech about truth, decency, and accountability.
This video is “the horde of wild-eyed street-preacher types” that marched in Gosford.
You can’t pigeonhole the people who marched in March Tory, and you can’t identify any one over-riding reason for their concern, but if you think they are going to “disappear up their own proverbials” I would say that your newspaper is far more likely to do that in the near future than the concerned citizens of this country.
We marched because we love our country. We marched for transparency and accountability. We marched for compassion. We marched for the future of our children. Next time we will send you a press release so you don’t have to bother writing this sort of ill-informed, poorly researched, judgmental fluff in the future.