Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Ronn Owens slamming the Olympic torch protestors really has me missing Bernie Ward
It's sad to watch old friends getting churlish and too comfortable.
Last week Ronn Owens was lamenting the protesters who risked their lives climbing the Golden Gate Bridge to make a pro-Tibet statement, and--gasp--were tying up traffic.
Owens called for them to be strictly prosecuted, the same thing he said eight years ago about Iraq war protestors. (He later apologized, noting that they were right about the war and he was wrong.)
His callers were even worse: one woman from Marin, who claimed to support the free Tibet movement, was angry because it was making her late to the Giants game.
Another man said the protestors were taking away human rights, like the Chinese government.
Owens said that guy was "a bit" overstated.
In the old days, Owens and his ilk would have celebrated the protest, as they should. This is the city that has made protest an art, a cause celebre, a reason for thousands to trek to the West Coast and move to a bastion of liberal ideals.
As host Karel says: San Francisco is a blue city pretending to be red, these days. In the old days, he said, people would have lit up a joint and headed to Golden Gate park in honor of the protesters.
I even called Owens, upset and anonymous, noting that the protesters were doing what Martin Luther King would have suggested: peacefully calling attention to an unjust government.
Owens argued that King wouldn't have protested something half a world away. I don't believe that. Selma was just the beginning of his dream. Like Gandhi, King would have taken his message around the globe.
Owens also suggested that the protesters should have taken the protest somewhere else, not a place that would tie up traffic (or be seen by people and covered by the media?).
I can just hear Owens and his callers in Selma, during the civil rights protests in the sixties: "I'm all for civil rights, but I was on my way to the debutante ball and those horrible Negroes made me late. Couldn't they protest on streets we don't use?"
Anyway, as I listened to Owens, I really got to missing Bernie Ward, who before his child porn prosecution, was the most ardent and intelligent liberal voice on the air here (although I'm enjoying a Hannity-less Alan Colmes on KSCO-AM 1080 lately.)
You can read my post in the SF Weekly on who will take Ward's spot.
I'm going to do more for this weekly, which allows writers to have a political voice. Much missed from our current dailies.