09.08.2011 2

Handcuffs are the new black

By Rebecca DiFede — It would be hard to argue with the large impact that social media has had on politics since its inception, with every member of every political organization having their own Twitter and Facebook accounts to push their agendas, however it’s also had the unique ability to popularize things that were once looked down upon through their vast influence. For example, getting arrested.

Recently hundreds of people descended into the District of Columbia for a sit-in to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. College students from all over the city flocked to the White House to say their piece, and applauded as they and their fellow protesters were promptly arrested. Some even sent cell phone pictures to their friends of them in handcuffs. How awesome!

The incredible stupidity of this is the fact that being arrested, regardless of the reason, is not something that should be a source of pride or inspiration. It is rather the result of committing a crime, and as such is not something that should be cheered for or aspired to.

There’s something to be said for standing up for what you believe in, but being proud of, and happy about, your arrest is absolutely ludicrous. Especially when the people protesting are seemingly more inspired by a sense that they are being cool, rather than out of any real knowledge about the actual pipeline project.

One of the more notable arrested participants actress Daryl Hannah took part, setting quite an example for her fans.

Writer Bill McKibben, tweeted from jail on Aug. 21 that “The only thing we need is more company. We don’t need your sympathy, we need more company.” There are so many things wrong with that sentence that it is almost painful to have to spell them out. But at least we’ve got more than 140 characters to do it in.

First of all, he is once again glorifying being arrested in defense of the oil fields in Alberta which is an idiotic notion in and of itself. Complaining about tar sands that are so far away from his direct location that he will be unable to see any ill affects whatsoever in his day to day life. But hey, he speaks for the animals too. Too bad elk can’t post bail.

Secondly, he tweeted from jail. Apparently his jailers were not taking the arrest seriously because he had access to a cell phone or computer. If it had been a burglary or assault charge, his tweet would have been nothing more than a faint gurgle, as he lay shackled to his bunk dreaming of windmills and electric cars.

The offensive nature of glamorizing being incarcerated is staggering to say the least and it can only have a negative impact on our culture as a whole. Not only does it encourage civil disobedience and flat-out criminal misconduct but it also sends the message that it is totally worth having an arrest on your record for the rest of your life just because you went to a rally against an oil pipeline.

Apparently it hasn’t occurred to these people that they are getting arrested while protesting something that could create not only a source of revenue but also a huge source of jobs for our country in its most desperate hour. Why do the lives of animals with no political awareness take precedence over their own countrymen? Are they being paid off by Rocky and Bullwinkle?

Ironically, even if one agrees that the oil reserves in Alberta shouldn’t be developed, the White House protests were futile given that the Chinese have announced that they expressed interest in building a pipeline to access the same resource and have it shipped to China. Ultimately, the arrests in protest against the Keystone XL pipeline would not stop the resource from being developed, but instead would only stop the oil from being refined in the United States.

However, for some unknown reason it became cool for these rebels without a clue to get arrested.

What this all comes down to is the deterioration of the order of our society through the popularization and acceptance (dare I say, trend?) of going out with the knowledge (and, by default, the intent) to get arrested. Cell phone pictures, mindless cheers and jail bird tweets aside, this pipedream that the path to glory must first lead to the jail house doors is absurd. The only positive side is that the more protesters that get arrested are just less people that will be around to complain when the pipeline gets built.

Rebecca DiFede is a contributing editor to Americans for Limited Government.

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