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Coverage of protest was disappointing - The Galveston County Daily News: Guest Columns

August 25, 2016

Coverage of protest was disappointing

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Posted: Tuesday, April 15, 2014 12:05 am

I was surprised to read Wes Swift’s article on the protest against Ted Nugent’s appearance at South Shore Harbour Resort on Saturday.

As an organizer of the protest, I was not aware that a Daily News reporter was present. Swift did not speak to any protesters and apparently spent more time inside the benefit concert.

One would never know it from reading Swift’s article, but the protest against Nugent was quite successful.

To begin, there were more than a few of us there.

There were 11 of us, and all of us were energetic. We chanted and held signs between 5:30 p.m. and almost 7:30 p.m. One set of signs conveyed the theme of the protest: “Veterans Yes, Nugent No.” Other signs criticized Nugent’s racism, his sexism and the League City City Council’s approval of tax dollars for an event headlined by a notorious bigot.

We used a portable sound system to project our voices throughout the intersection of FM 2094 and South Shore Boulevard.

Most people driving by could hear our chants and read our signs. Because participants visibly put their hearts and souls into the protest, we were able to convey heartfelt opposition to Nugent’s bigotry and hatred.

The enthusiastic show of support we received from so many people was a highlight of the protest. Hundreds of people driving by saw and heard the protest, and many of them expressed support for our stand against Nugent. They gave us the thumbs-up or waved and smiled or rolled down the windows and shouted their approval. Numerous expressions of goodwill far exceeded occasional negative responses. And one local resident spontaneously joined the protest.

Another highlight was the diversity of protesters. People from different racial, cultural, occupational and political backgrounds participated in the demonstration. Together, we represented the kind of people power that will successfully oppose and overcome the resurgence of bigotry and hatred, which right-wing Republicans exploit for partisan gain. That is why we chanted, “This is what democracy looks like!”

One participant brought his biracial teenage daughter to the protest because Nugent had called President Barack Obama a “subhuman mongrel,” and he wanted her to learn to stand up against such vicious racism. He and other protesters would have been glad to share their views with Swift, but were not asked. However, journalists from FOX TV-26 were present for most of the protest, and a Canadian film crew making a documentary also interviewed participants.

The protest was successful enough to attract one angry counter-protester, but League City Police Department officers ensured he posed no problem.

Our demonstration ended around 7:30 p.m. — after the event inside had begun. It is unfortunate that Swift’s reporting on the protest was incomplete and misleading, but this does not take away from our success or the commitment of organizers to hold another protest if Nugent returns to League City next year.

Everyone supports caring for wounded veterans, and the next benefit for veterans in League City would likely be better attended and more successful if Nugent is not involved.