Soon, the downtown area of the City of Pittsburgh will essentially be declared a no-man’s-land.
If you take a look at the many maps available through local media sources, you will see that there will be only three (count ‘em) “entry points” into the city proper for two days. These entry points will be patrolled by police who will subject people entering the city to random stops. It makes me wonder why they’re going to be there at all when most of the downtown parking garages are going to be closed. That’s sure to cause a glaring lack of commerce.
By playing host to the G-20 summit, Pittsburgh hoped to showcase itself to the world. They wanted people to see us for more than just a bunch of smoke, Lombardi Trophies, Stanley Cups, and pierogies. How wonderful will we look to the rest of the world when, while “the world” is here, every business and street closed within 100 yards of whatever politicos or dignitaries happen to stand up and be counted, we’re going to look like a ghost town.
Contrary to what you might think, I am not anti-G-20. Honestly, I could give two shits about the damn thing. It’s a lot of empty talk, like any other “summit”. At least one person I’ve talked to has described the G20 as “the most evil people in the world all together in one room at the same time”. I sort of agree with that, based on the fact that we’re in a global economic hellhole and a bunch of the people attending the summit are finance ministers. Sure, evil bankers, bad mojo, big money (no whammies, no whammies, stop). Seriously, though, there are actually more evil people in the world. Maybe not as powerful, but certainly more evil.
What, exactly, will this cadre of “evildoers” set their minds to while they’re here? What will they accomplish? More than likely nothing. The end result will not change the world. It will not alter the course of human history. It will be a bunch of people sitting around talking about how they can change things but having no initiative or resources (via backup, not fundage) to actually implement those changes. If they do happen to have both of those qualities, then they’re more than likely going to get whatever legislation they’d like to pass in their country stopped by some fat cat who is content to keep getting fatter off of the current, more than likely corrupt, policy.
In the end, nothing will happen. Summits like this are hot-air sessions; a festival for self-fallating entities whose lack of testicular fortitude could be considered legendary. In short, these bitches are all talk.
On the other side of the coin, we have the protesters. These are the people who believe that something honestly sinister will be going on inside our beloved David L. Lawrence Convention Center. They think that by standing in the streets and waving shoddily-produced signs on sticks that they are going to influence the major leaders of the world. They honestly believe that, if there are enough of them standing around chanting in Point State Park that their voices will be heard.
Maybe they aren’t as informed about the “combat zone” as I am. Maybe they neglected to pick up a newspaper or turn on a tv set at any point within the last month or so. Scream all you want, protesters. You’ll be doing it in vain. None of the dignitary’s activities are going to even barely breeze them by the protest area. You can count on that. Again, the gigantic protest for which people are sure to come from far and wide will be another self-fallating hot-air fest with absolutely no results.
As much as people might hate to admit it, without nearly a full-scale coup, protesting isn’t going to get much done on this level. What exactly did the near-riots around G-20 sites in London accomplish besides a bunch of arrests and some property damage? These are not the people who are going to listen to the tiny ones like you and me and they will be especially repulsed if we decide to try to talk to them whilst wielding a placard. Protesting does work in certain situations. Here, most of the great variety of causes will more than likely get lost in the melee. Organize better and maybe people will listen.
Plus, there are some causes that, no matter how noble they may be, no amount of protesting will help to solve them.
And don’t just stand around chanting “No G20”. It’s here, there’s nothing you can do about it, you lost that fight long ago, move on. Also, don’t wave signs trying to induce guilt in the summit’s actual participants. That will just perpetuate the amount of nothing they get accomplished. No one likes working while depressed.
Nothing on either side of this conference will be accomplished other than a Guinness record for most cranial injuries in one short time period due to all of the people butting heads.
In the two days that town will be closed, Pittsburgh will experience a jump in air pollution that was heretofore only seen since before the major mills closed. Only, this time, instead of soot falling from the sky, it will be bullshit. Make sure to bring your umbrella.
I’ll still say keep fighting the good fight. Just do it with some better timing.