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I have Attention Deficit Disorder, which prevents me from paying attention to anything for more than a few seconds. The protestors at Sen. John McCain’s acceptance speech two weeks ago caught my eye for at least 12.

It wasn’t the good, “Dude, that’s Emilio Estevez” kind of attention. It’s more like the horrific 20-car crash on the I-10 kind of attention.

Don’t get me wrong; political demonstrations have been integral to some of the United States’ greatest accomplishments. The American civil rights movement during the 1950s and ’60s is a beautiful representation of the potential of a political movement. The concept of the United States of America started with protests against the British Empire.

Think about who the most well-known political activists in the 20th century were. For me, the three names that come to mind are Martin Luther King, Jr., Mohandas Gandhi and Nelson Mandela.

So how did we end up with Michael Moore, Ingrid Newkirk and Ann Coulter?

The nonviolence philosophy of the first three adhered to has been distorted. Their actions were not just nonviolent. It was nonviolent resistance. They were not the aggressors in the conflict.

Political advocacy groups like Code Pink and PETA — People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — are the aggressors in their political activism. U.S. Marine Corps recruiters don’t hassle Code Pink; Code Pink hassles recruiters. Donna Karan doesn’t go to PETA meetings and disrupt them. PETA members go to Donna Karan fashion shows and invade the catwalk with protest signs.

Those protesters do not resist injustices. Rather, they lay indignities onto others and justify it because of the other party’s alleged wrongdoings.

There used to be a show on MTV that featured flashy acts very similar to those of PETA and Code Pink. It was called “Jackass.”

PETA protestors regularly cover themselves in fake blood to advocate animal rights. “Jackass” stuntman Johnny Knoxville once covered himself in raw steaks to be a human barbecue.

PETA also uses full and partial nudity in their protests, as recently as a Pittsburgh demonstration on Tuesday. The performers on “Jackass” have rollerbladed in jockstraps, emerged from trunks in thongs and driven Zambonis in the nude.

Code Pink protests sometimes involve dancing in bright pink attire, like their protests outside of a Marine recruitment office in Berkley. Again, “Jackass” has a recurring segment entitled “Party Boy”, in which performer Chris Pontius dances in his underwear in public.

You won’t find a “Jackass” stunt featuring Johnny Knoxville canvassing door-to-door for a major political candidate or donating to the United Negro College Fund — likely because those are sensible things to do.

If your political demonstration resembles an entertainment program that features grown men riding in shopping carts, what does it say about your demonstration?

More than 200 years have passed since a group of colonists dressed like American Indians and threw tea into the Boston Harbor. It’s only been 48 years since the first Greensboro sit-in at a North Carolina Woolsworth’s.

Yet somehow, protest actually went backwards. Political activism went from dignified, nonviolent resistance back to attention-seeking, aggressive action.

I understand what today’s protesters are trying to do; political awareness is an integral part of achieving democratic sovereignty.

But why not march instead of dancing around in pink costumes? What does PETA solve by comparing pig farms to Hitler’s concentration camps?

I hope nobody listens to this type of protest for their bright colors and loud chants. I like to think Americans are not so void of thought that their beliefs can be swayed by a pig costume.

And I don’t even want to consider that I live in a country where it can.

Christopher can be reached by e-mail at

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