It appears that Grand Valley prof, Hermann Kurthen, has mastered the delicate art of making an ass of oneself.
On Monday Kurthen pleaded not guilty to the misdemeanor of obstructing an arrest. The charge arises from his participation in an anti-war demonstration on St. Patrick's Day. About 150 demonstrators, including the usual suspects in River City's "protest" community, pranced around a southeast side neighborhood next to Calvin College where they made a nuisance of themselves at the home of U.S. Representative Vern Ehlers and later at Woodland Mall. They disturbed the peace with bullhorns, trespassed upon private property, vandalized some homes, and tussled with security guards at the mall.
As to be expected from progressives in these parts, they wanted to make a big noise but do nothing that involved more than a commitment of a little time on Saturday afternoon when nothing's on television anyway. All of the offenses were petty. There was no lasting damage or injury. An anemic protest that didn't add up to much. Even the main target of their anti-war demonstration, Ehlers, was a bit pointless. Our local congressman is already wet on the Iraq war. Hardly a villainous war-monger to bravely march against. All in all, a show of poseurs that had more sappy baby-boomer nostalgia for the rallies of the Vietnam era than any real fire-breathing substance to it.
So maybe to give the anti-war demonstration a little heft, Prof. Kurthen mustered up some outrage at the Grand Rapids cops trying to control the more obnoxious protestors. Reportedly he interfered with the police doing their job and had to be wrestled down to the ground, where the cops clapped on the cuffs and arrested him. Well, by his own lights at least, you'd think resisting the atrocities of the jack-booted thugs would have salvaged some of the good professor's progessivist dignity. Who wouldn't be proud to wear the scarlet letter of the theocratic war machine and do his time in its gulag on trumped up charges?
Ah well, it seems that Kurthen would rather be true to himself. He joined an assinine parade of fair-weather dissenters and decided that he hadn't completed making an ass of himself until he fought the misdemeanor charge and the small fine that goes along with it. So much for the courage of one's convictions. These days it seems that within our "protest" community convictions are fine so long as they don't result in a conviction. It's all just a lark. Nothing that should disturb the placid waters of their everyday lives. They want to wear the mantle of civil rights marchers, draft resistors, and Vietnam war protesters of a generation ago without taking the risks to earn it.