My daughter, lucky toddler that she is, has a lot of Dr. Seuss books. One old classic she loves is “Go Dog Go,” featuring a lot of brightly-hued canines running around performing basic vocabulary tasks. At the end of the book, these busy doggies all jump out of their little cars, ascend a tree with a tall ladder and there, improbably, at the top of the tree, is (pause for my daughter) “A dog party! A BIG dog party!” Then we recite the litany of “big dogs, little dogs, black, white, red and yellow dogs,” all quite obviously having a blast at this dog party.
Why does this litany keep running through my head as preparations for the G8-G20 protests fill our news headlines? I substitute “cops” for “dogs” and realize that the G8-G20 is not only an appallingly expensive photo-op for our world lead-weights; it is, in fact, a Big Cop Party. Big cops, little cops, fat cops and skinny cops. Quiet cops and riot cops. Very well-funded cops. Cops getting in lots of overtime, staying at hotels. Cops testing their toys on pro-testers with Tasers and bells. Sound cannons? What the hell?
This is not the type of story I wish to read to my daughter. Notwithstanding laudable efforts to create “kid-friendly” spaces of protest for the majority of us who think world leaders should stop taking photos of themselves and start listening to their constituencies, I am not planning to bring a two-year-old to the Big Cop Party. Quite frankly, and probably as they were intended to do, the thought of those sound cannons scares me. My own ears have never been the same since that AC/DC concert, but that was my choice.
The “Hells Bells” the police are playing already sounds depressingly familiar (“Anarchists! Booga-booga!”), but the sheer opulence of the G8-G20s Big Cop Party at a time of economic hardship is creating a groundswell of indignant muttering among the politicos that will hopefully become a serious examination of the viability of such “summits.” It will be up to the thousands of brave people who crash the Big Cop Party to demonstrate conclusively that the wasteful spending indulged in by the police and their masters on the shores of “Harper’s Folly” is far more absurd than any children’s bedtime story.