May 4th, 1970. Jackbooted members of the Ohio National Guard gunned down four Kent State University students protesting Nixon's invasion of peace-loving Cambodia. Thirty-five years later, the thick, gastrointestinal stench of fascism has crept into Ohio once again, this time in the bucolic burg of Toledo, known affectionately as "The Festering Carbuncle of the Midwest". But when a small band of Republicans descended upon a predominantly black Toledo neighborhood to denounce its residents as subhuman animals prone to violence, the community came together to prove them wrong by rioting, looting, and throwing rocks at police officers.
As my Segway sped through the halls of Evergreen State College this morning, the quiet campus deserted for Ramadan break, I couldn't help but recall a similar incident here a few years ago. When the Olympia chapter of the American Anti-Midget League staged a march to protest the "pint-sized circus freaks" turning our college into a "clown school", hundreds of midget students responded by riding unicycles, juggling brightly colored balls, and shooting themselves out of cannons. It took two whole days for the authorities to herd the little fellas back into their tiny car and send them home. And while their unified show of defiance drew sharp criticism from the right-wing press, midget leaders hailed the riots as a natural eruption of midget rage built-up from decades of heightist oppression. In the end, the vertically challenged students kept their self-respect and dignity, while the Anti-Midget bigots merely got a ton of free publicity and a few hours of video for their next recruitment drive.
As a Professym of Midget Studies and Kama Sutra at Evergreen, I teach my students that acts of violence like those we saw in Toledo are unacceptable...but understandable and completely excusable. While destroying your own neighborhood does nothing to change the puny minds of inbred morons, it provides your trusted community demagogues with the leverage they need to make positive changes in the financial situations of their close friends and relatives. For as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said as he wheeled a cartful of DVD players out of a Birmingham Wal-Mart, "We will leave no metaphorical car unturned in our righteous crusade against the intolerant storefront windows of social injustice."