Black (Balloon) Friday
New PAC hopes their event will appeal to the next generation of progressives
By Simon McCormack
What’s that in the sky? It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s … a protest?
Members of PAC505, a recently formed political action committee, plan to draw attention to what they feel is a deceptively strong relationship between President Bush and Congresswoman Heather Wilson when the president visits the Albuquerque Hyatt on Friday, June 16.
The group is handing out black balloons (most of which are three feet in diameter) to more than 100 local residents and businesses. The balloons will be flown 150 feet in the air and will fly throughout the day.
“Wilson has tried to distance herself from Bush for roughly the last six months,” says PAC505 Treasurer Mark Fine. “When election years come around, she poses as more independent than she actually is. In fact, she’s very connected to Bush and her policies reflect that. We want to put more of a magnifying glass on this event and make sure her constituents are aware of the link and the relationship between Wilson and Bush.” Wilson’s office was contacted, but no comment was available by deadline.
The secondary goal of the event, Fine explains, is to try to appeal to younger potential activists who don’t necessarily feel comfortable protesting in more traditional ways. “Some members of the new generation of people, who have a similar political agenda as our group, don’t really take part in the more Vietnam-era style of protests like marching,” Fine says. “We want to involve as many people as possible so that they can feel politically empowered.”
As for what problems a sea of giant balloons might cause the city, Brian Morris, vice president of the Downtown Action Team (DAT), says his group is very much in favor of people holding anything from banquets to protests Downtown. Morris cautions, however, that if any balloons are on city property or not directly affiliated with private businesses or residences, the DAT will take “immediate action to take down the balloons.” Fine doesn’t anticipate that the DAT will have to take down any balloons, since they will all be placed on private property by people who have either requested balloons or agreed to display them.
So aside from you, dear readers, and the people flying the balloons, how will people know what the heck these black balloons are all about? Fine says PAC505 plans to put out a press release to all major local media outlets, as well as national media, explaining the event and its purpose. He also hopes the group’s website (www.pac505.com) and word of mouth will shed some light on the balloons’ purpose. “I think a lot of people will see a bunch of black balloons in the sky and wonder what they’re all about, and that’s exactly what we want.”
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