Yesterday, two women from CODEPINK, a women's movement that looks to "wage peace," attended a book signing in San Francisco featuring Tim Pawlenty, the former governor of Minnesota who's currently campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination. The women approached Pawlenty's table, where he was signing copies of his book Courage to Stand, opened two manila envelopes in front of him, and let out a stream of hot pink glitter.
"Where's your courage to stand for gay rights and women's reproductive rights?," one of the representatives asked several times before being escorted away from Pawlenty's table by security (Video below).
Pawlenty has a poor record on LGBT rights. In 2010, he vetoed a bill in Minnesota that would have afforded same-sex couples the rights to their deceased partners' remains. He explained his veto, saying, '"I oppose efforts to treat domestic relationships as the equivalent of traditional marriage."
CODEPINK's glitterbombing incident comes a month after a similar act of protest from Nick Espinosa, who dumped a box of silver glitter on GOP nominee hopeful Newt Gingrich in Minnesota. While he poured the glitter, Spinosa said, "Feel the rainbow, Newt. Stop the hate. Stop anti-gay politics. It's dividing our country and it's not fixing our economy."
ACT-UP's members enacted the most sensational and compelling of all gay protests: in 1987, they sprawled out at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway to demand more access to newly developed AIDS drugs, and that same year hung their famous "Silence Equals Death" banner in front of Ronald Reagan's White House. Seventeen years later, ten nude ACT-UP activists protested the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York.
Though some of the group's protests were grim, they all effectively employed a blithe spirit, catapulting them onto front pages around the nation, and the world. So too has Erickson's stunt, which will hopefully inspire more imaginative and playful protests that capture the nation's attention.
Pouring glitter on a politician doesn't hurt the politician (unless, I suppose, if it finds its way into the politician's eye, which would, admittedly, kind of suck). But it's an offbeat way to attract attention to a cause, expose someone for behavior or action you disagree with, and compel the media to cover your protest, which wins coverage for your cause or issue.