ROCHESTER, N.Y.--About 80 people gathered outside a local Borders bookshop to "welcome" Sarah Palin on a stop on her book tour. They faced down over 1,000 Palin supporters who had come to have their books signed.
Palin, who is currently peddling her book Going Rogue: An American Life, is trying to revive a political career that should have ended with her disastrous vice presidential candidacy.
Protesters held signs addressing a broad range of issues, from support for equal marriage rights to opposition to the war in Afghanistan. "I'm here because she stands against everything I'm for, and I stand for everything she's against--universal health care, a woman's right to choose abortion and gay rights," said R.J. Bean.
The crowd chanted "Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Sarah Palin go away" and "Not the church, not the state, women must decide their fate" as people driving by honked in support. "Sarah Palin is portrayed as a feminist by the media," said Ryan Gromkoski, a local activist. "I'm here to let people know that there are people that are standing up to her. She's anti-woman and anti-gay, and as a feminist, I have no respect for this woman."
Carole Hoffman, a member of the National Organization for Women (NOW), spoke about arguing within her organization that they should make a call to the membership to come out and attend the rally. She expressed her disappointment that they felt the best way to deal with someone like Sarah Palin is to ignore her. "I'm insulted by someone who thinks that we should teach creationism in schools, and by her stance on reproductive rights," said Hoffman. "We shouldn't think that by ignoring the right, they'll go away."
Because of Palin's appalling political record, the rally offered a great opportunity for activists on a wide range of progressive issues to meet each other. "There are a lot of us, we are the majority," said Kash Chung, a local student organizer. "We need no longer be a silent majority."