performance artist candidate for mayor, Chris Young, has finally incurred a legal penalty.
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — A District Court judge Tuesday ordered perennial political candidate Christopher F. Young to perform 25 hours of community service for resisting arrest during an altercation at the State House on June 29.
Judge Anthony Capraro Jr. found Young guilty of resisting a deputy sheriff’s attempts to remove him from the Senate gallery, where he and his fiancée, Kara D. Russo, had been protesting the same-sex civil union bill. The judge, however, acquitted Young of disorderly conduct saying videotape and photographs clearly showed the couple “minding their own business” while quietly holding signs opposing the bill along the back wall.
This is after years of stunts like this…
Young showed up at a debate for Providence mayoral candidates at the Providence Career & Technical Academy on Wednesday. The mayor’s race is his race of choice this year.
He showed up carrying a three-foot statue of the Virgin Mary. And what happens when a man walks into a debate carrying a statue of the Virgin Mary? You guessed it. People noticed.
People, specifically the debate organizers, also told him that the statue violated a ban on signs or props among candidates and he would have to remove it.
Young argued that the statue represents his faith and is a matter of free speech.
His standoff over the statue left people who wanted to attend the debate waiting outside in a hallway.
The debate was delayed for more than an hour. Young got in the way.
That was in July, 2010, and in my opinion was obstruction. We have a lively tradition of free speech. Misusing that right to drown out others is abuse. Civility has its uses, especially in civil life. I don’t like the ‘glitter bomb’ or pie-throwing pranks we’ve been seeing lately, because it’s intended to humiliate a human being, and conveys a message that their security allows things to be thrown at them. I still remember Chris Young and Kara Russo, howling at James Langevin as he tried to conduct a Town Hall in Warwick during the health care reform debates. I think they should have been kicked out, not politely told to tone it down.
Providence has a wealth of performance spaces where they could do their thing. They, and all the people who use a public hearing to take more than the reasonable time to speak their mind while others wait their turn should be made to follow the rules. General Assembly– buy an egg timer, I’ll donate the funds.
And not in a good way. Here is Huffington Post with links to Fox TV.
Projo.com says that Young publicly proposed marriage to his campaign manager on condition that he wins. Words fail me.
Some time back I reviewed some of the highlights of Young’s career, including a link to an astounding photo in the ProJo of Young being hauled away by police, here in Serial Obstructor.
Today’s ProJo says that mayoral candidate Chris Young held up a debate for one hour, forcing about 200 citizens to wait in a stuffy hall until the police escorted him out of the building. Full story here.
There is a pattern here, or maybe a passion.
The first time I met him was several years ago. He was collecting signatures outside of East Side Market. I had been canvassing for my neighbor, Rhoda Perry, so I felt softhearted and kindly to everyone waving a clipboard. I signed for him, but even then knew he would not get my vote.
I next saw him at a State House hearing for marriage equality. I was signed up to testify, and like a couple of hundred others had to stand in the hall for hours. It was stifling and crowded, and it appeared to me that the first to sign were the last to testify. When Chris Young took his turn he spent about ten minutes fumbling with a Bible searching for some footnote. He said something about religion and took a long time saying it.
Later he appeared at a health care Town Hall at Warwick City Hall. He and his companion made so much noise you could hardly hear James Langevin speak, and that seemed to be deliberate. He was ejected by the police, but returned and resumed bellowing. There was good reason to believe that organized groups had come to fill the hall and shut down debate. One Rhode Island Republican said as much. I think Chris Young is a freelancer, though, marching to his own drummer. He’s a Democrat, though not exactly in the mainstream.
Last December he expressed himself again at a forum sponsored by Patrick Kennedy, and was photographed by the Journal with his shirt riding up and a police officer on each arm.
Today’s ProJo article has a photo of him clutching a statue of the Virgin Mary. I’m probably just imagining that the Blessed Mother looks embarrassed. I know my mother would be if I acted that way. I think that being hauled away is Young’s passion and transcendent experience, with police and news photographers playing the role of the Romans. It would be better if he had these moments in church, but he wouldn’t be so special there.
The sad thing about the hijacking of Faith by Politics is that the most politically connected and media-smart churches are the first to jump in front of the cameras claiming they are the true and pure expression of their religion.
But when someone breaks the rules, disrupts a public event, and acts really weird it shouldn’t take an hour to escort him out. Humility is a virtue too, and Jesus kind of liked it. Civility is a good thing to bring to a civic occasion. Maybe a little too pagan a concept for some, though. Especially those who live by the Biblical exhortation to be urgent in season and out of season.
There’s no substitute for local news. Today’s ProJo has a picture of conservative leader Chris Young baring his tonsils and lower abdomen in the cause of hollering loud enough to shut down another health care forum. He says he’s anti-abortion, but he was just as loud and rude to Congressman Langevin at the Town Hall in Warwick. He could avoid future sartorial disasters by coming to accept that he needs to go up a few sizes. Well, maybe his clothes shrunk in the wash. It happens.
Today’s Journal also has profiles of Rhode Island Catholics who were denied Communion.
Jim Davey was raised Catholic in Rhode Island and has attended Mass throughout his 74 years. But 20 of those years stand out as the time he and his wife denied themselves the sacrament of Communion because after having two children, they were using birth control.
There’s a happy ending when Mrs. Davey begs forgiveness in the confessional and is absolved by a priest.
This is the church that wants to shape the secular laws to fit its own moral code. This is the church that enjoys a comfortable relationship with secular politics. There’s a deference to claims of ‘faith’. I once watched Chris Young at a statehouse hearing on marriage equality search through a Bible for several minutes, while scores of people both pro and con waited to testify. Waited standing up for hours.
If Young were some unknown riffling through a sociology text he probably would have been told to get to the point.
Anyway, who will record these magic moments if not our one remaining statewide newspaper? The Journal, long may it wave.