I think the Bellevue teachers strike is horrible. I don't care what the issues are in this dispute, the real competition is global, with kids in other countries and districts where the teachers and administrators are hard at work today.
So as I was driving down 148th SE in Bellevue this morning, and I saw teams of strikers waving at those of us doing our part to help (not hurt) global competition, I came prepared with a sign, hand-written by my 6-year-old: "Teachers go back to work!!!". I also had my camera ready, because I wanted to see how they respond.
Then a funny thing happened: they immediately covered their faces with signs!
Does anybody know why? In repressive countries the authorities like to send cameramen into crowds of protesters as a way to intimidate them, but this is America. If you are publicly exercising your right to free speech, why would you be afraid to have your photo taken?
I'm assuming that they don't mind photos taken by journalists or TV crews. (Or maybe with "real news media" the strike leaders are able to arrange that only certain photos are taken).
I have a theory: many (most?) of the strikers find the picket line a little demeaning. They think of themselves as professionals just like me. They think striking is for unskilled coal miners, or for those who have no other job options. They also know personally the students and parents they are hurting with this strike, and they are, well, a little ashamed.