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By Lizzi Pittman

Who is #greenshirtguy? All of us.

The Tucson city council meeting on August 6th was open to the public, and citizens took their usual places in front of the mayor to address the recent first-in-the-nation referendum passed that adds to the November ballot an item to make Tucson a sanctuary city. It’s as hot a topic in Tucson as it is nationally, and is one that is tied to larger discussions around immigration policy, policing and race, gun control, and the upcoming presidential election.

The viral moment that came out of that Tucson City Council meeting, between Alex Kack (AKA #greenshirtguy) and the two protesters from AZ Patriots, has connected with millions because it’s brought into focus something that’s been missing from the social media discourse: what should a person’s reaction to wildly inappropriate behavior be? The AZ Patriots’ manic display doesn’t even pretend to move the conversation forward- and the fact that in a subsequent video it became glaringly clear that they were woefully misinformed about what even they were “protesting” further illuminates the underlying absurdity of it all. In a recent interview with MTV, Mr. Kack himself (and, full disclosure, a friend of BRINK) put it plainly:

“What was happening at city council meeting is that we had gotten well over the number of signatures that we needed to get this on the ballot, and they just have to go through the formality of formally placing it on the ballot. There was no discussion or opportunity for there to be a nay vote or anything in that sense. It was really just this process going through this formality. “

#greenshirtguy’s moment shows that the whole Red/Blue Very Online culture has officially crossed once again into absurdity. For me, it’s a white straight-jacket, singing-to-the-wall moment when the brain lets go of trying to logic out some scenario where this behavior makes sense. It’s a switch from being sucked into the void, to when you finally don’t have to be bought into the system, because there truly is no point. 

We are all #greenshirtguy but it’s not down the Democratic/Republican divide, or even the urban/rural divide. His delightful chuckle of full surrender is transcendent because it unites everyone of us who would never, ever in a million years, scream down the mayor at a meeting where there isn’t even a vote, much less on a topic we know nothing about. So, thank you #greenshirtguy for your noble act of sanity – laughing maniacally in the face of the truly absurd.

By Lizzi Pittman