Sunday, November 20, 2016

3.5 - The importance of continuing protest

The importance of continuing protest

Last week I mentioned and celebrated the spontaneous demonstrations against TheRump and his declared intentions in the wake of the election. "That's what we need," I said.

Those protests, to my great - I was going to say delight but the proper description is to my great encouragement - have continued.

Thousands upon thousands of people, many of them but by no means all young, in dozens of cities across the country have turned out into the streets in protests that as I do this show have continued for more than a week.

It's hard to maintain that kind of day in, day out passion and the demonstrations appear to be tapering off some but that doesn't mean the end of the opposition, doesn't mean the end of the resistance.

For one thing, there are still rallies and demonstrations planned and on-going. A list a checked the night before doing this show had at that point some 51 events in 44 places between November 16 and 20 and there are counter-inaugurals planned for DC and LA on January 20 plus a Women's March on Washington on January 21 with support rallies in Oakland, California, Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas.

Even beyond that, there is a lot of talk about settling in for long haul, for not so much what we might call furious passion as sustained passion, a passion that can and will turn people out into the streets but doesn't expect it to be seven days a week for weeks and months on end.

One aspect of that long haul could be seen on November 15 when students on campuses across the country walked out of class to pressure school officials to make each of their respective schools a "sanctuary campus," one that limits cooperation with federal immigration authorities.

Organizers have said that 80 campuses saw actions. The response to the day from the administrations addressed was mixed and not all positive - but then again, that is exactly what you would expect in the face of a new movement, one that precisely because it is an on-campus movement is a sort that can generate slow but sustained pressure. And we will need a lot of that.

But we have to recognize that as far as the establishment - in this case the political and media establishment - is concerned, this is not how you do things. Demonstrations, protests, and the like, well, they can make for interesting visuals for the evening news, but as serious parts of an effort to change things? Why don't be silly! Demonstrations are disruptive, rude; they are messy, they are impolite towards power, that's just not how we do things around here!

So we shouldn't be surprised by two trends. One is to dismiss the protests and the protesters especially by a sort of mocking condescension of how either unrealistic or naive they are.

For example, The Washington Post started a story about the protests this way; this is the first three graphs, quoted in full:
They’re angry. They’re afraid. They’re upset that Donald Trump is going to be their next president.

But many of the protesters who took to the streets in cities across the country over the past week didn’t cast a ballot for the candidate who could have beaten him.

Instead of voting for Hillary Clinton, the Democratic nominee, dozens of protesters in cities from Philadelphia to Portland, Ore., said in interviews this week that they had cast ballots for Green Party candidate Jill Stein, wrote in Sen. Bernie Sanders or, in some cases, failed to vote at all.
Because well, I mean, after all, how can you protest TheRump if you didn't vote for Hillary? That's just not the way it's done!

By the way, after dissing the protesters, the Post piece admitted in a parenthesis that Clinton won most of the states where the biggest protests have happened despite what the post tried hard to portray as the disinterest of the protesters.

We have to expect this kind of attitude, it always meets protest movements, and our best response both sort and long term is just to keep on keepin' on, doing what we would do anyway.

The other trend, though, is more subtle and potentially more damaging to our society: It is the tendency, even the desire, for the establishment - again, I'm speaking of the political and media establishment here - to normalize whatever happens to or within that establishment. To make it seem like nothing has really happened, nothing has really changed, everything is just as it was.

Now, they are trying to normalize the idea of a TheRump administration.

One example: The Dummycrats are gearing up for a strategy not of opposition to TheRump, but one of "working with him" where he has said some not-horrible things - such an increasing spending on infrastructure. No, there's nothing so outrageous, we just have some policy differences but see? We can still work together!

Another: In her first formal talk since the election, Hillary Clinton, without referring to TheRump specifically, still said "there is common ground to build upon."

A third, maybe even better example: CBS's Leslie Stahl said after an interview with TheRump that he is "more subdued, more serious."

The message from that establishment is "So you see? It'll all work out. I'll all be fine." With the  unspoken addendum "for us, anyway."

We can't let that normalization happen and I guarantee you it will if we don't stop it.

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