Do You Have To Be Stupid To Protest?
I ask the question “Do You Have To Be Stupid To Protest?” because of the hypocrisy in protest with current events. Though I totally agree with the roots of the cause, I fail to understand why protesters act contrary to success and refuse to give, and be, the very things they demand. It’s situational stupidity.
OK. You can color this article if that makes you feel justified in hating, or, you can see it as the colorless plea for sanity that it is. I want better policing, and I really want racism to go away (all racism). These are both issues that are near to me, but these protests are deepening divides. It may get attention, and it may get lip service from public officials, but inside . . . that’s different. People see much more than you want to show them.
Most people (like me) already support the cause of justice, fairness and equality. The people we must reach are those who feel bias or who sit on the fence — like the officers involved with Mr. Floyd.
You can’t legislate emotion. It’s already illegal to act prejudicially, but that hasn’t stopped it. Police are now face to face with even more heated threats, belligerence and disrespect. They will NOT love you because of protests, and new laws can’t bridge racial bias. There are reasons for racism. There are reasons that police abuse authority. We must address those roots. Protests of hypocrisy just deepen racist feelings, even if public sentiment pushes it more underground. We need real change, not face paint.
Please, build a bridge to reconciliation for those you see as the enemy. Give a sincere apology for your stupidity and hypocrisy. An apology for your bad behavior does not condone theirs, but it starts a process proven far more successful than marching with mindless chants. (If you think you’ve already tried this, you’re fooling yourself.)
To My Friends Protesting: What Are YOU Doing?
I can’t hear you, your actions are too loud !! . . . . Whether you like it or not, hypocrisy in protest is overwhelming the message.
- Yes, there is righteous indignation, and yes, these are social causes worth the discussion, but please, quit making it worse.
- You want respect from police, yet you are disrespecting them. It is disrespecting all of us, including yourselves.
- You want less prejudice? Why are you chanting slurs against blue? Prejudice is not DNA — it’s a mindset of “us” and “them” — and in these protests, YOU are the racists you condemn.
- If you want Equity and Justice, you need to show it. EVERYONE at your event. You set the stage, over and over to have the message hijacked. If you can’t control it, it’s just stupid to do it. (Especially to repeat it every day.)
- “Peaceful Protest” is an oxymoron. The spread of anger in mindless chants, signs and symbols is not peace. It takes much more than the absence of outward violence to be “Peaceful”.
- You want to be heard, but what you say is mindless chants . . . . and no one really listens to repeating complaining.
- You want change, but you can’t agree (in most cases don’t even contemplate) rational solutions to address the concerns.
- Yes, some have misused authority, yet how does that give license to grovel in the sewer with them? You have the righteous cause, so rise above — with your actions — and demonstrate why you’re worth listening to.
- If you want fairness, be fair. There is nothing fair about destroying other people’s property. Or about name calling, or stopping traffic, or . . . . Be an example of what is fair and right, STOP being hypocrites.
- If you want truth and transparency, be honest in all your words and actions. Stunts to sway opinion are another way of telling lies. If you can’t be honest, how can you demand that of others?
- You say black lives matter while protesting shoulder to shoulder in the middle of a pandemic. People are dying because of your actions – paradoxically, by suffocation. Your actions REALLY say No Lives Matter.
- If you don’t want police violence, quit provoking them. (Speaking specifically of the protests.) Yelling about how bad “they” are makes you as irrational and ignorant as the bad apples.
- If you don’t want violence, quit being violent. Act in ways that stop violence — everywhere!
- You want a stop to police actions that are judge and jury, yet you are stating demands that are judge and jury.
- Furthermore, you act as judge and jury in tearing down public monuments. Some statues should go, I agree, but you don’t have the right to be judge and jury. It’s totally hypocritical.
Get To The Point
Please, go beyond the hypocrisy in protest above. It’s time to find some meaning. Your message is confused and without solution – which is really just whining. One example: “Defund the Police” means too many different things even among protesters. How can you bring the change you want if you can’t even articulate what that is? Where’s the plan? Including the details? Where is the buy-in? Where is the sound thinking and rational, calm, professional presentation?
Another example: What does it mean “Black Lives Matter”? On the surface, it’s a statement of the obvious and therefor meaningless. Deeper, different protesters say different meanings — including the insinuation that other lives don’t. (Comments about “this is not about other minorities” is just as racist as those you are complaining about.) Again, if this is a call for change, it needs a rational, reasonable, actionable resolution. It must work for the whole of society, and the protest must be free of hypocrisy!
MOST IMPORTANT: When will you think through the reasons that racism propagates? Then, why are your words and actions validating so many of those biases? Hypocrisy in protest is making racism worse, because these protests are not unlike a child having a tantrum.
It makes me sick to see the desecration of righteous causes that I care about. The very people asking for change are shooting themselves in the foot. The hypocrisy is just scary. I don’t know how else to describe it — but stupid.
Generations have proven that loud voices, angry letters, attacking chants, emotional rhetoric, and unfair accusations don’t achieve the desired result with any speed, so why do it again? Answer: Because it feels good to vent and be rude. Just like the officer kneeling on Mr. Floyd’s neck. To him, the moment felt good — even if it was incredibly stupid. In these protests, you are not that different.
You will not find peace in contention. Mandela (in later life) is a much better role model than King or Malcolm. He accomplished a ton more with respect and kindness than King ever did with protests and venom.
If we want Justice, fairness, and equality, we must be all of those — all the time. Protesting fails this paradigm.
It’s time to wise up, and quit acting so stupidly.
Be A Force For REAL Change
Go do something really crazy! Show some love, some respect, and give thanks to those you see as the enemy. Figure out something you can respect and be thankful to them for, and start with that. You don’t have to run in the sewer just because some of them have.
The fastest way to make real and permanent change is to walk undaunted on the high road.
(In terms of the police, we need the good cops to help eject the bad. Unfortunately, by categorizing all cops as bad, you’ve pushed the reasonable folks to a place where the changes they’ll make are not the most effective. You’re ostracizing the allies you have with your own brand of racism.)
What if these thousands of protesters spent the protest time doing things that build respect instead of tearing it down? One simple example: What if thousands of protesters cleaned their cities — scrubbing off graffiti, picking up trash, sweeping streets, helping neighbors, volunteering in schools, and so much more — especially around police stations and courts — with signs and shirts asking leaders to do the same on the inside. Presenting a succinct plan with delegations to honorably hound officials for needed change. That is walking the talk. Do that for a month and I guarantee the results will be far more positive and permanent. That’s just one idea, and I’m sure you can come up with some better.
If you think that’s too hard, ask yourself: If these causes are important, why won’t you build the communities you want?
Quit looking for others to change things, then get busy making a positive difference yourself. What comes around goes around — and we must break the anger cycle. Right now anger and violence are going around, and protests are propagating even more of it, yet propagating anger and bad behavior is no way to solve disputes. Justice will truly come only when YOU are also Just and Kind.
Be The Change You Want
It’s easy to chant and act badly. It’s easy to make signs and hold your fist in the air. It even feels like it might be for a good thing — But I’ll call your bluff. I don’t think you are willing to do the harder things like becoming the change you want. I don’t think you are willing to change the things that continue to propagate racism. (That’s just my observation based on watching these protests.) Call me whatever you want if it makes you feel better about your bad behavior. It just means you don’t know me.
Just like it’s the easy way out for police to act badly — It’s the easy way out to protest in hypocrisy.
My call is for all of us to become better than this hypocritical garbage. Stop the hypocrisy in protest. Real and permanent change comes through acting with love, showing respect, and working kindly with all. It has to start somewhere, and each of us changing ourselves is the only real option.
If you can’t do this, then you are no better than those you are protesting against.
Honestly, if you can’t show respect and kindness and justice, then you probably deserve the world to settle back to where it was — because that’s what you’ll get.
I hope it can be otherwise. Though I am skeptical, I still hope that intelligence can filter through to find meaningful ways to bring out the good in our hearts. Please, let’s all BE the kindness, justice and peace we want. Let’s act in kind ways to pursue the goals that will make the meaningful changes our country so desperately needs.
* Top image from Berkeley News with credit as an AP photo by Mark Vancleave.