Protests Are Good … But Not Enough

Saturday, there were a number of protest marches being conducted around the country and the world, with the largest one in Washington DC.    They were marching about women’s rights and civil rights, and against the threat being posed to them by the Trump presidency and the Republican Congress.  It’s a very real threat they were marching against, because a great many rights that have up until now been taken for granted are no longer safe.

Every Republican-held state has been busily passing laws to remove funding from Planned Parenthood clinics, and close abortion clinics.  Every one of them has been passing laws that do their level best to remove or drastically reduce things like “equal pay,” maternity leave,  and a host of other protections that women enjoy.

The marches are a start, but they are only a start.

Back at the end of 2014, I wrote about the “Black Lives Matter” protests that were then occurring around the country, and I took some flack over it.  It wasn’t because I didn’t support the cause, but my concern was that the protests were being seen as the “be all and end all” of getting action.  As I pointed out then, and in later posts, protests in and of themselves don’t result in change. Protest marches are wonderful events.  They’re generally big, they get media coverage, and they raise the visibility of your issues. But as the “Occupy Wall Street” protests showed, that’s all they accomplish if there’s no political action tied to  it.

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, it’s the states where most of what the national Republicans have been actively implementing (or trying to) what they’re going to do on a national level.  It’s where the push back needs to start, and if there’s one thing that needs to change, it’s turning out the vote in those mid-year elections.  I’ve seen a lot of concern about voter suppression over the past few years, and lots of posts about how Republicans are making it increasingly more difficult for various groups of the Democratic base to register and vote.  It’s a real and serious issue, but what keeps striking me is how often Democratic voters “self suppress,” by not showing up at the voting booth.

That’s got to change, and it has to continue for the next several years. It’s going to take a lot of work, and it will all have to happen after the marchers have gone home.    This year, two states (Virginia and New Jersey) will be electing governors, and other states will be holding local elections.   Next year, 36 states will be electing governors, most will also be electing other state offices and legislatures, every member of the House of Representatives will be on the ballot, and around a third of the Senators.  The year after that, three states will be electing governors.  Ignoring those elections, or failing to show up at the voting booth, means that the resistance will not succeed.

We’re in for a very rough time, and a lot of what many people have taken for granted is now, and will be, under assault.  Your pet issue, be it women’s rights, LGBT equality, the environment, healthcare, education, Social Security, or any of a myriad others are on the chopping block.  There is no “of course” about any of them, and it’s going to take a long time to undo the damage.  The marches are a start, but the real work lies ahead.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “Protests Are Good … But Not Enough

  1. dbtheonly

    And I’ll add depending on “demographic determinism” is not a winning strategy.

  2. Agreed. I was very glad to see the protests, but…there has to be more. Much, much more. Sadly, it seems that some STILL do not understand what is coming and are still playing grab-@$$ with their purity nonsense.

    I went to the “Save the ACA” rally in Newark, NJ on the 15th. I saw a great turnout, people collecting signatures for Democrats (like Phil Murphy, running for NJ Governor in 2017) and people fired up and speakers encouraging us to go out and vote. And yet…there were a handful still clinging to the idea of attacking Democrats for not being pure enough and not following Senator Sanders.

    In a time when we have to focus on taking our country back at the state, local and federal level and doing what we can to lessen the damage that the Trump Presidency will inflict, we do not need the purity patrol running around throwing bricks at those who we need to hit back. The purists are also indifferent to the fact that they were a major factor in Trump’s win last November.

    • I’m seeing the purity patrol on some of the other liberal sites, and in fact, I had a running battle with one of them this weekend. What none of those idiots get is that advocating for “purity” is a great idea when you have a rock-solid majority, it isn’t when you’re behind. Then it’s got to be “whoever isn’t actively against it.” I can persuade a Democrat to shift left, but I can’t persuade a Republican to do it.

      Interestingly enough, Bernie is likely going to be getting a challenge in his election – from the left. Al Giordano is actively making noises about seeking the Democratic nomination in Vermont.

      • dbtheonly

        I’ll take the other side.

        Purity is just a slogan designed to split us apart and so make us less successful.

        I can think of 4 Senate seats the Republicans lost strictly because their candidates were too far out. The TPR has been dragging the Republicans ever further right, and we see the result. Several Republican Governors are running to and governing from the center, while the TPR Governors. KS, have crashed their State.

        I don’t want to see the TPL force us into running wacko candidates of the left.

        • I agree about the purity, and one of the reasons I think we won’t see that is quite frankly, “pure” candidates acceptable to the TPL have a problem: They lose. As I pointed out to the one I had the battle with, over the past 15 years now, I’ve seen any number of “true liberal” candidates around the country, or at least those who were painted that way by the purists, and unless they were running in a solidly Democratic district, they lost – every time.
          One of the things I know about Giordano is that while he has solid liberal credentials (hence my saying “from the left”), he’s been upset with Bernie for a long time. He actually helped Bernie get elected Mayor, and then to the House, but Bernie’s inability to work and play well well with others pissed him off, and this past primary season was just the final straw for him

          • dbtheonly

            But I’m going further and asserting that there is no such thing as purity. You saw it when the purist started attacking Bernie for admitting he’d lost the primaries and endorsed Hillary. Bill Nye likes GMO. No one is pure enough.

            On the topic of protests, a slight rewording of the refrain from “Diamond are a Girl’s Best Friend”:

            (about the protest)

            If you don’t vote
            Then it’s a joke.

      • Good for him, I hope that he can succeed and kick this old useless hippie hypocrite to the curb.

  3. Hear hear, Norbrook; I’ve been trying to hammer this into the heads of some people on Facebook (and I’m a Canadian!) This needs to be spread far and wide.

    I’m also tired of the TPL doing its authoritarian thing with regards to culture, forcing movies, TV shows, and video games to be the way they want ‘just because instead of getting into the industry and making things better (this being one of a myriad of things I don’t like about the TPL here in [North] America.)