I have put off posting my new paradigm of activism for one more day because 100% of the people that either commented on yesterday’s post or emailed me about it disagreed with what I had to say (my wife and my dad both included in that group). A 100% disagreement has never happened—not that it’s a bad thing—because as always, I’m completely open to reassessing my stance. Conscientious seems to be the following overviews:
1. Marches/Protests/etc are worthwhile to bring cultural awareness to the topic/injustice
2. When done with passion, in congruence with other mediums, they can still be an effective step to influence change
3. Intent is the key—sincerity and sustainability trump publicity
I think those are all extremely valid points, so much so that I might even be reconsidering my stance. However the four pieces that still leave me reeling in why I don’t wholeheartedly feel secure in switching my position are:
1. The current structure of marches/protests does not align with the aforementioned three extremely productive and noble intentions and applications. If those three above were all realistically true, I would have absolutely no problem whatsoever. In fact, I’d be the first person out there! But that is just not how it works today. I’m looking at today’s systemic structure and applications, not their best-case scenario.
2. If everyone thinks marches/protests are so worthwhile, how come they hardly ever influence direct change? Even with the four added suggestions in the comment section yesterday, that still brings the world-wide total to a whopping seven directly successful times in the past 600 years. I am not saying this in a snarky way, I’m just legitimately asking the question out of curiosity. Maybe for me, I’m concentrating so heavily on the trees that I’m missing the forest?
3. I was talking last night to a really good friend who is gay and works for one of the 4 major PR firms in the world. He told me how surprised he was that from his gay friends (in the mainstream, not associated with his firm or the planning of the march) across the country none of them even knew there was a march, nor did they know what it was for. This once again proves my point—if the march/protest was so important or made any impact, don’t you think mainstream GLBT people who want more than anything to have (a) Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, (b) Defense Of Marriage Act and (c) the hate crimes bill all go in their favor, would want to march, or at least care enough to know about it? Especially in light of the fact that this march (whose three major goals were exactly a, b and c) was intended to be the biggest, most influential GLBT march ever. Shouldn’t it have succeeded in bringing big headlines and challenges to the government if culture deemed that medium worthwhile and the majority was on board? Wouldn’t media have then been all over it instead of the non-existent coverage it got—prompting the original post challenging the effectiveness of marches/current activism in the fist place?
4. I wonder about the planning committee of this march. Why did they plan what was supposed to be their largest most influential march ever, on a Sunday; a Sunday before a national holiday (Columbus Day), in which NONE of the government would be working or most likely not even in town during that day, or that extended weekend? How can you challenge the greatest issues in that community today to someone or something when they’re not even around? And if that is the case, who is actually going to care about it when it’s only one side talking to no one? Not the government. Not the media. It makes me wonder what in the world they were thinking—and what were they trying to get out of this other than trying to be a single day media grabber, which ended up not working anyway. Once again proves one of my points from yesterday—a few hours of activism don’t lend themselves to any amount of sustainability or credibility.
I would love to hear your thoughts about the Three Overviews that I could actually get involved with, and the Four Questions that still remain.