ON PROTEST (AND THOSE WHO PROTEST AGAINST THEM)

By Nathaniel Currier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
By Nathaniel Currier [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.

I am continually amazed at the conveniently short memory of the vast number of the “political scientists” that post their analysis on social media. The fact is there always have been protests on inauguration day. The scale and degree, of course, varies, but the plain and simple reality is that protest, even destructive protest, is as American as the Boston Tea Party. If there were no protests on inauguration day it would be unamerican and dangerous.

Indeed, revolution is one of the few distinctly American (and French) inventions of the modern political era. The notion of Civil Disobedience was penned by Thoreau, an American. So all this nonsense about protesters being lazy or not having jobs or being idiots and so on may be true in some individual respects, but it is also deeply American at the same time and not particularly different from the ones of yesteryear or the ones of the other side of the dispute.

When you are against a protest you are not really against the protest as such, you are usually against the content of that protest. The truth of many of your social media protests against protest is that you don’t like the protest when it is against your side, but you will turn a blind eye when it suits you. You will defend free public assembly when it is your rally and any misbehavior will be seen as an unfortunate outlier — or planted riots — so long as it defends your truth. But if it is on the other side, you will denounce it and ridicule it.

This sort of selective hearing, on every side today, is a huge part of the problem. If you want to “not be lazy” then maybe don’t be lazy about your “facts” and recognize that you are yelling at a mirror. Many Catholics decrying the protests today and tomorrow will very soon be applauding the March for Life protest. They will say that the protestors in DC this weekend are planted and paid for by rich liberals, but then they will complain that the liberal media won’t pay attention to their grassroots protest at the March for Life.

You cannot have it both ways, and so long as you keep trying to, you discredit yourself and your petty protest which, I must admit, is very much a part of that Protestant American sensibility of protest.

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