Friday, March 16, 2018

Protest? Why Yes....Here's How

There is nothing more powerful than an articulate child or young person who wants to make change — who advocates against some injustice. Look (if you can bear it) at all those white male Republican elected officials, who do not want to eliminate assault weapons, who are still defending Trump, and who are totally out of place.  They are unconnected to what is actually going on in this country.  You can feel their discomfort, and you just know they are paralyzed by the last two Special Congressional elections. When the protestors confronted Rubio, it was not his best moment.  In fact, the only thing Trump has ever said that we all agree on was his description of Rubio as “Little Marco.”

Back to the important stuff. Last night we were having dinner with our dear friends Jan and Jeff.  Being Communication people we started to discuss the protests against owning guns, especially assault weapons.  You may recall from the first paragraph that I mentioned the voices of children and young people.  We all agreed that those voices were a powerful tool.  People all over the country either walked out of schools or spent 17 minutes in silence.  One minute for each teacher and child who were murdered in Parkland.  The movement has started and the NRA must be at least a little nervous.

Wouldn’t it be valuable to have a course at some high school or college called Protesting 101.  And wherever that is taught, I want to teach it.  It would begin with the history of civil disobedience, probably beginning with the anti-war movement during the Vietnam war.  There were protests before that — like during the civil rights movement.  But those protests were also peopled with young people who had passion and loud voices.  The heat of the Civil Rights, Human Rights and Womens Rights, and anti-war protests had their greatest impact during the 60’s.  The people who participated were mostly young with a vision of what this country should look like in the future. Then those protesters grew up, most lost interest in changing the world, and raised entitled children — who had no idea what it was like to “go out on the streets” and have a voice about injustice.  The 60’s activists were now interested in success, and money — so they could support the entitled children.  But now the children of the entitled (as opposed to the children of the corn —who were bone and blue eyed evil doers) saw 9/11 and the mass murders of other young people in schools all over, and they wanted the violence to stop. (OK I did short cut much of the history and reasons for what happened.  But my blobs get too long). So what do we have now? Voices raised in protest about assault weapons.

If I were teaching protest 101, the course would include the following:

-   Developing the message and not allowing the message to get convoluted or watered down.
-   How to organize  communication tools to rally support and spread the word. 
-   The importance of social media.
Decisions about who speaks for the group
Decisions about what they say

And the next steps, like getting all the protesters to register to vote,
identifying the enemy, like the NRA and elected officials and creating targeted campaigns against them.

Yes, there is more but this is a good start unless there is money passed directly into my hands — me being a 60’s protester who raised entitled children.  You can figure out if you are one of those if you have ever given your child a credit card or a phone before they could pay for it themselves. Anyway, nothing makes me happier than to know there are people who care about injustice and have good common sense.

We're just sayin'... Iris

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