Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Cowardly, Lyin'

It is considered wrong, I am told, to tell someone else the right way to protest.

And there are a lot of ways.

People are pissed off. There are a lot of people who are so pissed off they wouldn't recognize progress if it offered them a sandwich. They'll string up a decent politician for something he said fifty years ago. They'll howl for his hide if he offers them 60% of what they demand plus a soup kitchen to be named later. There are people getting off on such a perpetual state of blinding rage that their positions are frozen.

There are plenty of enraged people on the right, of course, the original home of black-and-white thinking, but they're mirrored on the left by pious progressives who still, in 2020, claim we should vote for a unicorn because there isn't any real difference between Democrats and Republicans. And also that anchovies and ham would be good on ice cream.

They come in all ages. A lot of the younger ones can keep a righteous boner going all night as long as they light something on fire. Around the corner here we have a graffiti gang busily scribbling over the landscape with the self-importance that comes with their rage and age. Some are particularly impressed with themselves. "Why refuse the mask? You've been wearing one your whole life," scrawls one, with all the insight of a precocious ten-year-old. The Black United Fund building is routinely decorated with screeds against cops and landlords and capitalism and although the building has needed a paint job for decades, it's also possible they could have squeezed out a few more scholarships for Black students if they didn't have to pay for cleanup.

One must never tell someone else how to protest. So I am told. But you know what? Ham and anchovies would be really shitty on ice cream, and there are some really shitty ways to protest.

A really good way to protest is peacefully, persistently, and in huge numbers. Over and over. And that's what's been happening in Portland. That is the story here, or would be, if the sanctimonious late shift could be persuaded to confine their fireworks to Mommy's trash can. And so, by the light of another pointless dumpster fire, an idea reared up in the darkest heart in the nation, and an anonymous paramilitary force was parachuted in to bang some heads and disappear some citizens, while much of the country was fed a fiction of friction in service of the great leader's favorite narrative: his unique ability to solve problems he made up himself.

So, hell. We had been winding down, but of course we had to send in the Wall of Moms. And the Wall of Moms, like all great theater, got noticed: too much, maybe, deflecting attention away from the original message that Black Lives Matter. BLM protestors have rightly wondered where their white allies were in every march since before Ferguson, but now that white peple have shown up in droves, we're in danger of taking over. It's a fine line, and one we'll never get just right. But here's the thing. It had to happen. The wall of Dads with leaf blowers had to happen. The wall of veterans had to happen. Because we've got goons to deal with now, dominating a dab of downtown real estate at the corner of Tiananmen Square and Argentina. And they must be confronted, and so must the sad little coward who sent them. Because the truth is if he fucks this country any harder, he'll have to send it hush money.

I haven't joined the Wall of Moms, although the urge is strong. I'm still safeguarding my health. And after all, I can't claim to be a Mom.

But maybe I can, after all. Maybe that's a spark I still carry inside. Because I swear to God, the first thing I thought of when I saw the video of those cosplaying soldier-boys gassing and shooting and whacking my fellow Portlanders was this:

Don't make me come down there.




30 comments:

  1. It is considered wrong, I am told, to tell someone else the right way to protest.

    Who cares? I'm gonna write anything I want about any subject I want. Anyone who isn't interested in what I have to say, for whatever reason, is free to ignore it.

    Pompous perpetually-outraged brats smashing thing up, and ideological purists for whom no real-world candidate or solution will ever be good enough, are perennial problems. Some eventually learn, some don't. I think they are few enough that we can work around them, but we do need to figure out how to minimize the messes they make that everyone else has to clean up.

    Everything is going to be shit until Trump is out of office and we at least have sane people at the top. The election needs to be the focus.

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    1. I agree with every single word you said. Particularly your Pompous line. Thanks for writing.

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    2. That pompous line may be the best thing I've seen on the internet today, except for your post in its entirety.

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    3. "Perennial problems..." I just want to point out that Lenin wrote about this very problem, based on what he experienced in pre-Bolshevik revolutionary activity in the first few years of the 20th century. It does indeed have a long history.

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  2. It would not surprise me in the least if we found out that Trump actually sent in an agent provocateur to stir things up so that he'd have an excuse to send his Nazis.

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    1. NPR aarticle
      https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-protests-for-racial-justice/2020/07/28/896515022/minneapolis-police-reportedly-identify-viral-umbrella-man-as-white-supremacist

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    2. I think, around the country, it's a mix of agents provocateurs, white supremacists, and Infidel753's "pompous perpetually-outraged brats."

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  3. I live on the opposite coast in a state that was heavily gerrymandered (by Democrats, FYI), in a district that has an astonishing number of Trump supporters -- as I found out in 2018 when I worked as a volunteer on a congressional campaign. Our candidate lost, but I learned a lot about campaigning and met a lot of interesting people.

    The protesters have a righteous cause.I would join them if I could.


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    1. Just read in the paper today that polling shows large support for BLM all over Oregon.

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  4. I was looking forward to your take on your home's situation, and you did not disappoint.

    Rioting is not the same as protesting. And it gave Trump the excuse he wanted to send in force and thrill his followers.

    Sorry to be merely restating what you said so much better. I'm getting tired of entitlement in ALL its many guises.

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    1. And here, as I heard someone say, "if we're having riots they're the tiniest riots [she's] ever seen." By gum, SEND IN THE MARINES! Bleah.

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  5. I, too, am happy to hear perspective about what's going on in Portland. I'm sick to death of the media's portrayal of what's happening there when everyone I know from Portland (or thereabouts) or who's friends with someone from that area is telling a completely different story. Smart people are getting sucked into the gaslighting and it's damn hard to convince them otherwise. Since this entire movement began, the pattern's been the same across the country. Peaceful protest until the lights go out and Infedel753's pompous jerks come out to wreak havoc.

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    1. And of course it's always been a sound political gambit to portray Blacks as a criminal class.

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    2. It was still working at noon today, so there you go.

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  6. You said you’d get back to me on this, and I knew I could count on you. Some of your best word work here. If you did go down to that dab of real estate, though, we’d be terrified for you now. We have you right where we need you to be, here with us, blowing it all back at ‘em.

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    1. I think things might be winding down. We'll see. I keep going back to my young friend's statement: "Don't worry. Say home. It's our turn now."

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  7. "Don't make me come down there" used to be guaranteed to quieten kids of any age.
    I understand about protecting your own health, I'm doing the same here by staying home, of course we only have Covid-19 to worry about, we don't have mini wars going on in the streets, but you can do your protesting just the same way you always do. Here.
    Right here on this blog.
    Your words will get around.
    I saw Portland on the news and cried for you. All of you there.

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  8. I've been watching for this, crying at the goons committing crimes like Brown Shirts, an army on our soil, against our citizens- remembering from class in Jr. High that this is illegal in the US.

    Please stay home, using your computer, dear Murr. The pen is mightier than the sword, and we've never needed you more.

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    1. Well I have a very small audience, but thank you.

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    2. We may be but small in numbers but are mighty motivated to vote. Wait, did I just plagiarize somebody...

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    3. We may be but small in numbers but are mighty motivated to vote. Wait, did I just plagiarize somebody...

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    4. I think you just plagiarized yourself!

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  9. "They also serve who only stand and wait." This popped up in my long-term memory just recently, and I say it to myself over and over.

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  10. The younger generation blames the baby boomers for destroying the economy, for supporting the racist police state which murders black people, and for pretty much destroying America. The level of hatred that the youth feels towards boomers is undescribable. My question is, do you boomers think you're going to have a peaceful retirement? How do you think the younger generation will treat you? Already we see it happening, a couple weeks ago there was that video of a black guy punching a 75 year old white baby boomer man in the face in a retirement home. This is what happens when you live a greedy selfish life without thinking of the future. One day, the CONSEQUENCES of your actions come back to hit you a 100 fold. You boomers destroyed America and the youth is angry enough to riot and burn down the cities. The GREED of the baby boomers caused this. Anyway good luck, you baby boomers are gonna need it.

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    1. If you are the younger generation, I take back my admiration of the ones I see out in the streets peacefully protesting. You sound angry to me, sound very like the Brown Shirts & the Maoists (many of whom now have recanted, seeing how they were used). Anger by itself isn't the problem, just who you aim it at, whether it is just, and what you follow it up with...whether it leads to something better, for all. Hatred only festers & breeds more of the same. Is more destruction the answer ? Really ?

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