Monday, January 16, 2017

On those protests against Trump

watching the snowflakes
drift down and melt away -         


A poet friend sent me information about an online protest against Donald Trump by writers and poets. The information from the organizers contained more of the same negative, prejudging, critical comments typical of these protests. 

I said I found the protest - and similar efforts - silly and misguided and trendy. I noted that while I did not support or vote for Trump and while I was troubled by some of the things he has said, he has not been inaugurated and has not officially done anything yet worthy of protesting. I said we need to wait until he actually does something, then, if we are troubled, protest. And I argued that knee-jerk protesting might undermine the protesters' credibility making it harder to protest specific things later. 

The friend noted that he has already said many troubling things, and that he has nominated objectionable people for Cabinet and administration positions. He said I had optimism that he did not share. 

I responded with the following: 

Optimism? Perhaps, but I prefer to think of it as following the lead of Mahatma Gandhi who believed there was good in all people and who sought to call forth that goodness. He never protested until the person whose actions he was protesting actually did - not just talked about - what Gandhi was protesting. Moreover, when he protested the protest was focused, with a clear goal that was obtainable. He did not stage broad, amorphous, vitriolic protests. 

Too much of what I see of these anti-Trump efforts are scattershot, with too much of the kitchen sink approach, and not taking into account changes and adjustments in his statements and positions. Indeed, many of the protests seem to be about yelling and screaming for the sake of yelling and screaming just for the fun of yelling and screaming and because all the right people are yelling and screaming. I suspect if Gandhi were around today he would write letters to and articles about Mr. Trump cautioning him and advising him, but not protesting until Trump actually did anything worth protesting and only when there was a chance of success. 

I understand the fear that some people feel, but sometimes that fear is based on perceptions and not reality. And while Trump does say and do much that is troubling, the protesters often seem to ignore when he has done some reasonable and generous things, and rather than engaging in dialogue to promote what is best for the country and to build on what is good - as Gandhi would have done - they seem more intent on stereotyping, name-calling, and mocking. I see a lot of hate and bigotry in the language of those who attack Trump's alleged hate and bigotry. 

I wrote another short comment, then went off to do  other things. When I later tried to return to the thread I was not able to - don't know if I was officially blocked, or the thread was removed. But my comments were also gone.

So much for free speech and sharing views. 

So many of the protests seem to be based on misinformation, outdated information, opponent talking points and so on. And with some, there is are agendas that some of those caught up into the emotion of the moment may not be aware. I have Catholic friends who plan to take part in the Women's marches, for example, without realizing that those marches are really about abortion and other concerns that go against Catholic teachings. 

But if you dare to point that out, you are dismissed or cut off. 

Just as the "free-speech" promoting writers apparently did. 

I suspect I will protest some of the things Trump says he'll do if he does indeed go ahead and do them. But I will wait until he actually does them, look at what he has done, and judge if the issue is worthy of protest and is one to which there is a better alternative. 

Pax et bonum

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