Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
Reason reports on a “peaceful” protest against police abuse in Washington DC, telling us that “No fires were set or property damaged as far as I could tell. They succeeded in shutting down intersections as they went along, tailed by a cavalcade of police cars, lights flashing, there to keep the traffic in check.”
Color me deeply unimpressed.
Fifty years ago, the headline-grabbers called attention to themselves by dressing to the nines in order to get the snot beat out of them by racist cops who would not allow them to cross a bridge (over its pedestrian lane no less!). They did so in order to call attention to their dignity as citizens and the moral decrepitude of the officials, police officers, and posse members who assaulted and beat them.
Today, it’s noteworthy when their slovenly-dressed heirs merely limit their activities to intentionally shutting down traffic, and inconveniencing hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have committed no injustice. I saw this personally in Boston last December, shortly after the Eric Garner story went big, when a couple of hundred protestors shut down one of the city’s busiest (and worst) intersections, snarling traffic in a half-dozen directions.
I wish I had taken some photographs of the late-night commuters, whose faces betrayed that they realized it would take them hours to get home. The most depressing aspect of the whole thing was the line of officers guarding the freeway entrance to ensure that none of the protestors marched onto I-93.
A few weeks later, a group of protestors did exactly that a few blocks away, subsequently chaining themselves to concrete barrels they’d dragged down for precisely the purpose of shutting down traffic during morning rush hour.
There’s no point in holding a protest that nobody notices — and shutting down traffic is a guaranteed way to call attention to yourself. Under some extreme circumstances, I can imagine how that might be justified. But absent those circumstances, it’s the easy, sloppy, cowardly way of doing things. Parks such as the Boston Common — conveniently located in front of the State House, I should add — provide an excellent venue with great optics, though you have to earn listeners’ attention rather than demand it by preventing them from getting home to their families, or forcing ambulances to re-route.
If you want to influence politics, act like a damn citizen.