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.
Acolytes of the Socialist Senator from Vermont and like-minded youngsters have found a new pastime: disrupting Donald Trump campaign events.
The radicals who gave us the “Occupy Wall Street” movement have mostly graduated and gone on to “you want fries with that?” kinds of jobs. The “Black Lives Matter” movement has not fully petered out but it now includes in its agenda regular assaults on all of the presidential campaigns.
And now, many of our upper crust university students who may not be specifically connected to the Black Lives Matter protesters and who are, and who always will be, driven by existential ennui (cf. F. Nietzsche, the will to power) have decided once again to re-imagine “democracy” to mean something like this.
They attend public events where literally thousands of people have come to hear what one man in particular has to say about the issues of the day and, at key, coordinated moments in the speech, they stand up and start shouting about what they themselves think of those issues and what they think of the man who is talking.
Why do they do this?
Of course, we already figured that out above. But I’m not asking about the wellspring of their core motivation now. I want to understand what they expect to accomplish concretely. What constitutes success? When they get back to the dorm later that night and gather around to get high and reach consensus on the day’s “action,” how do they judge whether it was worth it? Did they significantly impede the flow of information? Did they reduce, however minimally, the likelihood that the man will become President? Did they meet any cute girls (or get any closer to it)?
I mean, look. They’re probably not going to Dartmouth or anyplace really good. They’re probably more from the wannabe Dartmouth types of places like Middlebury and Colby. But even Middlebury and Colby teach the kids to reason, don’t they? And surely these kids spend days planning and executing their “actions” – either in person or on Facebook. Does no one ever ask: “What’s our objective?”
I expect that in order to penetrate the psychodrama that leads to these essentially sterile and meaningless expressions of hatred (and there’s a lot of hatred which they’ve been taught that is on display here) you have to delve into the fantasy world of the kids. (Can you think of anything more mortifying?) In this case, at least, what do they daydream about? Being on television? Being interviewed by someone from CNN as they are forcibly removed from the event? Do they fantasize about being injured – hit on the head maybe – and bleeding on the evening news (and then being bandaged up by a cute girl … hmm … now that’s not so bad, eh)?
Or is it really that they don’t overthink it; they just don’t have anything better to do and “some kids said on Facebook that they’re going to go do it so I will too?”
Because I can tell you this: it doesn’t make a whit of difference to the Trump fans other than to make them more excited about their candidate and more willing to go out and support him. I have been to Trump’s events. If they didn’t have any protesters I think they would do well to plant a few of them themselves. It spices things up. And, let’s be honest, it’s not like Trump is going to say something particular that would have convinced someone to vote for him but now they won’t because he didn’t get the chance: dern those protesters!
Another tactic the Sanderistas are using is to register on Eventbrite in droves for Trump events so that there are vast tracts of empty seats at the events. That worked really well in Burlington, didn’t it? The parry of the Trump campaign has been a bit crude but basically effective. For the event in Burlington the venue held about 1,500. So the campaign issued 20,000 tickets and told people to get there early – first come, first in.
And, while we’re in Burlington, this was intentional by the Trump campaign, right? Your supporters want to come and disrupt my event? Okay. Let’s just pack a hall of my supporters in your backyard. Is there another reason why we campaign in Vermont with its massive slate of 16 delegates?
A reasoning person who thought the world a reasonable place might predict that these disruptions will soon die out. Those who do it won’t feel like doing it again. Those who haven’t won’t have any sense of novelty left.
But such reasoning people, alas, underestimate the forces of inertia and fashion in the world of scruffy college youth. If the kids haven’t realized yet that it’s pointless, they’re not going to realize it now. In their spoiled, narcissistic hallucinations they are fighting an epic battle against a ridiculous but nevertheless malevolent enemy who specializes in uttering words which they have been told are forbidden. They are King Hal at Agincourt. They are Joan of Arc at Orleans … at the very least, they are Don Quixote at La Mancha.
And they are, some day, destined for a shocking dose of litost.
What say you, Ricochetti? Got any college age kids of your own? Do any of them do this kind of thing? (N.B. I didn’t mention mine!).Published in