A SELF SERVING TUG OF WAR
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
I remember that one of the first things I was asked to do when I began broadcasting my national program was to get into the thick of the Occupy Wall Street encampments. The reason was that for the first time in my career I was right in the thick of what would be an all out fight between the police and those who occupied a park near my office.
In fact, the coverage I gave at that time was so in depth that I was asked to go to Las Vegas and do some reports there as well. My work actually was seen on the television show, Conspiracy Theory, with Jesse Ventura.
During my coverage, I noticed that what was happening does not feel like a protest. The cause was not effective enough to show Wall Street that the 99% needed help or higher wages and homes. It merely demonstrated that those who participated could not agree on what needed to be changed, nothing of any import wound up on a ballot, none of the protests got any one to take action.
It resulted in police confrontation, a reported rape, a hepatitis outbreak, and a city Park that had to be fenced off while the grass needed to grow back and the city had to repair park benches and fountains.
There was also an issue of the leadership stealing donations to the cause. It was unfortunate that none of the protests amounted to any action.
Little did I know that this would become a trend.
By 2014, I was once again right in the middle of a rally for Black Lives Matter. This movement marched in the streets of Portland, motivated by police brutality, and many stories in the media about oppression and unfair treatment.
The movement gained some power through hashtags on Twitter and marches at the Courthouse and moments where I was held in my building for my safety. Some nights as the protests were violent at City Hall, I was forced to stay in hotels and kept from my family.
The highest-profile Black Lives Matter protests received front-page coverage in every major paper in the country. Demonstrators protested, by name, the killings of more than forty unarmed black people by law-enforcement officers. A majority of these officers were not indicted, however; of those that were, three were found guilty. To date, only one of the convicted has received a prison sentence.
Again, I was wondering how these protests have created any talk or action where police would be held accountable. In fact, I was starting to see a different side of Black lives Matter and was certainly not being very popular by saying that they are doing nothing more than creating more racially charged division in the country.
Now, the question is – whatever happened to Black Lives Matter?
Then in January 2017, on a cold day in Portland, I am heading into work and the trains are filled with people wearing pink hats and carrying signs that protested the oppression of women in the United States.
Throughout the nation and in nearly seven hundred cities all across the world, millions of people assembled for the Women’s March, chanting both for female empowerment and against President Trump who wasn’t even in office taking charge of the country. When I interviewed a Protestor and asked about what the rally is about – she told me that it was a protest against Donald Trump’s policies.
I said he really hasn’t settled in the White House, what are his policies?
She curtly replied that he is a misogynist and a fascist.
It was said to be the largest single-day demonstration in the history of the United States.
Then Monday came, and the new administration went about its work as planned. There was nothing more to be said… it was a good show, the hats were pink and the signs were cool, but again nothing – maybe a little anger saved up for the Me too Movement .
For centuries, on the right and the left alike, it has been an article of faith that, in moments of sharp civic discontent, you and I and everyone we know can take to the streets, demanding change. We are told it is a First Amendment right to free speech, which I guess has an addendum which is the right to be pissed off, but the question is what does the indignation create?
I mean, the simple answer is attention – but where is the action?
The First Amendment also has this sub protection of “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
However, in the protests of this era, nothing is peaceful and there doesn’t seem to be enough redressing of grievances to make a difference.
Smartphones and social media are supposed to have made organizing easier, and activists today speak more about numbers and reach than about what they have accomplished.
Maybe we should organize a protest in order to bring attention to that fact protests are now a waste of our political attention.
Maybe we should admit that all of this peaceful protest that we hear about is akin to World Wide Wrestling – nothing but social theater that makes everyone involved feel virtuous, useful, and right?
Today, there was yet another protest in Portland. The Patriot Prayer group and the Proud Boys were to convene at the Waterfront for peaceable assembly. These groups are bait for the arrival of Antifa, as this so-called anti-fascist organization sees these groups as Alt–Right white supremacists that need to be outshouted, outnumbered and threatened with violent retaliation.
The irony is that the two of the leaders of this so called White Supremacist group is part-Japanese; the other is a Pacific Islander. Both have darker skin—their only sin is that they are Libertarian and constitutionalists. They are anti-socialist, they are against illegal immigration and they voted for Donald Trump.
Joey Gibson, the founder who is running for Senate said the purpose of their gathering was to get the authorities of Portland, Oregon to do their job and stop Antifa from disrupting their rally.
Well, again nothing really changed. The police showed up – Antifa confronted them and the bombs exploded to separate the crowds as the police made arrests.
Patriot Prayer was told by Gibson to have fun, party and not cause any trouble. They had that right.
Antifa moved their group to City Hall and shouted form the rafters, hateful indignation about Capitalism, Imperialism, Nazism, and Fascism. The Antifascists held up signs that advocated violence against Nazis and Fascists and those who organized it put down the system of our government in order to extol the virtues of socialism.
Then immediately after I got pictures and audio of the gathering, some of Gibson’s people were already getting in busses to go home while Antifa continued to fume and raise the outrage level to a fever pitch.
I realized as I walked back to the studio to prepare for a lives how on a Saturday that this becoming a bad habit rather than a solution to anything.
The Resistance has no real purpose and if there is a civil war to be had – no one will be able to agree as to why it would even matter—nothing would be accomplished only the guarantee of a police state with families planning their trips around riots and protests that do nothing to improve our lives or to change policies.
All of these methods ignore the structural nature of the real problems in our world. They are all motivated by media gerrymandering and the encouragement of violence so that the talking heads have one more issue to blame on the President.
All of the protests seem to make all of the issues wither away and die quicker than allowing them to make any lasting impression on law makers.
The protesters messages get lost and mangled by an unsympathetic public that get angered over images of property destruction and masked marauders that loot businesses.
The way to take the thrill out of the protests is to say that they have become repetitive, worthless and quite frankly boring.
Not that I want to see some violence. I just wish that something profound would come of these protests—instead we see a lot of people gathered together to get high on adrenaline from anger or cannabis.
Standing at the Antifa rally, I realized that I am an old man. They were protesting because they believe that America should be a no-work, open-bordered world.
I wanted to shout out –spoiler Alert – it didn’t work for the communists, or the hippies, what makes you think it will work in America—then I saw a flag with the hammer and sickle and thought that somewhere history is lost on Antifa.
They believe that society can change and must change in order to phase out capitalism as a system. That is the ideal—America sucks, the president sucks, the Constitution sucks—everything about America is sucks.
Wow, what a platform they have.
They want us to know that we are now running in an endless hamster wheel of misery – that the founding fathers got it wrong and that maybe we should listen to Karl Marx and his failed ideology.
Thinking that this is wrong – I guess would make me a Fascist according to them.
They aspire to shorten the workweek, introduce the floor wage or a global basic income, and release people from the mind-set that makes all of this sound lazy. They look forward to the day when robots take our jobs.
This their Utopia and they will attack any and all those who wish to counter their ideology by labeling them Fascists, Nazis and white supremacists.
It is all knee jerk theater, and it does nothing but anger people.
It is also interesting to note that while all of these evils of America are being shouted down – many of these anti-fascists are weekend revolutionaries, because most if not all of them can’t take time off of work to say they don’t want to work anymore, leaving the job up to those who don’t have jobs or homes to carry out the protests.
It is all pretty deflating if you ask me and real protests comes from sacrifice; even sacrificing your time at work or with your family to bring out real change.
It only goes to show how self serving protest has become in political identity.
Sure, we are all mad as hell and we don’t want to take it anymore, but real Americans of action know that the courts are where changes are made showing up to congressional hearings in order to change bills into law have also worked. Lobbying seems to be working and will be the very reason why you won’t be drinking out of plastic straw soon.
No one stood out in the street to block traffic to get plastic straws banned and yet by some magical trick – more and more people are using paper straws, albeit they are coated in plastic.
I mean, what did the woman’s march accomplish?
Empowerment, human rights, discontent. Why did it matter? Nothing has changed.
How is that Black Lives Matter rally going… haven’t really seen one?
Yes, it has been a while.
If the gears and the levers of the machine are broken, it doesn’t make much sense to stand next to it and demand it fix itself.
This is why nothing is getting done and Americans now have to plan their lives around protests and riots.
I hope those who see this as a self serving tug of war will wake up and refuse to show up at these meaningless events.