Observations on Local Protests

For over a year now, there has been a Saturday morning protest by BLM supporters in the town nearest to me. Mostly white, as I live in a rural, mostly white county. And mostly older folk. They stand along the side of the road at the main ‘downtown’ intersection, holding signs and waving at passers-by. They aren’t obnoxious, and you could drive right by without knowing they were there, if you weren’t paying attention…..and let’s be honest, most drivers aren’t these days.

Recently however, a ‘counter-protest’ has appeared across the intersection from them. Well within their rights, this protest is an odd smattering of signage for supporting the police, “defending the military” [whatever that means], anti-vaxx, and a mashup of ‘patriot’ slogans.

Now, I don’t consider myself any sort of support of BLM, though unlike most Conservatives, I will readily admit to the largely untaught racist history of policing in this country. But the BLM folks seem decent enough and end their vigil at 1100 am with a prayer.

The counter-protest…….are not that. A small group of screeching and obnoxious [also white] folks who spend their morning literally screaming across the road….often just repeating the same phrase over and over….and over and over again, until their voices start to give out. They also cross the road frequently to i guess intimidate the BLM folks? There is a police officer resent at these events, that I don’t believe was found to be necessary prior to the counter-protest.

I find this tactic odd. Ostensibly, the goal of a protest is to raise awareness and convert folks to your position on a issue. Now, one can argue that a protest is likely to generally appeal only to those who already hold said position and it;’s all really a waste of time. I wouldn’t argue with that.

But, if your undecided/uninformed on an issue, and were observing both protests….which tactic would cause you to learn more, or speak to the protestors?

I believe that I suffer from a militant practicality, so I’m handicapped in the ways of social norms and peculiarities….but I don’t see the value in acting like an asshole. But that’s certainly where a particular political demographic finds itself.

13 thoughts on “Observations on Local Protests

  1. CI posted… “I will readily admit to the largely untaught racist history of policing in this country.”

    Thank you.

    Now a couple of questions… Why is the teaching of this reality so controversial? Why are so few conservatives willing to admit what is so obvious? Wouldn’t that acceptance gain them some credibility with people [specifically African Americans, but other POC as well] they used to count among their voters?

    Like

  2. Yeah, it’s kinda interesting when one compares these little local “crossroads” demonstrations. I live in rural CA, which means we have more Right Wing desert-rural residents than the rest of our blue state. In fact, we have a quasi-Trump GOP congressman of little or no importance… to himself, us residents (well, some of us residents), or the nation. But he keeps the seat warm. Hell, I dunno how to even spell his name correctly.
    We have one of those rural crossroads here in town, where two north/south and east/west roads intersect at a stop light. The fave location for locals to walk with signs, display their political information, or sell paraphernalia, is a patch of dirt next to one of the stop light poles. This is not an often occurrence here. Maybe two, three times a year are politically themed events… most others being the occasional capitalist trying to sell wet teddy bears or some ethnic fruit from the trunk of his car. The curiosity is that politics displayed was more about Trump.. and hardly any specific issues at all. It was generally funny that during the Trump years, especially around the elections, the tables would go up, the mountainous amount of waving red-white-blue banners, American flags… pro-Trump signage galore… and you never saw any vehicular traffic stop to check it out. It was almost like no one wanted to be spotted stopping there. I tend to collect oddities and sometimes election pins, etc. And while I am repulsed politically by MAGA, I did want to get the red hat for the home souvenir pile. Two things turned me against the idea.. one being, I will not pay Trump for one of his hats. The second… um… I don’t think I want to be seen (me or my car) at a Trump souvenir table… and the off chance someone would come by and do drive-by dastardly things to me. I’ll wait until the hat turns up in a yard sale or a thrift store.
    Anyway, just watching the occasional drive-by reactions from the public… the flip-of the finger, the barely audible “F**k you, asshole!” or “Go Trump!”… the horn honk in support… the head shaking…
    I think I recall a BLM sign-walk thing over a year ago in that spot.. and like you, across the intersection was about three people with opposing signs. Hardly enough participants either way to attract any “Rittenhouse” response. Maybe for the better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good observation about the theme of protests. I remember well the WTO protests in Seattle in ’99……you had everything from Free Mumia to Save the Sea Turtles. The right-wing protests I see, seem to run along similar lines….only being glued together by a fealty to Trump.

      Like

  3. As I continue to think about your post, I am reminded of the protests of the Pro Life crowd. Many of them, claiming to have the peace and love of God in their hearts, would show up at abortion clinics, Planned Parenthood sites and doctors offices to protest. With screaming, contorted faces, fake buckets of blood to throw on people as they timidly entered the buildings and anything else they could gather to shame people into not getting an abortion.

    Leaving aside the argument of the rightness or wrongness of abortion, I often wondered how many converts to a loving, life changing faith were made by that cohort of protestors. What was the impression those seeking an abortion had of Christianity after seeing or experiencing that? Did that create openings for the faith, or perhaps close doors forever?

    Maybe it all goes back to the old adage, you’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Doug… I think as it relates to the abortion debate, I know many people would argue it they are looking for converts.

      On the more political stuff [read trumpism] I think it leans towards punishing those not sufficiently committed to the cause.

      BTW… I live in the Vegas area. Your comment about desert types rings true here too. The right wing desert rural voter still has a lot of sway here. I see it going back to the old Reagan “Sagebrush” rebellion of the late 70’s early 80’s.

      It’s a distinct group, but one that, at least here, does tend to lean more libertarian, then republican. As such, they seem to be a little bit of an election wild card.

      But desert rats they, and most of us, are!

      Like

  4. Hehehe.. western land still in contention for control.
    I lived in Vegas for four years about 5 years ago. We are thinking about moving back there. Loved the new VA hospital there. I worked on the Strip at the time. CA is a pretty state.. but the laws, not to mention the pricey economy, is a bit much. I like the idea of going back to no state income tax. 🙂

    Like

  5. Protesters?
    I had to go to the doctors for a blood test and was let in though a locked door.
    Weird? Na. Weird comes as standard in the UK.

    The Anti Vaxx lot were there are openly threatening people trying to get in the doctors.
    Including me.
    Know the nice thing about using a stick?
    It’s a clear indication about how close I’ll allow anyone to get to me.

    One fool got too close.
    I ‘thought my life was in peril’, so he got ‘sticked’.
    Still he’ll be as right as rain in a day or three.
    Fun bit about it was by the time I left, the protest had largely gone,
    Perhaps more people should use walking aids (Chuckle).

    Like

  6. I’ve been one of the old White guys with a BLM sign three times. Twice in Norfolk and once in my home town Suffolk.

    I’ve never been with a group that was anti-police, and in both Norfolk and Suffolk the police have been supportive of our right to protest. But it’s been a while since I’ve been out there and I don’t know what it would be like if I joined a protest these days

    Liked by 1 person

    • From what I can tell, they seem like a very friendly bunch. My wife has spoken with a few as we observe the dueling protests, and my daughter [home from College last weekend], stood with them and held a sign.

      The opposite party however, oozed ‘cult of the asshole’.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s