Sunday, August 09, 2009

We need more protests...

Not the way some of you are thinking, but read Drier's piece in The Nation. Especially this part:

Public opinion polls reveal that Americans are angry about the current economic, healthcare, housing and environmental crises. Polls also document that a significant majority of Americans want the federal government to do something to fix these problems. But history shows that public opinion, on its own, isn't enough to change public policy.

People have to believe not only that things should be different but also that they can be different. Anger has to be mixed with hope. And to be effective politically, that hope has to be mobilized through collective action--in elections, meetings with elected officials, petitions, e-mail campaigns, rallies, demonstrations and even, at times, civil disobedience.

Protest--including civil disobedience, demonstrations and large-scale marches--is not the same as mindless militance. It is not riots and rock-throwing. To be effective, protest must be strategic and disciplined, and it must capture the public's imagination and conscience. People must view the cause as just and empathize with the protesters. As Martin Luther King Jr. explained in his famous "Letter From Birmingham Jail," civil disobedience makes sense only when all other means of reaching decision-makers have been exhausted and people's frustrations have boiled over.

Since Obama took office, there have been very few public expressions of discontent. We've heard very little about everyday Americans--workers facing layoffs and the loss of health insurance, jobless Americans exhausting their unemployment insurance, renters facing eviction, homeowners facing foreclosures, farmers losing their farms, high school students facing cuts in school programs and college students facing rising tuition--mobilizing to demand immediate action to end their hardship and suffering.

I think he's right...


Cyberseaer said...

That will never happen as long as they are electronic toys and other distractions for the American people to ignore enough of the problem while the rest of us are too busy working just to survive.

Kvatch said...

We've got protests, but only from the 'nutters' who want their situation to get worse.

kateb said...

Dissension is the heart of a free society.

People do have a right, in a free society, to speak their view point.

Only those seeking to suppress a society would see that as a negative.

And there are alot of those dysfunctional folks out in the world.

If people don't think exactly as they do - they mock them. At best. At worst they try to control their behavior and options.

That's not what America is supposed to be. But it is what it is becoming.

Anonymous said...

Since Obama took office, there have been very few public expressions of discontent.

huh, wha? Can I have some of whatever he's smoking? There's been hundreds of protests. Tea parties and Prop 8 protests come to mind immediately. I suppose if the folks protesting are 'nutters', then they aren't really protesting? As for a "significant majority" wanting the Feds to do something, one reason for a dearth of protests that The Nation would acknowledge is that the gov't is doing something, and most of the "usual suspects" are giving the gov't the benefit of the doubt on the results, at least on the domestic economic side of things.

As for the rest, most folks are too busy keeping their heads above water to screw around with the gov't, or they simply don't trust that the gov't can doing anything effective.