Wednesday, February 22, 2017

But What Do They WANT?

"No Trump (beat, beat) no K-K-K no [unintelligible] ..."  Yep, that's what was being chanted, rhythmically, at some protest march a few days back in some city somewhere.  It wasn't near me, so I wasn't exactly put out very much, but it did get my attention.

Back when I was in college, we were in the peak of the Vietnam War, and I was in Cambridge, Massachusetts (I actually lived in Boston, but classes were in Cambridge; it didn't matter).  Lots of protests, lots of riots.  Occasional shooting of firearms outside the MIT range.  Screaming at servicemen in uniforms.

While there was a lot of screaming and protesting about different things, it was centered on the Vietnam War, at least much of the time.  And while I was not an opponent of the Vietnam War, I will at least give the protestors of the day this: They were asking for something.

They wanted the Vietnam War to be over.  Oh, sure, there were lots of other things, but that was fairly central to the protests and rallies and what-all else they were doing.  It was at least something.

Not so, apparently, now.

This became fairly obvious when you looked at the signs at the rallies, and really obvious when you hear the protestors' representatives talking.  For example, on Monday night there was a protest leader interviewed by Fox News's Tucker Carlson on his eponymous TV program.

I don't know the kid's name, but it didn't take long for Carlson to ask what he was protesting about.  I mean, there's a lot of made-up angst around the nation since the election and thereafter, when the Clintonistas' fans panicked at not being able to fathom not winning (typically called "losing").  So the kid was asked "why the protest."

He started in on platitudes for a short bit, and when asked by Carlson to get specific, he mentioned that he was gay, and that there were issues with the LGBT community and an executive order that they had heard might be considered.  He then went back to the platitudes, meaning that he couldn't cite anything they actually wanted changed, you know, specifically.

Carlson immediately stopped him, and took him back to the gay thing.  What particular thing about President Trump, he asked the kid, was he afraid of regarding gay people.  At that, the protest leader said two words about a possible executive order, without any detail, and went back to the platitudes ("This is a movement, blah blah blah ...").

If you have ever watched Tucker Carlson, you can't sneak that kind of thing past him.  Back he brought the conversation to this mythical executive order planned ... "What executive order?", he asked, "What is it supposed to do?"  In reply, nothing but platitudes -- he was being pressured by Carlson on being gay, he insisted, when there were so many important issues.  "But you brought it up!", Carlson replied.  "Tell me what you are afraid of!"

Finally the allocated time had expired without a single tangible thing having been aired as a reason to go for a walk, let alone to have a "Not my president" rally.

Let us step back and think for a moment.  Conservatism, when actually implemented, works.  It rewards effort, talent, motivation and intelligence.  Our concomitant compassion motivates us to take care of the helpless at the same time.  Socialism, on the other hand, has never worked, certainly without a dictatorship to force people to accept it for a period of time.  Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, Red China, North Korea, Vietnam -- it doesn't work.

So the callow and idealistic youth, with their signs, are too young to look broadly enough and recognize that it is abject failure for the government to own or run everything.  Now, absent a model of success for them to want to emulate and declare that they want to emulate it, their protests -- and youth always protests -- inherently lack anything to be for.

Lacking that, the passion flies out the window along with the content.  This is why you can see that the organized protests are indeed organized, recruited in newspaper and online ads we have now seen, and are led by paid mercenary protesters.  There is no substance, because these are people without a mission.  Opposition is fruitless without a tangible goal.

This was followed last night when the ever curious Mr. Carlson brought yet another protest leader on the show and gave her air time.  Again, after a few minutes of copious Hitler references (remember that whoever mentions "Hitler" first loses the argument), Carlson found himself unable to get her to answer the same "What do you want?" question.  Finally, after being unable to get her to shut up enough to ask her a question, he ended the segment with her ranting in the background.

It's so ironic.  People with no mission but a few more dollars in their jeans are shouting "No Trump, no KKK" as if the two were somehow remotely related.  They may have missed, among the rather modest number of explicit issues requiring solutions which Trump spoke to in his campaign, that unlike his opponent, he had made a commitment to helping the inner cities, working to update their schools and provide private-sector job opportunities to help them recover.  The protestors screaming "KKK" may have missed the fact that Trump's predecessor (and opponent, by the way), literally said and did nothing for black inner cities.

The kid on the Tucker Carlson show was claiming to fear some kind of anti-gay "executive order."  But it would come from the guy who stood in front of the nation in Cleveland and accepted his nomination for the presidency, declaring his intent to protect the LGBT community (while, if the kid was old enough, he doubtlessly voted for the previous president, the one who for years opposed gay marriage).

There is nothing to protest, whether or not you're upset.  President Trump said he would do X, Y and Z in regard to some pillar issues in the country.  He is trying now, as he finally gets his Cabinet and senior executive-branch people, to start to do those things he said he would.  The people voted for his solutions.

It's a representative democracy we have, with a very sound Constitution.  Under it, we have chosen a leader for the next four or eight years, same as always.  If he implements something, actually implements it, and you want something different, well, our representative democracy is a free country -- have at it, as you ask for a different solution.

But if you march through the streets, at least know what you want.

An hopefully it isn't just your protestor's paycheck from George Soros.

Copyright 2017 by Robert Sutton
Like what you read here?  There's a new post from Bob at at 10am Eastern time, every weekday, giving new meaning to "prolific essayist."  Appearance, advertising, sponsorship and interview inquiries cheerfully welcomed at or on Twitter at @rmosutton.

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