Why Protests Don’t Work

For about a year now, there’s been protest in the air. In response to the Trump presidency, there have been repeated calls for resistance and protest. From the election up until today, the news gets dominated by people marching publicly for and against Trump (and his policies, etc.). While I’ve been largely ignoring such demonstrations, I’d been encountering the word “antifa” a lot. I did some digging, and found this video by Vox:

I realized that it’s real easy to neutralize a protest.
Based on the research in the video, media will actively take steps to ignore whatever protesters want. Violence and hostility get coverage, so those messages are the ones heard the most. It makes sense, after all. How many policy changes have occurred as a result of the Tea Party movement, Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, and other public calls for change? Other than some investigations and token arrests or firings, nothing has been done.

Despite the lack of return on investment, people still call for protest and resistance. Nobody can really define what that is, though. What does resistance look like? What good will making a sign and marching in the street do for anyone? The second something goes wrong, that’s what gets covered. The whole reason for the demonstration gets thrown out the window.

Twitter has been a stronger source of change than demonstrations.
Google “Harvey Weinstein” and “Kevin Spacey.” Ever since allegations against Harvey Weinstein came public on social media (Twitter to begin with), there has been an outpouring of support for victims of sexual harassment and the public outing of many wrongdoers. While some people have tried repeating the old mantras of just letting harassment go on, many more people have actively expressed disapproval of the situation. Tolerance for predatory behavior is at an all time low.

There haven’t been any demonstrations or marches, though. Nobody’s gone out and organized a march for the victims of sexual harassment (although, to be fair, there would be too many people who could join). It’s like people are waking up from a nightmare and reaching for their phones instead of a baseball bat. The only thing the media has been able to do in the wake of this is to simply follow the public’s lead. Getting in their way will get you run over.

Simple, reasonable support has done more than protesting.
I understand that some people reading this might not like what I’m saying. There’s this general urge to go out and DO SOMETHING, especially when one sees so many terrible things in the news. It’s like instead of the sky falling, the world is descending into chaos. There are shootings (I’ll probably post on that later), presidential mistakes, and world calamities on every headline. Everything seems to be a miscarriage of truth, justice, and humanity.

This sort of panic makes people more easily controlled. It’s easy to be afraid of President Trump than perform the labor of making sure our institutions run as intended. It’s easy to make a sign, march, and ultimately do nothing than to undergo the fatigue of figuring out how to make what you want actually happen.

Ultimately, to those demanding I join some kind of revolution, I’ll let John Lennon speak for me:

6 thoughts on “Why Protests Don’t Work

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

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.