In Berkeley students are protesting. I know, it’s shocking but hey there it is. The world will sit up and take notice. I just imagine all of the monocles popping out and cigar ends being bitten off in shock when the presidential transition team hears about the students cutting class in Berkeley and Oakland to proclaim that Donald Trump is not their president, in what is probably the first rejection here of the results of a free and fair election. Since 2000 anyway.
Teens Who Couldn’t Vote Struggle to Accept President Donald Trump
If you are protesting, you must have suggestions or demands or goals. If you don’t, that is just complaining, it is not protesting. If you are displeased with something, you are contributing very little by just letting people know you are displeased, you should come up with ideas for solutions to the problem. Heck, even write your congresscritters, or get involved in local government, or run for office, or join a group of people who have actual goals and ideas of how to accomplish them. Cutting class, retweeting, marching around with signs are really not constructive in any way. If you want to claim you’re “raising awareness” that isn’t constructive either. Other people already know you are displeased. Politicians know that Berkeleyians are upset. It’s not news to anyone. Raise some awareness of possible solutions instead. Your feelings are not of concern to anyone but you and possibly your parents.
Some Berkeleyians are protesting Trump’s promises to build a wall on the border with Mexico, deport people, and his racism and xenophobia. Fine but let’s keep a few things in perspective here.
For one, let’s recall Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign promises. You know, where he promised single-payer healthcare, “real fundamental change” for healthcare and financial regulation, removing our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, closing Guantanamo Bay pronto, no new “dumb wars” in the Middle East, a “reset” with Russia and plenty more. Obviously these were all bogus. Obama said exactly what was necessary to get elected by people that were willing to vote Democrat. The same goes for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, who both did their best to say whatever was necessary to get them elected by their parties. There is no meaning behind the words, only design.
If at this point you feel inclined as some have to point out that Hitler stuck to his campaign promises, therefore we should worry about Trump Fascism, you have lost the argument and can excuse yourself from the internet under Godwin’s Law. If you bring up Hitler in a discussion you have forfeited. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin’s_law
Let us not forget that for decades we have been electing people to congress who have been trying to out-compete each other to spend more billions of dollars on “border security” than their opposition. The wall, the deporting of people, the nationalist rhetoric is not new, and you’ve been supporting it all the meanwhile. Trump is just dropping the euphemisms.
Let us also not forget that the same people decrying Trump’s xenophobia-laden campaign speeches were the same cheering and voting for Clinton, who was desperately pushing a new McCarthyist Russophobia, a world in which all Russians are shady evil hackers trying to undermine our freedom and way of life. After so much blatant racism and red scare tactics, I’m going to imagine Republicans will find it difficult to take accusations of xenophobia seriously.
This is not to say that one side is right and the other is wrong, or that there are even only two sides to this giant political mess. They’re both assholes and using people’s’ fears and tribalistic tendencies and insecurities to divide the electorate. Fuck both major parties. But don’t take anything they say too seriously. They just say words to sell you ideas and feels tested by focus groups, there is no conviction or true character involved.
After BARTPD Officer Johannes Mehserle, who shot Oscar Grant, was given a very light sentence, protests erupted. While I disagreed with the verdict and the system that produced the verdict, I also wasn’t on the jury. While our legal system definitely has glaring flaws, at least we have a pretty decent rule of law compared to most places on the planet or in human history. It appeared to me that many of the protesters seemed to be demanding that jury verdicts should be overturned if enough people show up and protest. I can only assume since no demands were presented, there was the demand that law enforcement stop shooting unarmed black men, which I can totally get behind 100%. But it’s not a solution. There is a system which needs fixing and suggestions of how to improve the system could indeed be constructive. Smashing up the Oakland Footlocker store was probably less constructive. Yes it raised awareness, but people were already aware that Oaklanders were unhappy with the verdict. I can’t imagine it had any positive effect on policy or police culture or the legal system.
I understand that back in the ’60s or ’70s students at UC Berkeley protested the Vietnam and Cambodian wars, and were at least effective enough to get President Nixon to declare war on them and spaz out. Now when people protest in Berkeley it seems like it is only a superficial imitation of what they think protesting is. To me it usually sounds more like complaining, and I’ve yet to see it ever work. Mostly because they are usually nothing more than people walking around preaching to the local choirs and because no human on the planet Earth is surprised or interested when people in Berkeley protest anything. Why would they be?
I remember people who lived in an Oak tree for months on the UC Berkeley campus grounds that the school wanted to cut down to make a new building. The school promised to plan dozens of new oak trees in forests to replace it but this did not placate the protesters. I went to go watch them cut down the trees with great relish, to the wailing of people who thought they were performing an important civic duty or something.
When they protested the Iraq war, it changed nothing. A coworker of mine at the time was very confused by the marching in San Francisco to protest the war. He was shocked to discover that our protests only involved waving signs around and yelling for a couple of hours. He said in Karachi when people protest it involves lots of shooting, burning roadblocks and mayhem. “What do they think waving signs around is going to do?” he said. I mean I’m definitely glad I live here and not Pakistan and there aren’t shootouts with the police, and I’m not suggesting there should be. But I had to admit that maybe he had a point about the effectiveness of marching around the Bay Area. Who fucking cares if you roam around in SF and tell people you’re mad? They know already, trust me.