Saturday, June 04, 2016

The Street Sets the Agenda...

more than we realize.

Consider Occupy! which made us think about percentages, which made Romney's 47% comment so fatal.

Consider the Ferguson resistance and Black Lives Matter ! which has pulled the Obama administration and the Democratic Party to the left on criminal justice issues.

The beginning of the end of the George W. Bush's administration was when Cindy Sheahan camped out at his ranch.

So now consider the demonstrations against Donald Trump. The pattern is that the largest and most confrontational have been in the Southwest. It is reported that Mexican flags are often present there.

It seems to me that Trump's anti-Hispanic, particularly anti-Mexican animus, is being protested in the streets. Of course. If you advocate deporting 11 million people, they and their friends and families are going to take it personally. What we see now is the foreshadowing the massive resistance that would take place if Trump's deportation plan began to approach reality.

Conventional politicians and liberal journalists ask how it can be communicated just how dangerous Trump is. How can we not 'normalize' him as just another politician, with some unusual quirks? But normal methods of criticism and opposition actually serve to normalize him.

The people in the streets are putting forth a completely different message. Trump is not a normal politician, but a dangerous authoritarian. We need to not only vote against him, but protest him, by making our opposition visible, not confined to the privacy of the voting booth. And we need to prepare to resist him if he were to come to power. And we need to disrupt his rise to power now.

And, (this is shaky ground, I know) do we need to confront the individuals who publicly support him? Can we say that we need to confront white supremacy and, at the same time, treat support for a candidate of retrograde and authoritarian white supremacy as just another political opinion? I am just asking.....

MSNBC's video of white people being publicly set upon by young people, especially young people of color, for wearing Trump gear is brain-scrambling.
We are used to spectacle of protesters being thrown out of Trump rallies -- a drama in which the overwhelming power of white supremacy crushes another single victim. It matches our sense of the balance of power in the country.

I am not advocating the tactic, but I am saying that the spectacle of in the streets of San Jose show a different, and more accurate, balance of power. The Trump fans are not the majority: they are a minority full of bluster and bravado, but mostly afraid and amazed that the world is no longer theirs. Inside the hall, they chortle at the thought of Mexico paying for the wall to keep Mexicans out of the US and cheer the idea of deporting many of those already here. It all seems so easy and it's fun to say it all out loud.

But outside the hall, in the streets, those people, the ones so easily banished, are real and are angry. They do not plan to go quietly. And they remind us that in the American southwest, it is the white Europeans from back east who are the settler/invaders who have arrived last.

The spectacle is unsettling because we are not used to pitying the white racist, nor used to hoping that the riot police rescue them.

Yes, attacking people on the street for their political views is over the line. A lot of lines have been crossed in this campaign already. Calling for mass deportations is over the line.

What's happening in the streets sets the agenda for the future.

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