I have a strange relationship with demonstrators. I admire what they do and that they are willing to participate in such an active and visible fashion. Too many of us separate principle from action. I break with progressive demonstrators when they use methods I cannot condone. I am a believer in Dr. King’s philosophy that demonstrations bring attention to problems but seldom directly solve them. Friday and Saturday were days that made me very happy! Let’s explore.
Friday (in an event that didn’t get that much national publicity) several thousand counter protesters showed up in downtown Durham, North Carolina because the rumor of a white supremacist rally circulated on social media that morning. The idea was to have such a large crowd of counter protestors that the white supremacists would be afraid to show up. Like most bigots, the vast majority of white supremacists are cowards at heart as has been recently illustrated. This is typical bully behavior. Is it any wonder that they are emboldened by the presence of the Bully-in-Chief in the White House?
It appears the Durham activists were successful. The only white supremacist activity in downtown Durham on Friday was a few motorcyclists passing by with confederate flags on their motorcycles.
What was most impressive is that about three thousand people took to the streets at a moment’s notice. That is democracy in action and the decent majority drowning out and/or intimidating a normally vocal minority. Like the Klan and Nazis, today’s white supremacists are only willing to act when they have superior numbers and/or firepower.
A “free speech” demonstration was slated for Boston Commons on Saturday. Suddenly the radical right is embracing the First Amendment; at least the free speech part when they think it protects them and them alone. 40,000 counter protestors took to Boston Commons on Saturday morning. When a small group of white supremacists showed up they were drowned out and their featured speakers never even attempted to speak. The radicals finally left with benefit of a police escort.
The Boston Red Sox are more like a religion in New England than a baseball team. They play their home games in Fenway Park which is considered to be one of the cathedrals of the game even by rival teams and their fans. Despite seating capacity adding renovations Fenway has a capacity of less than 40,000. More people showed up to defend equality in America on brief notice than will be at any Boston Red Sox home game this year. By the way, like all major league baseball teams the Red Sox post their schedule months in advance.
If you are concerned about outside radicals coming to your town, causing chaos, death and destruction while in the process adding to your tax burden there seems to be a way to stop it – get out in the streets before them and let the world know how you feel. It appears they will be no-shows or quickly exit.
America started out as an imperfect country and still is. It has evolved to be a much better country than it was at its founding, the adoption of the Constitution or even my birth. The vast majority of Americans are good people who are not racists, xenophobes, homophobes or anti-Semites. Don’t let the few bad people among us deface your town or your country. Be a true patriot and stop it. Over 40,000 did last weekend, didn’t break a law in the process and they still won.
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