By Rolo Ruiz
I went to the LA protest and these are some thoughts about last night:
I, too, am in a state of incredulity, worry, shame (amongst others feelings) that this is the path that we chose. We fought a hard, intense fight to get people to participate because we knew the importance of this election and the damage that can be done to the progress we’ve made as a country if the country ran in the same fashion Trump ran his campaign. Terrifying. It exacerbates the decline of our (small l) liberal democracy that was already under assault.
Here is the hard pill to swallow, but swallow we must. WE LOST. We have a constitutional right to voice our vehement disapproval with the result. We DO NOT have the right to throw away the process because we didn’t get our way this time. This is the REAL test of democracy.
Exercising that right to protest was a beautiful thing I witnessed last night. A real grass roots demonstration built by a naturally born coalition all kinds of people: men, women, Hispanic, Black, Asian, gay, straight, old, young…I’m talking all of the above. It was moving. Don’t forget that amongst other things, it is a huge job of the (good) politician that is mostly unseen: to create and bring together coalitions of all types of groups to more effectively pursue their agenda. This is what is most sought after because of its effectiveness to bring about change. Think MLK, Chavez, etc. This, what his happening, is a gift we don’t get too often. This is the test: to use it responsibly and pragmatically or not.
Yes, it beautiful to see real democracy in action but I also saw how easily manipulatable and fragile something so powerful can be. How easy it is to herd people into the negative, the angst, the emotion. (This was exactly the Trump strategy) It was then that I realized the importance of a good leader such as MLK, someone to guide and lead all of this energy towards something productive. Looking at you, Bernie.
Yes it feels good to chant, “Not my president!” or “We reject the President Elect!” I’m sorry to tell you but you are giving them exactly what they want which is to violate the system to give them legal reason to destroy it. DON’T GIVE IT TO THEM. Do NOT chant this! It will only build, spread, and drill anger and unproductively. STOP IT! Give them something positive… even funny. “Pussy Grabs Back” was one of my favorite ones.
As much as we have learned from great leaders such as MLK on how to progress as a society, you can bet your sweet asses that those that oppose us have also learned how to stymie it. It will be priority one to destroy this movement.
This is how we beat them and thwart their ambitions to destroy this. Keep it peaceful with actions and with rhetoric. Like Michelle Obama said, “When they go low, we go high!” Do NOT fall into despair and give a hand to those that have fallen into it. Talk to people, reason with them, get them to understand the powerful tool we have on our hands. This coalition is our great weapon against any policies that don’t align with our values as Americans. When you go to rallies and protest, spread this sentiment. Share it…put it in your own words if you want but please spread it. Its very existence depends on it. The people United will never be divided. Truth.