Friday, November 11, 2016

Protesting President Trump's Election is Misguided

I don't care for political street theater.  I am glad that in a free country people who like to do that sort of thing can.  But I think it is counterproductive, and usually self-indulgent.

Which is why I think the protests of President Trump's election are a bad idea.  Just as I thought the protests of President Obama's election eight years ago were a bad idea.

I understand that there are many people who are fearful, my own students included.  And some people have already been treated hatefully by Trump supporters, my own students included.  The right response is for the police to prosecute the assailants.

Donald Trump did, indeed, empower the white nationalists.  But protesting his election is to misdirect the anger at should actually be aimed at the actual wicked people on the ground.

Just wait.  There will be plenty of substantive things to protest later.

1 comment:

Mac said...

Well, now (chuckle), there you go again.

Were there really huge street demonstrations against President Obama? I don't remember any, but I am willing to be corrected. I do remember correcting friends who told me that "Finally, YOUR president will be gone and OUR president will be in power."

I reminded them that the Constitution gives us just one president at a time, and their president would be my president, too. I will offer the same advice this time around.

I happen to see President Obama as a tragic figure, the second worst President in my three score ten years, and one of the five worst in history (James Buchanan, Millard Fillmore, and Jimmy Carter are pretty secure in their places). He is a man who knew how to run FOR the presidency brilliantly, but never figured out how TO BE president.

But I do not think I ever referred to him as anything but "the President" or President Obama. I tried to make sure I referred to Senator Clinton in the same way. (I chose "Senator" over "Secretary" Clinton because I have always viewed elective office as senior to appointive office.)

For any of you r students who have been subjected to physical attacks, I consider that to be reprehensible. I agree that the aggressors should be identified, taken into custody, and prosecuted to the full extent of the law. (They do need to be familiar with the "fighting words" doctrine to the extent that it still applies!)

As for your "fearful" students, I have no sympathy for them. Nowhere in the Constitution can I find that there is a right to not be offended. If someone calls a stupid idea stupid, the can be offended, but they cannot demand that government abridge free speech. To me, it looks as if a generation that grew up on little league rules and trophies for showing up can't handle the fact that they didn't get their way and they are pouting.

There are young men and women of the same age who are leading others in combat, where there is something to really fear. I suggest that teachers have a duty to teach them that in the real world, they will have to deal with unkind and blunt bosses, demanding clients, and peers who consider their own views to be as valuable as anyone else's.

Finally, what is wrong with "nationalism"? Oh, I know what you mean by "white nationalists" and what I mean by "black nationalists" and Border Collie nationalists," but what is wrong with cherishing your own home? I still think Stephen Decatur's prayerful toast is the finest example of patriotism: "Our Country: In her intercourse with other nations, may she always be in the right. But, right or wrong, our Country." When we have lost sight of that principle, it has always come back to haunt us and has had to be restored by the blood of better men than we have a right to expect.

I do hope that you know that I would not visit your site if I did not value it as a source of things to meditate upon and to put to use as iron sharpening iron. I'm nowhere near as pessimistic as you appear to be in your final sentence, but I will surely enjoy discovering just to what extent we are right or wrong. At my age, I have been right enough times to be unafraid to speak up and wrong enough times that I am not offended if someone tells me “You are an idiot!”