Good Sunday morning to you. Wanted to take a second to explain the recent slowdown in posting. It’s really not much more complicated than things have been busy lately and it’s been cold, so that makes it harder to type. When you’re just doing this for kicks that does put a damper on your efforts. Also, the recent news cycles have been feeling a lot like reruns–more nonsense about Russia again, another “shutdown,” more hyperventilating about North Korea, all with a distinct “been there, done that” feel that kind of tells me the fake news is scrambling to get a handle on the narrative. I’m also considering winding down WTLSNU despite having a fair number of words left to go. I didn’t start this project expecting to end up with an exhaustive list and I think getting up to around 30 entries or so might sufficiently make the point. Well Behaved Women went on for 30 chapters so it seems like a good benchmark. We’ll see if I get some feedback one way or the other.
That said, on to today’s word. This is inspired by our esteemed and awesome Vice President Mike Pence and his well-covered decision not to stand in recognition of the North Korean team at this year’s Winter Olympics. This should be viewed in the context of his decision (which I covered here) to take an early exit from an Indianapolis Colts game where the players participated in Colin “I Started A Movement Because I Suck” Kaepernick’s “Take A Knee” nonsense. Today’s word is “protest.”
I’m not going to go to the dictionary definition today because (unlike gender) “protest” can legitimately be considered to be on a spectrum. Some of this spectrum is covered under the freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly under the First Amendment, and some of it is not. A “protest” can involve a single person or a crowd of people, or a whole political party or subdivision thereof (like the Tea Party), but it and its more benign and Constitutionally protected kin (such as “demonstrations” or “rallies”) are characterized by the expression of a belief or opinion that is usually political in nature with the aim of pressuring or persuading others (whether other citizens or government officials) to adopt your line of thinking. I hesitate to use the phrase “raising awareness” but in a lot of ways that’s what a protest is meant to do. It’s also meant to plant your own flag on an issue that matters to you.
And no, neither Mike Pence nor Donald Trump nor any other elected official surrender that right upon taking office. Moving on.
What Vice President Pence was doing at the Olympics was a form of protest, just as he did at the Colts game in response to the temper tantrum. No, it was not at all inconsistent with his criticism of the “Take A Knee” liars and anyone who equates protesting the brutal and backwards Norks with protesting America based on lies and hatred is not worth listening to. The thing about a protest is that in order to maintain the shroud of Constitutional protection, by definition it must remain peaceful. That means that when someone like Mike Pence or someone like me who doesn’t have the benefit of Secret Service protection says “I’m not supporting your ‘Take A Knee’ nonsense” or “I’m not honoring your sick and crazy country,” you don’t get to hit them. Protestors have free speech, not a license to make others shut up and listen to them. You get to speak your feeble minds, I get to tell you you’re full of it and judge you accordingly.
The reason the left ought not use this word is because they like to apply it and its other more benign synonyms to what ought to be more properly called riots. Whether it happened in Ferguson or Baltimore or Orlando or Berkeley, if you set something on fire that does not belong to you, it’s not a protest, it’s a riot. If you break a plate glass window and loot a convenience store, it’s not a demonstration, it’s a riot. If you come armed with a bike lock and bash someone in the head with it because they’re winning an argument with one of your chanting moron compatriots, it’s not peaceable assembly, it’s a riot. If you are giving the “youthocracy” “space to destroy” (words directly from Baltimore’s Democratic mayor), it’s not Constitutionally protected speech, it’s a riot. Riots are domestic terrorism and attempts to intimidate or punish through use of violence. They are not an acceptable response to the expression of beliefs you don’t like, they are not an acceptable reaction to losing an argument with someone who is smarter than you, and they sure as hell are not First Amendment protected “peaceable assembly” or, to put it back in context, “protests” as the fake news gently calls them over and over again.
When it comes right down to it, spectacles like the Women’s March and Take A Knee are legitimate protests. But I and the rest of America have the same right to tell you “no, that’s stupid, and I don’t want to associate with you” as you do to spout your dishonest nonsense, and you don’t have the right to declare us “Nazis” and punch us because we told you to shut up. Protesting does not mean you get to break stuff and throw a destructive tantrum, and it doesn’t mean you get to force anyone to listen, and it doesn’t mean no one can criticize you.
And by criticize, I mean laugh at. Really, really hard. Because some of this stuff is so stupid it’s funny.
I’m going to close this one out with an image of an Antifa “protester” (I’ll be generous because I don’t know what preceded or followed this image) that encapsulates these people’s gross stupidity better than a thousand words ever could. Somehow I doubt self-awareness is one of this guy’s strong suits. See you next week for the next word.