Thursday, January 26, 2017

"Demonstrations serve a useful function in a democracy — but only when they have clarity of purpose."

Protests these days are, mostly, akin to masturbation.  There's nothing wrong with it and you should do it if you want.  But know it's mostly just about making yourself feel good.  

The Pointless Women's March Against Trump -   "If anything, this particular demonstration is shaping up to be a feel-good exercise in search of a cause...

Everything else about the Women's March, however, is reaching a level of absurdity worthy of the man they are protesting. Start with the fact that they are billing this event as the voice of women when 42 percent of women (and 62 percent of non-college educated white women) actually voted for Trump. Then there's the almost-comical progressive hysteria over the event's name. It was initially called the Million Women March. But that was hastily dropped after the original organizers, three white women, were slammed for "cultural appropriation." Why? Because they were allegedly poaching the heritage of the 1997 Million Woman March for black women. Further appropriation concerns arose because the event evidently encroached on the legacy of the 1963 March on Washington by Martin Luther King Jr. when he delivered his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. In response to this objection, the organizers had to actually release a statement billing the Women's March as a tribute to King. As if such bickering over semantics wasn't enough, the Facebook page of the event is rife with arguments about whether an event organized primarily by white women can be sufficiently "intersectional" — or attuned to the issues faced by, say, poor minority women who reside at the "intersection" of class, race, and gender concerns in America. 

Wasn't this supposed to be about opposing Donald Trump? Some amount of conflict in a rally (organizers don't want to call it a "protest" because they insist they are not protesting Trump, just putting him on notice) of this size and complexity is natural. But when an event is grounded in a genuine existential threat, it helps people overcome their particular interests and agendas – and find a unifying vocabulary without this level of squabbling...

Sure, he is a sexist pig who likes to go after high-profile women — Rosie O' Donnell, Megyn Kelly, Alicia Machado — who cross him. And although he seems to have calmed down on that front since he got elected, it is entirely likely that once he's in office and faces criticism, he'll return to form...  But here's the curious thing: On women's issues, there is a wide gulf between Trump's character and his policy positions. For much of his adult life, Trump claimed to be pro-choice on abortion. Now he insists he's pro-life, and is threatening to appoint pro-life justices to the Supreme Court. This is a genuine problem for women (like me) who strongly believe in reproductive rights. However, in other respects, Trump has made a concerted attempt to extend an olive branch to the feminist lobby. 

He has embraced gender wage parity, government-mandated maternity leave, and child tax deductions in defiance of his own party. One can debate the wisdom of these ideas, but not that they are intended to help women. And then there are his three female Cabinet appointments, and a fourth woman as U.N. envoy. This is all in sharp contrast to his rhetoric...

Opposing him will require focused vigilance, and concerted activism that is targeted, intelligent, nuanced, and appropriately calibrated (as as I have argued previously). But prematurely elevating the faux concerns of a hyper-active feminist lobby will make it far more difficult to launch a serious resistance movement. It will allow Trump to depict his critics and dissenters as overwrought hysterics and dismiss the concerns of genuinely targeted groups."

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