Tuesday, March 15, 2016

You're Not Helping

As pure political theater, the protest/cancelled Drumpf rally in Chicago last Friday was entertaining enough. Never mind the small detail that Drumpf never even showed up to chicken out, strongly implying that he knew what was coming, and understood the larger political implications, and the opportunity to solidify his base, and perhaps even expand it in some areas.

At the very next event, the hippie-punching quota got ramped up, as some hairy schmuck tried to bum-rush Drumpf at the podium. It doesn't matter that Drumpf incorrectly characterized Thomas DiMassimo as an ISIS sympathizer, partly because Drumpf was correct in pointing out that DiMassimo had been photographed dragging an American flag along a sidewalk at another protest, and then standing on the flag, and partly because Drumpf's lies are easily documented and verified as such, and his moron audience still doesn't give a shit.

The protesters have made their point, in Chicago and elsewhere. Further protests are just going to be choir-preaching stunts, and worse yet, completely useless. Ninety percent of success in politics lies in persuading people. Sometimes it's persuading people who oppose you to see the light and join their cause. This is likely to be a fool's errand; the electorate is simply too polarized at this point in time, and it's only going to get worse.

A more mundane but more important element is persuading people who agree with you to actually make sure to vote. When the time comes, the energy spent shouting slogans and holding signs against assholes who will never listen might be better spent canvassing neighborhoods, stuffing envelopes, talking to people and convincing them not only how awful Drumpf is in every way, but why they should get motivated to vote for Hillary Clinton, instead of sitting this one out once again.

In the meantime, they could be identifying people who would like to vote, but don't know how to register, or need identification and don't have it, stupid things like that. Who's running down-ticket in your state, and do the people you're canvassing know about those folks? It's not just about the president, you know. We get caught up in this dumb fucking endless circus and forget the little bastards at the lower levels, making the sausage under the radar, day after day after day.

Personally, I don't get involved at those levels out here in meatspace because part of me feels that everyone has a responsibility to inform and prepare themselves for the process. If you have time for the 88th season of Dancing with the Has-Beens and Never-Weres, then you have time to learn the difference between the candidates and their positions, and make sure that you're eligible to vote.

If people I know well ask my opinion, and I know that they won't get butt-hurt if I decide to be brutally honest, then I'll give them my opinion about, say, what a skeevy, unprincipled cocksucker Donald Trump really is. But that's about the extent of it in the "real" world. When you're trying to climb the career ladder in a job with some political ramifications, it generally pays to be circumspect about such things.

But I remember when I was young and idealistic, and had the urge to impart my wisdom onto others. So I encourage the activists to temper their idealism with, well, efficiency. Disrupting political rallies convinces no one, and you can't get angry when a band of merry Drumpfster divers start heckling HRC at her rallies. Standing on a flag does nothing but demonstrate a complete lack of awareness that some people take that shit seriously, and will literally put you in the fucking hospital for it. And again, nobody from any point on the political spectrum looks at such a thing and goes, "Oh yeah, now I'm motivated to go out and exercise my constitutional right to vote my rational self-interest."

So maybe it's time to stop adding fuel to the Drumpfster fire, and stand back and let it consume itself. If every person who wanted to go heckle at the rally instead went and convinced ten other people that this motherfucker would absolutely wreck this nation, make George W. Bush look like George Washington, that would actually be a constructive activity. It would also deprive the psycho of his and his idiot base's favorite rallying point.

No comments: