From our overstocked archives
Sam Smith, 2011 - Judging from some of the reaction to the recent protests at the Thomas Jefferson Memorial, there may be more to dancing as a tool of rebellion than I had imagined.
Among the comments the Review received:
-“This may be the dumbest protest in the history of the American Republic. Yes, it’s stupid that these people were arrested, but these types of tactics are a total waste of time.”
- “If you want to protest, do it as a general strike that shuts down the Ponzi scheme economy, make a lot less taxable income, grow your own food, participate in local food economies, remove your money from the bank, start a community currency, stop buying junk you don’t need. But dancing for the Park Police? Give me a break. How many YouTube videos until the revolution? Boo hoo to the spoiled narcissists who have their friends film them while they get themselves arrested for dancing.”
What we have here is a good example of the inability of people to recognize what they have in common with others. Obviously, not all protesters would choose dance, but neither would all consider local food as a particularly effective form of protest. The best approach is to let those dance and those who want to grow their own spinach do their own thing – especially in a time when national dissatisfaction with the system has found no common course.
Even during the 1960s, the variations in protest were enormous. And don’t forget that Billie Holiday was singing “Strange Fruit” long before the civil rights movement just as Pete Seeger was giving peace musical movement long before major anti-war protests.
To suggest that there is only a few politically correct ways to build a movement is the worst way to get things going.
Besides, it puts the self-righteous in the same camp as some leading voices against change.
Such as the Washington Post, one of the most pompous and predictable critics of needed change. In a recent editorial it declared:
“Civil disobedience? To what end? No one was banned from dancing in the memorial because of race, ethnicity, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation or citizenship status… Aggrandizing what amounts to a stunt based on misinformed views of the First Amendment cheapens the real and courageous achievements of those who advance the causes of civil rights by refusing to comply with immoral laws. The dancers’ energy and presumably good intentions would be better channeled by addressing real injustice.”
Given that the Post constantly tries to cheapen the real and courageous achievements of those who advance the causes of civil rights, its advice is not one to follow.
Far better to let those who want to grow local food and those who want to dance at the Jefferson Memorial do their thing and each learn to appreciate the other.