Is This the Golden Age of Protest?

A liberal friend used the expression “the golden age of protest” the other day. Since I hadn’t heard it before, I was pretty sure I could Google it and find that it’s one of those expressions that are popular in the left wing community. And, of course, I was right. The thing of it is that I lived through the Vietnam War protests and what I see in the way of “protests” don’t even come close to what I observed back then.

The term comes from L.A. Kauffman in an article in 2017 that was published in the UK Guardian. She (and, yes, I did actually check to see if this was a proper pronoun to use) is a professional grass roots organizer.

In the article, she claims that “the overall turnout for marches, rallies, vigils and other protests since the 2017 presidential inauguration falls somewhere between 10 and 15 million. (Not all of these events have been anti-Trump, but almost 90% have.) “

Her belief is that this is a higher percentage than the Vietnam War protests and that while there are fewer large protests, there are more of them spread across the country. She also notes that direct action resulting in arrests is relatively low.

Let’s go ahead and accept all of that as true because I want to get to my point — in my day, protesters knew how to protest not like these candy-assed, wimpy excuses for people who crawl into a corner every time they’re “triggered!”

What really hacks me off is that protesters today are trying to “effect change” but they don’t know what they want that change to be with climate change being numero uno. Black Lives Matter is an organization that wants cops to quit shooting young blacks. I’m good with that but BLM doesn’t have any idea about how to do that. The LGBT+ community protests make them look nutty with no real goals except for destroying institutions such as the Boy Scouts.

What all these “protests” have in common are groups of people that have some complaint or other and want some other group of people to fix it for them or to punish other people they don’t agree with. It’s actually a good strategy since if someone does try to address their complaints, they simply move the goalposts and being protesting anew.

The End the Vietnam War protests had one thing in mind — end the Vietnam War and they were passionate about it. John Kerry (who served in Vietnam) even threw his medals over — oh, wait — he actually didn’t do that. Regardless, the protesters understood why they were protesting and the personal risks they ran in doing so which was evidenced, unfortunately, at Kent State on May 4, 1970.

Here’s my list of things that aren’t protesting:

  1. Posting anything on the Internet in any way shape or form.
  2. Talking with others in the comfort of a coffee shop or other “safe place.”
  3. Complaining that you haven’t been treated “fairly.”

If you want to actually protest, you actually have to get off your butt and do something. You have to get out there and specifically ask for something to be done. Just venting your spleen isn’t a protest — it’s just venting your spleen. Saying you’re in favor of (or against) someone or something is also just venting your spleen. For it to be a real protest, you have to state what you don’t like AND say what you’d like to see done and by whom. And if what you want can’t be done or we don’t know how to do it, you’re just wasting everyone’s time. But if you want to carry around some signs and exercise your First Amendment right, knock yourself out.

And of course, the best way to protest is to vote. We had our chance to protest in 2016 and the Democrats get their chance here in a few months to really protest the election of President Trump. Everything else is just venting your spleen.



Mark Rosneck

Written by Mark Rosneck

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