Today's protest marchers are not heroes
In a world fraught with strife and chaos, there is one thing we can always count on for amusement: protest marches. Instead of actually doing something about school shootings, sexual harassment, or racism, progressives hold their breath until they turn blue in the face, jump up and down, and then generally join a march. In January 2017, to protest the election of Donald Trump as president and to demonstrate outrage at his obscene comment that he was empowered to "grab women by the pussy," approximately one million women staged a march on Washington, D.C., where they wore knitted pink "pussy hats" (apparently to "make a statement" and "reclaim" the offensive term as their own). In March of this year, hundreds of thousands marched against gun violence following the Florida school shooting shouting "never again" (a reference to the Holocaust), joined by celebrities George Clooney, Kim Kardashian, Miley Cyrus, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Cher, Justin Timberlake, and Amy Poehler, among others.
On June 28, hundreds gathered at the Hart Senate Office Building to protest the administration's cruel immigration tactics, which include separating parents from children (although the practice had been stopped). The mostly female crowd chanted, "What do we want? Free families!" and "This is what democracy looks like." Over five hundred were arrested, fined $50, and released. The activist actress Susan Sarandon was among those arrested. A friend of mine got herself arrested as well. She proudly posted a picture on Facebook. Commentators greeted her as if she were Rosa Parks. "So proud of you!" "You go girl!" "You're my hero!" And the inevitable irritating "woohoo..."
On June 30th, several thousand protesters gathered in Washington to demand the end to child separation at our borders (apparently still not having received word that the practice had been abandoned). The ninety-degree weather seems to have diminished the size of the crowd, but not its enthusiasm or sense of camaraderie.
These fun-filled protests should not be confused with actually doing something meaningful, and the protesters should not be greeted as "heroes." They have no real skin in the game. It's not as if they are actually risking anything or facing any adverse consequences for their actions. They are not civil rights activists in the South facing off against the pit bulls of Alabama sheriffs. They are not Muhammad Ali giving up the world championship to protest the war in Vietnam. And they certainly should not be compared to members of the underground "Resistance" (a term today's protesters have obscenely appropriated) during World War II who risked their lives and the lives of their families in armed combat against the vastly superior forces of the German Reich. What is at stake in getting arrested in the comfort of the Hart Office Building and paying a $50.00 fine? These are not heroes. These are not Resistance fighters. These are just hipster Millennials missing yoga class so that they can all feel good about themselves when the day is done and post about it on social media.
Protesters could really do something meaningful about the matters that rightly concern them. They could volunteer (as I have) to go down to South Texas and actually help the besieged, traumatized illegal aliens. There are many civil rights organizations desperately seeking volunteers (such as this one). But dealing with the oppressive heat and humidity of South Texas, not to mention bugs as big as pussy hats, is not as pleasant as lying on yoga mats in the Hart Building.
So to the pussy hat-wearers of the world, I say "woohoo." To those seriously concerned about the direction of our country, I say, "Let's roll up our sleeves and get to work."
Steve Frank retired after the last presidential election following a thirty-year career as an appellate lawyer with the United States Department of Justice.
Image courtesy of WikiCommons.