Thursday, July 30, 2020

Thinking About the Portland Protests

1. These protests have gone on for a very long time. It would seem that the original point--about Black Lives Matter and police violence--has been made.

2. It seems doubtful that continuing them indefinitely is going to add that much or anything to the original point.

3. The protests have evolved into nightly peaceful rallies that inevitably are followed by confrontations later at night at the Federal Courthouse where fires are lit, rocks, bottles and firecrackers thrown, lasers aimed at law enforcement and attempts made to scale/tear down the surrounding fence. (See the link below to a detailed AP story on the nightly events.)
4. This violence adds nothing to the point of the peaceful rallies but actually detracts from it. It is a terrible look for the movement. (See the wise words of Dr, King below, courtesy of The Democratic Strategist.)
5. Yet the "peacefuls" seem utterly unable to stop the "violents" from their nightly escapades. This seems to be some combination of genuine disorganization along with an attitude that, well, the real perpetrators of violence are Trump, the cops, etc. so it would be unseemly to try very hard to stop demonstrator violence.
6. Another rationale is, well, it hasn't hurt anything so far; the movement has a lot of support and Trump is still losing badly. Therefore, we don't need to worry about a backlash.
7. But politics and public opinion are changeable so it does not follow that no backlash today means no backlash tomorrow. Trump clearly wants more these of these kind of confrontations and it would warm his little heart if they spiraled out of control so that he'd have a weapon to use against Biden and the Democrats.
8. Therefore, if the Portland protesters want to make their point without stepping on their own story and potentially helping Trump, they should work hard to stop those in their ranks who are intent on violence and continued confrontations.
9. If they can't figure out a way to do this, perhaps they should consider packing it in for awhile. Otherwise, the costs of the ongoing protests could exceed the benefits to the very cause they support. Not to mention the cause of getting rid of Trump, without which nothing particularly good is likely to happen.

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