A scientist I know added me to a secret Facebook group, and when I eventually got around to looking at the group and its contents, not only did I immediately love it – I also was immediately worried its message will be diluted.
A post read, “Multiple side groups have begun to spring up that aren’t associated with the main team. This makes it harder for us to get information out.” Yep. And it dilutes the group’s message, which ultimately is about freedom of information.
This ‘side group’ issue was an alarming theme I encountered while protesting the Republican Party’s nomination of President Donald Trump back in July 2016. Democrats against Trump, Stand Together Against Trump, Shut Down Trump & the RNC, Organize Ohio, Socialism for America, Greenpeace, New Black Panther Party, Code Pink: Women Against Trump, and on and on and on. That’s just a sample of some of the groups I saw on the streets carrying signs.
You would think with all of these groups, there would be massive crowds of people marching every day. But no. A few times, my spouse and I were totally alone on the streets.
All of the competing messages resulted with no cohesive plan to stage a meaningful, peaceful expression of protest with massive impact, except for maybe two different marches over the span of the whole week. There was no massive march as there should have been. Nothing like the women marching across the country the day after we inaugurated this guy. Haven’t we let this go on long enough?
One of my favorite pictures from our RNC protests is of my husband Tedly dressed as a Muslim with a hijab standing alone against the massive police presence brought into Cleveland to make sure everything was peaceful.
Police came from all over the country to make sure the protestors stayed in line. On the day Tedly wore that outfit, he, his mom and I were practically the only people walking in a march that seemed to fizzle out. We came down a road and the media asked us, “Where is everyone?” We’re here. We are here. Everyone else is around, somewhere. We think. We hope.
During the RNC week, different groups hung out in different public areas of downtown Cleveland. Different groups held marches on different days, and the result was fragmentation of the same general theme – which was opposition to the GOP’s presidential nomination.
I see the same thing happening now. ‘This group’ and ‘that group’ organizing to get their specialized message out with Trump playing up those divisions – those preferences of your causes. Muslim bans, immigrant deportations and a new border wall, crackdowns on federal scientists and climate change denial, abortion funding bans, voter fraud, and more. You get the idea. You’ve read the news – and the president’s tweets. The more shit he flings at different causes, the more different causes there will be for people to ‘take up’. These divide us, and we’re getting conquered. Just like the mass protests that were supposed to happen at the RNC that never materialized. A fragmented gathering that fizzled into nothing. We can’t let that happen again.
Instead, there should be a unified front against this narcissistic egomaniac. America needs moral leaders who are willing to speak up against the president’s divisive politics before it’s too late. Does it matter if you ‘protest’ the threat of the feds going into Chicago, or, a ban of Muslims or the building of a wall? Aren’t both causes for humane treatment of fellow humans? Moral leaders would remind us to get behind the principal of each cause – thereby treating both as equally important issues. Moral leaders inherently promote peace and justice and unity.
Too bad I don’t see any.