Protests and Progress

peaceful protest.jpg

Today, I received the following email from Seth Godin. If you are not already a follower, then I recommend that you digest his daily nugget of wisdom.

A simple dialog can turn opinions into plans (or perhaps, into less tightly held opinions).

We ask, “And then what happens?”

Flesh it out. Tell us step-by-step. The more detail the better.

No miracles allowed. And it helps if each step is a step that’s worked before, somewhere and sometime else. The other question that helps with this is, “has that step ever worked before?”

We don’t have a shortage of loud and strongly held points of view about business, culture, or technology. But it may be that finding the time to draw a map helps us get to where we want to go (or to realize that we need a new map).

This email reminded me of the sincere #NeverTrump protests. Protests are meant to affect the desired change. It’s painful to watch angry, loud protesters with an incoherent, rude message annoying leaders. Protests are a first amendment right as long as they are peaceful.

The town hall meetings where protesters shout down the speaker, yell “Do your job.”, and dominate the public mic by asking pre-written questions are feckless events. Speakers will stop showing up if the audience does not want to listen to the speaker. “Do your job.” Seems to mean Do your job the way that I want you to do your job, regardless of how your district voted. Jason Chaffetz was reelected by 75% of his constituents. Do you think that he should ignore supermajority and bend to the 2000 protesters at his town hall? If so, then we have moved from a democracy to a mob rules state, which is the first step to fascism. Being fed questions to ask is not an organic movement.

Follow the tea party movement. Not the part where they shouted down speakers, but by promoting candidates that you support, starting in 2018.

Calling Trump and his administration fascists proves that it’s not. No fascist regime has ever been overthrown by political protests. The fascists will beat up and then jail the protesters. Temper the hyperbole.

To affect lasting change, speak reasonably but passionately. Also, other people have first amendment rights. Do not trample them in defense of your first amendment rights. These differences need to be decided by free speech, persuasion, and the voting booth. It’s worked 240 years. Hopefully, it will work for another 240. (Note: Running a third party candidate for President without winning any state house, governor, or congressional seats first is as futile as sweeping up the beach.)

The people protesting for a $15 minimum wage are seeing unwanted consequences. McDonald’s and Wendy’s are both rolling out self-service kiosks. This means that there will be some $15  jobs, in addition to layoffs.

Keep the end in mind. The extremist already supports your view. Your only hope for change is to persuade the moderates and independents.  Preaching to the choir can elevate emotion but reason moves those in the middle. Leaders need to detach emotionally during strategic planning. This allows clear thinking to prevail.

I have friends that are passionate on both sides. I like to see protests that lead to progress instead of uncivil emotional outbursts.



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