The big attraction on the protest front, during the RNC this past week was a human wall around Trump’s RNC security wall. It was an idea that seemed fantastic once you first heard it, but it was something that needed good numbers and a willing group of protestors. It made for good images – but as was the theme for the week – the numbers were too small.
While immigrant rights groups like United We Dream and some others took a strong stand in Ohio – few others showed. The numbers were too small to pull off anything that made a profound statement against the literal fascist that the Republican Party was nominating. Estimates put the largest protests in the hundreds – photojournalists outnumbered the activists.
In a week that saw Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins spew bigoted hate, Rudy Giuliani fear monger and other Republicans do everything from threaten to strangle Hillary Clinton to tying her to the Devil.
The left made the conscious decision to not confront a man that as president would (if we are to believe his words, and I do) put people in camps, declare entire swaths of people criminals, just for existing – and cut benefits for tens of millions.
This is to not mention the overall effect that a Trump Presidency would have on the safety of many minorities in this country from his supporters.
Other than the ever-present Code Pink and Bob Avakain devotees, I was hard pressed to find any group outside the Immigrant rights movement making a real show of numbers in Cleveland.
No large anti-fracking messaging in a state that already has water issues that rise to the level of Flint. No anti-war protestors from ANSWER or UFJP to speak against a party that called for the carpet bombing of the Middle East. Maybe the most important electoral college state in the union was too far to drive, or they were too busy setting up in Philly protesting the Democratic Party, I don’t know. But they should be ashamed. If Phil Ochs were still alive today he’d would be singing where were you in Cleveland? Unfortunately, he’s no longer with us.
At least for now we have the groups like United We Dream, Mijente, Youth Empowered in the Struggle and the It Takes Roots Caravan to hold us over until the rest of us get over Bernie and realize that real change happens on the ground.
*It needs to be noted that there were many individuals that made their presence heard in Cleveland from larger groups, like Iraq Veterans Against the War, Black Lives Matter and more local organizations. This is meant to be a call out to the larger left – to show up and be counted – not meant to call out individuals.
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