Plow Horses and Yipping Dogs

nowMarches and Facebook shares can only move an issue so far. I was reminded of this quote from David Wong after Egypt’s revolution and Republican gains in Texas:

“The people in positions of power – politicians, billionaires, corporations, whatever – are perfectly happy to watch you put on a big, showy demonstration or protest. That’s because they know that for young people, a big, showy demonstration is what they do INSTEAD of voting, lobbying or taking action through boring legal means.

“Texas is happening because instead of printing up signs with clever slogans, Republican voted and lobbied and donated cash. Egypt’s government didn’t fall to a bunch of chanting 20 year-olds, it fell to the guys with the tanks.

“The stuff that makes real change happen is BORING. It involves standing in line at polling places and having a bunch of people on your side go to law school. An unwillingness to do those boring things in exchange for showy, clever protests is the reason real change so rarely happens.”

Establishment bashing outsiders are attractive to frustrated voters, but real change requires dedication, patience and compromise.

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Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

4 CommentsLeave a comment

    • Hey thanks. I’d be a little hypocritical here if I called this “hard work”. You’ve reminded me I need to make more calls to get a local ACLU chapter formed.

  • I Can’t Buy That…,
    the accomplishments of the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s was “BORING” or obtained with “patience and compromise”? Same thing with the Vietnam War Protests? It was the people in the streets that put the pressure on the powers that be…, not any pressure from the ballot box.

    The coordination of police and security complex in snuffing out the Occupy Movement shows you just how worried those powers that be are about people in the streets.

    Over at Common Dreams…, Chris Hedges says:

    No vote we cast will alter the configurations of the corporate state. The wars will go on. Our national resources will continue to be diverted to militarism. The corporate fleecing of the country will get worse. Poor people of color will still be gunned down by militarized police in our streets. The eradication of our civil liberties will accelerate. The economic misery inflicted on over half the population will expand. Our environment will be ruthlessly exploited by fossil fuel and animal agriculture corporations and we will careen toward ecological collapse. We are “free” only as long as we play our assigned parts. Once we call out power for what it is, once we assert our rights and resist, the chimera of freedom will vanish. The iron fist of the most sophisticated security and surveillance apparatus in human history will assert itself with a terrifying fury.

    History may not repeat itself. But it echoes itself. Human nature, after all, is constant. We will react no differently from those who went before us. This should not dissuade us from resisting, but the struggle will be long and difficult. Before it is over there will be blood in the streets.

    •   I think the Civil Rights movement progressed by capitalizing on the inherent sense of fairness which is common to the young (and unfortunately too often ‘out-grown’). The move to end ‘Nam came when the middle class saw its sons drafted into combat.

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