About Protests

Recently the people at Chicken Salad Chick, a nice little restaurant my wife loves in Auburn, AL, changed their entire menu up. They stuck with the core of what made them great, but they went from having a “cookie of the day” to having an iced sugar cookie about the size of a half dollar. For men it’s a one bite cookie; for women two or three.

So, I protested. I told the person who conducted their “market test” that this was a bad idea, and that people would not like it. They went ahead with their plans. So every time I have the opportunity, I announce my disdain for their changes at the front counter when I order. But here’s the thing. While I may tell the clerk “Hey, hey, ho, ho, miniature cookies gotta go!” I do it in a normal voice, and with a smile on my face. I don’t have signs, vagina costumes, and a press pool with me. Because, I want them to change because they see the value in it, not because I believe my needs are more important than theirs.  You see, part of protesting is respecting that your voice can be heard without your voice becoming an angry directive.

The First Amendment guarantees the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievances. It does not guarantee the right of the people to get their way. Someone once described democracy as two wolves and a sheep discussing what’s for dinner. The problem with democracy, such as it is, is that it maginifies the voice of the many, and diminishes the voice of the few. It’s one reason why we have a republic. The framers meant to secure the rights of minorities as well as the majority.

Sadly if you watched the women’s march, or the inauguration protests, you saw everything bad about protests. And now, with the travel ban, you’re seeing the worst of the worst coming into airports and screwing up and already hectic setting.  Choke points are attractive to terrorists because you can cause massive casualties in a small space.  And a big protest at an airport is a target of opportunity for our enemies.  It is only a matter of time before one of those protests leads to a mass casualty situation.

The laws already on the books give President Trump the right to do what he did. While we may disagree on his policy, or his implementation of his policy, it should be respectful, and it should not cause more problems than it solves. The policy affected 109 people in transit, most of whom are already accommodated. So tieing up lanes of traffic in order to shut down airports to make the point that a travel ban is a bad thing only insures that those of us with places to go to and people to see will be certain not to vote in accord with your wishes.

If protesters really wanted to do something besides be seen and hang out with the cool kids, the would spend time on the phone to their representatives office. They would petition the government for redress of grievances by writing to their elected officials. They would not do everything in their power to piss off the rest of us who happen to agree with the policy.

As a wise person observed on Twitter yesterday, when you have a leak in the pipe, the first thing you do is turn off the water before you repair the leak. Our entire pipeline is screwed up. We need to do more than weld a few patches in place. We need to make the system make sure that only those who are not going to harm us, and who are going to adhere to our values and our Constitution are admitted. We need to be sure, because otherwise San Bernadino, Fort Lauderdale, Boston, Ohio State, and Orlando are going to become an every week occurrence in the years to come.

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