Peaceful protests are awesome, but please get off the Interstate. Stop pissing people off and start winning them over.
Spontaneous protests will not stop Donald Trump from making good on his threats against this country and the world.
Neither will Michael Moore’s oft-shared “Morning-After To-Do List” (an exercise in self-congratulation long on generalities and short on suggestions for immediate concrete action).
Last night’s largely peaceful demonstrations got the resistance movement off to a good start. More people need to join, and that includes you.
However, continued unplanned protests will fail to achieve the desired results.
We need a coherent strategy if we intend to defeat the gravest threat to American freedom since the Civil War. Here are some guidelines:
Successful direct action requires leadership and planning. Focused and well-organized protests often succeed, but spontaneous mobs nearly always sputter out and fail.
We need to figure out fast who’s going to lead this effort so we can develop and execute a coherent strategy. Presumably, many Democratic Party operatives need work right now, and since our ultimate goals are political, it makes sense for some of them to be in the mix. Ideally, a few people with national stature — Bernie Sanders? Elizabeth Warren? — could help coordinate among national and local civil rights organizations, Black Lives Matter, the Occupy movement, etc.
#2: Protest; don’t riot
We’re the good guys and we need to act like it, both because that’s the right thing to do, and because we need to win.
Protest movements in this country succeed through nonviolent civil disobedience. Historically, they lose when they devolve into violence and vandalism.
#3: Inconvenience Trump, not the public
If we block the interstate during rush hour, then we will mostly alienate innocent commuters who might have otherwise supported our cause. Move to the roadside and let traffic pass while witnessing our strength in numbers.
Yes, more people means a better protest, but where we put them matters. Good demonstration sites include parks, public squares, around government buildings, and any Trump property.
#4: Chant better slogans
“Not my president!” mirrors the unpatriotic idiocy the right heaped on President Obama. We’re better than that.
We do not reject the verdict of the electorate. We do not question a legitimate transition of power.
But we will not allow Trump to shred the Constitution and impose a Fascist regime. Specifically, we shall not let him deport 11 million of our neighbors, steal health insurance from 20 million people, rob women of reproductive rights, make “stop and frisk” national policy, destroy marriage equality, slam the door on refugees, waste billions on an unnecessary wall, betray the free world and embrace dictatorships, etc.
So, we should be chanting slogans that relate to those goals. Slogans with broad appeal, that bring together moderates, liberals and leftists. “Freedom and justice for all!” “Keep Obamacare!” “Stronger together!” “Women’s rights are human rights!” “No police state!” Etc.
#5: Be happy warriors
Trump recruits with rage.
We’re the good guys. We attract support with love and joy. Make the protests fun. Sing. Dance. Drum. Laugh. Hug.
When Trumpsters come out to disrupt our rallies, we need to meet their hate and hostility with tireless peace and love. That is the path to victory.