Commenters object to suggestion to refocus energy for election cycle’s final days.

This is a first for me. I’ve never been accused of being a coddler of “scared whites.” Or a coddler of any person or group, for that matter.

Nevertheless, that’s what one person who commented on my recent post about forgoing protest for the next 50-odd days, until the November 3 election, to head off efforts by right-wing extremists to co-opt them and play into Trump’s narrative of a nation in chaos.

I expected some blowback, given the passion and ferocity of many of the people who have been engaged in recent protests around the country, myself included. I think, deep down, I even anticipated suggestions that I’m just another one of the “them” in the us vs. them scenario to which many people cling. But I’ll put my progressive bona fides up against anyone’s.

Further, the way I see it, there cannot be – or at least should not be – a purity test among those who are dedicated to addressing inequity and injustice in our society. We need to do what we can to support, complement and build off of each others’ efforts.

I enjoy the back and forth, give and take. I also admire the furor and, to a certain extent, the intractability; reminds me of myself.

That said, I do enjoy the back and forth, give and take. I also admire the furor and, to a certain extent, the intractability; reminds me of myself, especially when I was younger but at times even now. There’s much to admire in people who stick to their principles no matter what.

Here are comments from two of the most ardent commenters, unedited and in full, along with my responses. Names withheld.

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Commenter #1 (C1)
Part of the responsibility of creating this fear is on the media, not protestors, for their improper, irresponsible, and fear mongering style of reporting on the uprisings. The horrendous violence is coming from the police and the state, as it always has been! And that is never the media’s narrative! Look at the Water Protectors who protested at Standing Rock. In that time, did you encourage them to tone it down or wait, or blame them, in part(even tho they were protesting under a Dem prez like you suggest we wait to do again) for the election of Trump? Seriously did you? This is a genuine question. Or looking back do you now think that they contributed to the rise of Trump in some way? You cannot tell protesters who have suffered hundreds of years of oppression to hold back to coddle scared whites. And you keep saying that you’re not, but let’s be honest. You basically are.

Lets just be real. The “people on the fence to the dark side” are already on the dark side. If voters are looking for the best “law and order” choice for prez they are SOOO completely missing the point of this movment and are actually counterproductive to it.

“The massive nighttime protests can always resume after we get this Hitler-style dictator out of office.” The sentiment of this quote very much is argued against by MLK in his letter from Burnham Jail which I will post.

IV Words (IVW)
The media, along with right-wing counter-protesters, are responsible. I agree. Go ahead and quote Dr. King – I’ve read that letter many times. It deserves repeating. Unfortunately I believe your anger is getting in the way of hearing what I am saying in the post. That’s OK, too, I understand that anger, and share it. Do yourself a favor – don’t go looking for enemies amongst people who are actually your friends.

C1
I could say the same for you. Dont go looking for enemies(among the protests) who are actually your friend. Also my question about Standing Rock stands and I’d love you to address it. Do you think they stirred up trumpers and contributed to his election? And what do you think was the significance of them protesting under a democratic president?

C1
Also do people often tell you you are very condescending? Telling people they are angry and not clear headed because they disagree with you is a lame way to defend your point. You posted your own op ed in a DIRECT ACTION group, literally advocating for less direct action and more driving your friends to the polls. Did you expect no disagreement?

IVW
I believe in protest, as I’ve said repeatedly. And no, you can’t say the same of me for urging a different approach in these weeks before the election. Standing Rock? I contributed to water protectors and write in support of them. No, I did not urge them to stand down or ease up. Again, you seem to be missing the point of the piece.

IVW
No, disagreement is fine, even healthy. Did you expect me not to respond to those who disagree? It’s called give and take.

Photo of protester giving a peace sign.
Photo by AJ Colores via Unsplash

C1
No I didnt miss the point. I disagree with it. There is a huge difference. For instance, you either missed the point of MLKs words, or you disagree with them. I dont know which it is though.

IVW
It’s not an either only this or only that discussion. I believe MLK would have said one needs to tailor one’s actions to the situation and circumstances. That’s what I’m suggesting.

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Commenter #2 (C2)
Couple of things missed in this article. First, the Dem party isn’t tailoring it’s program to those you are asking to “get out the vote”. They’re going after that thin sliver of GOP who are disaffected. Second, you seem to move the goalpost from the “violence is bad” to “all these demos might look bad” because of “hijacking”. Finally, there’s the history of it all. Before MLK was killed he polled very badly, and “white backlash” was the watchword. But it no way do I think it was a mistake we marched back then, nor does history in hindsight delegitimize our demos just because white folks got scared of seeing militant in the streets. History vindicated us then, it will do so again.

IVW
It appears to me you’re suggesting I think protesting is bad or wrong. Quite the contrary. I’ve participated in many marches and protests, and will continue to do so. I’m suggesting that, for the next two months, we focus on what I believe is most important right now – getting rid of Trump and his enablers and dislodging those enablers from their control of the U.S. senate and statehouses.

C2
I am doing calls to get folks out, D16 in particular. You phrased the urging to do that in a tone deaf way.

IVW
Meaning what? I’m writing letters to people in swing states, letters to people who have shown themselves to be pro-environment and volunteering for DemCastUSA. How is it that I’m tone deaf?

C2
Worrying about someone’s anxiety who never really was repulsed by Trump in the first place. All our gotv in the world isn’t going to win them over.

IVW
I respect your right to your opinion.

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I believe strongly that, aside from anarchists and white supremacists, no one is going to make any progress while Trump remains president and his enablers continue to control the U.S. Senate and state legislatures.

Peace and power, people. Look closely and you’ll see we’re all on the same side.

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