The Campaign Spot

The Ferguson Protesters Aren’t Interested in Persuading Other People.

From the Tuesday Morning Jolt:

The Ferguson Protesters Aren’t Interested in Persuading Other People.

Hey you. Fawker. 

I’m going to grant you a courtesy you don’t always extend to others and take you seriously for a bit.

I assume you want me to agree with you. You want to persuade me that you’re not just some hooligan, idolizing a terrorist because of a hackneyed, heavy-handed Wachowski Brothers film. You want to convince me that you’re not just looking for an excuse to loot and steal stuff and then use the death of a young man as an ex post facto justification for your own criminal inclination to take the property of other people by force. You want to persuade me to agree with your perspective that there is a national epidemic of cops using excessive force and deadly force without cause against young black men.

If you want someone to listen to your argument… you do not win people over by making them late for work:

Protesters blocked D.C. traffic during a busy post-holiday rush hour to protest a Ferguson, Missouri, grand jury’s decision not to charge police officer Darren Wilson with shooting and killing unarmed teen Michael Brown.

The group of about 20 people formed a human chain across the 14th Street Bridge at D Street NW Monday, shutting the bridge down at the heart of rush hour. Police stood by, giving the protesters time to peacefully share their message.

After staging a die-in, the group moved on, shutting down traffic at the 12th Street Tunnel. The rolling closures continued through Downtown to 7th Street NW and Constitution Avenue.

The rally broke up around Chinatown, News4’s Molette Green reported. No arrests were made.

Hey, D.C. Police: Why weren’t any arrests made? Isn’t this a serious public safety issue? How long until some irate commuter has a Tony Stewart moment with some particularly obstinate protester?

One muddle-headed protester told NBC4, “That’s the point, we want people to know what’s going on.”

People already know what’s going on. They just don’t agree with you in the numbers you would like. And a big reason is the way you’ve chosen to showcase your argument.

 

If you want me to agree with you, a good first step is to show you respect me. Blocking traffic and making me late doesn’t make me think that you respect me. It suggests you feel either utter disregard for what I consider important – i.e., getting to work on time – or you feel contempt for me – after all, I’m some bourgeoisie drone worrying about a time-clock and paying the mortgage, who’s insufficiently down with the struggle.

The Ferguson protesters claim they want empathy. They want us to put ourselves in the shoes of young black males and to know what it feels like to be treated like a criminal suspect in public places, by shopkeepers and police officers, and to know that the consequences of a misunderstanding, hostile look, or dumb teenage mistake are much higher than for other people. They may very well have a point.

But they refuse to demonstrate empathy for anyone else – not the cops who have the tough job of working in dangerous neighborhoods, not the shopkeepers of Ferguson, nor even the people of Washington D.C. who have the misfortune of trying to drive into work on I-395 on a Monday morning.

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