Not too long ago, I was party to the very frivolousness I am pointing out in this article. This was back when I was a social media justice warrior who occasionally attended one protest or another only to return to the comforts of my corporate cubicled clinker. While eating from the belly of the beast, I would find the “courage” to occasionally protest the corporate beast that was trampling on the hopes and lives of the masses with its onerous feet. The protests were endless, one second I would attend a protest against the Republican party, the next second I would be protesting police shootings, and at other times I would join with my fellow Ethiopians to protest the brutal TPLF Ethiopian government.
Protest, protest protest! Protests were as omnipresent as snowflakes in Antarctica and more numerous than the endless times Sarah Palin tortures and mangles the English language. Revolutionaries of the 21st century could enjoy all the benefits of being a part of a movement without taking part in any of the sacrifices needed to make a difference. The only things needed were the fortitude to chant and rant and take a few selfies to prove that we too were there. All style no substance, we would be herded around by pundits and the police as we were told what to say, where to march, and when to disperse. Have nothing better to do, want to meet fellow “revolutionaries” and the “woke” denizens? Well then put on your fancies getup and get on down to the nearest protest!
Protest, protest, protest! Injustice became a shtick as I would attend a march in the morning only to return back to my condo to watch Colbert and Bill Maher turn the pains and injuries of people into punchlines. In between the guffaws and bellows induced by the wit of these pro-activist comedians, I would check my inbox and read the newest email that just arrived as the organizers of the protest I just attended would kindly ask me to give money to “fight injustice”. To take a respite from panhandling emails and jesters on TV, I would take in Tweets and Facebook posts from my favorite politician ranting about the injustice de jour as they feigned shock and indignation as if they are powerless to lessen the inequities they are ranting against.
Hindsight is the greatest teacher since Imhotep. Nothing wakes up the conscience and educates one of the duplicity that shrouds society more than a swift kick in the ass offered by tribulation. I look back now and shake my head in disbelief at the pure pointlessness of these protests. I realize in retrospect that these protests are not solving problems, these marches are actually devolving us backwards into the hands of divisiveness. On all sides, people are fed outrage and sensationalism by demagogues so that we can be more focused on the outcome of inequity instead rooting out the true sources of inequality.
These protests are serving to further the very same malfeasance they portend to be speaking against. Bought and paid politicians and pundits are making us point the finger at each other instead of pointing out the true practitioners of the wickedness that is oppressing oppressing all of us. As Thoreau once brilliantly noted in Walden Pond, there are a thousand hacking at the branches of injustice for every one that is hacking at its root. We have become a society of branch hackers led by political hacks.
It’s when one hits the bottom rungs of society that one understands the utter fatuity of these endless protests. Privation leads to probity and insolvency is a pathway to clarity. I understand now, through wisdom earned by way of hard knocks, the utter joke and waste of time these protests are. The courage of generations before us who marched into the kiss of water cannons and bullets gone, we now take on the courage of mosquitoes to march into the echo chamber of Twitter and Instagram.
Hash tags more important than harsh truths, we would rather mill around in confined areas called protests zones as we submit to the edicts of Pharaohs in order to protest Pharaohs. We are a society chasing our own tails. Rage and rant, sound and fury signaling nothing; at the end of the day zilch gets done as our immoral government and the monsters on Wall Street laugh at our quaint marches. One the protests are done and the trash picked up, the status quo remains intact–the 1% continue to march on our backs.
Stop listening to shysters–the pundits, politicians, and media darlings–who get paid by the very source of injustice they are pretending to speak against. The trough of injustice feeds endless swines on all sides; these supposed leaders and media activists have zero interest in ending injustice because their paychecks and lavish lifestyles are dependent on the very same things they are raging against. I promise you this one thing, the folks who are the happiest at Donald Trump’s election are the “liberal” foxes from MSNBC, Huffington Post to the toadies at Daily Kos.
The editorial staff at the New York Times and Washington Post were popping their most expensive bottles on November 8th because a Donald Trump administration is a bonanza for ratings and a boon for their bottom lines. Why do you think they gave Trump the equivalent of $200 million in free air time that political insiders refer to as earned media. Fox News and the “conservative” media jackals will get their pound of flesh too as they pivot from “speaking truth to power” to cheering Trump in order to cater to their demographic. The fourth estate turned into a laughing stock; so-called journalists are more interested in gaining followers on social media than they are in keeping power in check.
The fraudulence does not end with the media establishment; the true malignant lot are the would be “civil rights leaders” who are actually the shills of the rich and powerful. Affluent “philanthropist” (read moneyed pimps) have unleashed their bank accounts to buy the souls of countless lackeys and partisan prostitutes on all sides in order to speak grievance and victimization to our ears. All the while, they are hearing caching caching! in their ears with each successive protest.
From Al Sharpton on the left and Rush Limbaugh on the right and all in between, these bloviating blowhards and nattering nitwits are nothing more than wolves in sheep’s clothing who are feeding us one by one to the lions. This is why I stand ardently against the Black Lives Matter movement the same way I used to stand against the Tea Party. The leaders of both BLM and the Tea Party were paid handsomely to start these so called movements and in the process incite anger and animosity into the people. BLM leaders were bought out by George Soros the same way Tea Party leaders were bought out by the Koch brothers; as these “leaders” make fortunes they bury us further into divisiveness and hopelessness.
These protests are serving two purposes concurrently; they shatter the people into islands of resentment and make fortunes for those who use injustice as a means of leveraging the pains of the people to elevate themselves. There is a whole cottage industry dedicated to “raising awareness”; in reality what they are doing is raising funds for themselves and lowering the rest of us into the pits of financial anxiety and social unrest. We keep protesting and marching but the injustice keeps getting more and more onerous.
The few who run this world with their billions have perfected the art of divide and conquer by letting double-dealing demagogues lead us into protests of nothingness as they make money from our toils. Don’t take my word for it, take a gander over to your email inbox and I bet you donuts to dollars that there is an email you received overnight asking you to part with your dollars in order to stand up against one injustice or another. We keep doing the same thing over and over again, protesting to voting, marching to chanting expecting a different outcome but getting the same results–this is the essence of insanity. Seriously, how are we not waking up to this lie? Don’t you see they are playing each one of us one against the other? We march on the streets as they profit in their ivory towers swilling Merlot as we wallow in dejection.
For my part, I will not have anything to do with this folly. I will never attend another protest again now that I realize the abject frivolity of these symbolic acts of nothingness. Neither can I watch the likes of Colbert and Maher turn pains into partisan punchlines or watch the jackass Michael Moore go around hunting pains like an over-bloated Elmer Fudd so that he can make yet another couple of million dollars using the suffering of the people as a plot line in his useless narratives. Last night, I tried to watch Real Time to see what the hysteria would be from the liberal side of the carnival. After watching for a few minutes, my stomach turned and I promptly turned off this joke of a show.
The same people who have been silent as Obama has been bombing one nation after the other and giving trillions to the same criminals who broke our nation’s economy are finally finding their outrage now that Trump is elected. This is not a partisan pot shot, the tools on Fox News and Breitbart who were once in a tizzy over Benghazi will now be mum as church mice as a thousand more Libyas are unleashed by the Trump administration. The band plays on, the injustice continues, but we the people keep protesting and marching as if the cadence of feet can drown out the sounds of malevolence.
Protesting is for a defeated people. We have become a society of reactionary lemmings who are quick to attend a march to worship at the podium of media idols. As long as we keep letting pundits, politicians and personalities fracture us and shatter us into the ghettos of acrimony, we will only end up locking ourselves up into the prison of antipathy and bitterness. Hatred can’t be solved through hatred and it damn can’t be addressed by turning injustice into punchlines and profit motives. Injustice is not a t-shirt to be worn to prove that we belong, injustice is a blanket that snuffs out the hopes of countless people around the world. The only way we can ever bend the arc of history towards justice is if we unite as a people and stop letting demagogues lead us to our collective self-nullification.
Ironic isn’t it, the same people who were praising Obama as he was furthering this military-financial complex we call government are now heading out in droves to a city near you to protest Trump. Likewise the same people who were up in arms over Obama’s executive overreach are celebrating Trump’s first action of overreach as he signed an executive action upon getting sworn in. Where politics exists, morality and logic are nowhere to be found. We are so caught up in the cult of personalities and this poisonous politics that few are paying attention to the policies. Once mangled by injustice thrice shy is what I am saying I guess, I’ve had my fill of protests and viewing politics as a sport.
No longer will I vilify the “other side” mocking the pains of farmers in Kansas or the anger of coal miners in West Virginia all the while being outraged by the injustices felt by “my people” in Chicago and Baltimore. Either we speak against universal injustice and seek universal redress or we become cogs in the very machine of iniquity we think we are marching against. Maybe we as a people need to march less with our feet and extend a hand of friendship to others who suffer just like us. Symbolic and reactionary protests is only furthering injustice, only proactive and inclusive actions will make a difference.
I humbly submit that the answer is to stop protesting outward and instead look inward for it is love from within that will change the world without. I went to a church not too long ago and the pastor asked the congregation a simple question. He said “how many people think the world is disloyal”. Every single person in the church raised their hands. He then asked “how many people think you are disloyal”. Nary a soul raise their hands. See, this is the problem, we keep looking elsewhere but rarely do we notice the throbbing planks in our eyes that is preventing us from seeing and seizing justice.
Protesting is useless because the true fight is within us first and foremost. We have tried throughout history to let revolution give birth to freedom, yet every revolution–including the revolution of 1776–devolves right back into the tyranny that gave birth to the uprising to begin with. The only revolution that will free us and lead to redemption is the revolution of the heart and the mind–all else is just a impotent exercise in “look at me” nihilism. #ProtestNoMore
If what you are is more important than who you are, your outrage against injustice is feckless–you perpetuate injustice as you rage against it.
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This was an flash back article written last year during the first “women’s march” event. Check out one of the newer Ghion Casts below where I touch upon the same subjects discussed above.
Originally from Ethiopia with roots to Atse Tewodros II, Lij Teodrose is a former community organizer whose writing was incorporated into Barack Obama's South Carolina primary victory speech in 2008. He pivoted away from politics and decided to stand for collective justice after experiencing the reality of the forgotten masses. His writing defies conventional wisdom and challenges readers to look outside the constraints of labels and ideologies that serve to splinter the people. Lij Teodrose uses his pen to give a voice to the voiceless and to speak truth to power.
Latest posts by Lij Teodrose Fikremariam (see all)
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