• AJ Freeman

#BothSides of the Street

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

As I sit here on this football Sunday in America, I can´t help but to consider a particularly insidious form of concern trolling regards the wisdom of The People mustering their numbers in defense of democracy.

In the days after the nationwide marches in celebration of the first step to a peaceful transition of power--an officially recognized result at the ballot--grumblers groused in some corners of conversation, calling out the left for its perceived doublespeak in both criticizing unnecessary gatherings and taking to the streets en masse.

what do you notice about everyone in this picture, including the unicorn (and cameraman)?

Regardless of any circumstances that may surround it, a population taking to the streets in solidarity says a lot...and it says even more that the assembled consider the direction of society a more pronounced danger than a deadly disease...at least, if you´re open to hearing it. Such a demonstration is a potent and indispensable reminder of that reality, directly addressed to those who may have lost touch with it.

If two million people show up at your house, all of a sudden it doesn´t matter who you are any more.

Pointing to the ¨respectability¨ of protesting for a legitimate cause in any set of circumstances is an act of intellectual cowardice on par with criticizing ¨defund the police¨ as a polarizing phrase when a sufficiently malignant listener can turn ¨black lives matter¨ into a controversial statement.

Thing is, you can hear whatever you want...but you can´t say no one said anything.

tell me more about the vital public statement this makes.

Is the timing ideal? Of course not...but it´s tough only having less than ideal choices to make. Do we allow our leaders to threaten the democratic process unchallenged, or do we risk exposure to the plague?

Do we adhere to the best possible practices for preventing the spread of the pandemic at all times, or do we risk our own well being to draw attention to the factors that facilitated it?

Do we continue to allow commerce to be conveniently conducted as our cousins are murdered in the streets, or do we maybe smash up a few windows and get called some nasty names? Make of these questions what you will, but understand that folks only get their throats slit quietly in the movies.

Wrap it in rhetoric or couch it in cynicism, the fact remains the same: When you put a show of civic force in the face of fascism on the scales of your mind with a college football tailgate, the way it tips says a lot about the way a person leans in the first place.

The fact that college athletes putting themselves at risk for free is deemed perfectly permissible--a sign of competent leadership and a healthy society, even!--while the right of The People peaceably to assemble is up for debate even when every possible precaution is taken says far more than the people who say it intend to.

there are levels to this.

Even putting adherence to public health protocols aside, It is obtuse at best and malicious at worst to compare a social justice demonstration with revelry of any kind...¨protest¨ and ¨celebration¨ are conceptually opposite.

The two have as much to do with each other as a trip to Six Flags and a colonoscopy.

No one WANTS to do this...but in a body politic so profoundly sickened, it becomes undeniably essential.