I am trapped on a train, held hostage by the Berkley protesters near Oakland, California. Down the tracks people block not only the roadways and freeways, but also the incoming trains. Somewhere amidst the crowded Berkley streets a woman is going into labor in her car, unable to move because of the crowds.
Although I can appreciate their fleeting convictions over the recent police shootings, after twelve plus hours of transit and a morning filled with LA fires and hellacious traffic, my sympathies have turned quite selfish. As I sit here, dry eyed and glazed over, and quite honestly bored out of my mind, I’ve taken to considering the decency and intelligence of all this hullabaloo. Protesting is decent, but mob protesting is another story. And that’s what these nationally notorious events have become. Freeways and whole city blocks closed off, bus routes impeded and canceled, personal property damages, and not to mention groups taking advantage of the situation and the visibility to use the protests as a personal platform tool. Our conductor even excused the situation by noting we’d be remaining in Oakland to maintain our safety. ABOARD A TRAIN. For all the good these protesters are “intending” to promote, have they now caused a breech in safety to other citizens? Well, if we have to fear for our safety on a train, I’d say yeah.
The common denominator of all protests is violence. From one side or the other, violence is always somewhere in the mix. What baffles me, if only slightly, is that with the Ferguson protests and others related to it happening in other cities across the country, they are only making life more difficult for the rest of us. What is the need of running on highways, or making rush hour even more of a hell for the commuters? People lose there jobs in LA if they’re late. Why smash windows, destroy personal property of those who have literally nothing to do with any of it? Human originality and creativity is obviously lacking here. There are many ways of protesting something, but these are often times over looked, partly, mainly, because they cost the protester more time and commitment. But here are a couple of options, they are more gentle and subconcious, but retain a lasting affect.
1. Write a book.
What people don’t realize is that libraries are still in business, and the New York best seller’s list is still in existance. Don’t leave those venues open to vapid creations like Twilight, that later are banked into movies and marketing tools (see #2)
2. Make a movie or television shows/ Work in entertainment.
Movies and television are the apex of our modern cultural psyche. We watch them from childhood, and spend so much of our adult life consuming our spare time with them. If anything can affect change, especially on a subconscious level where our “micro aggressions” stem from, than movies and TV are it. That, or become a teacher. Either way, you won’t be able to afford a cush lifestyle, but you’ll at least be helping people; and wasn’t that the purpose of protesting, anyway?
Take it one step further from just watching propagated news reports from channels with agendas. See social problems and the human condition first hand. And instead of getting angry and holding up signs, chanting and ruining others’ day by making them lose their job because they can’t get to work on time, or after 12+ hours of transit have to sit for 6 more hours on the train, or go into labor in their car because they are stuck in the street traffic you are causing, or lose their livelihood because you’ve destroyed their place of business, and etc… instead of doing all these things, go into the trenches and cause a change by investing in a person and being burdened with their problems and hardship, not self fulfilling group euphoria.
4. Become a police officer or work within the justice system.
Ensure the rights and justice of those you serve.
5. Elect officials or become one who help make the hard decisions.
It should be obvious how this is helpful.
Dedicate your life, not just a couple of days or weeks to the causes you seem so desperate to defend. Get dirty, embrace emotional turmoil and empathetic tribulation, not anger, annoyance, and self aggrandizement. It’s a huge commitment, but it makes a difference without hurting innocent bystanders or causing more strain on the law enforcement. How many more people will be hurt, raped, or killed because the police meant to walk those beats are rededicated to monitoring your cause? Don’t protest something you, and let’s be honest, haven’t really done all your research on with an objective lens. Don’t blend into the herd mentality. And PLEASE, please, stop blocking my train.
I’m not one to sympathize with law enforcement, but here is some perspective in light of a lot of mass media hysteria: