Saturday, July 9, 2016

Protestors: Demanding Solutions, or Helping Networks Get Ad Revenue?

     My question for any given protest, is whether the purpose of the protest is to put forward a solution to a problem, or only to complain about a problem, and often times to appear on TV and other communications media.   

    Back in the day I participated in protest marches.  In those days, it seems to me, the protestors were often idealistic and politically astute if not completely unbiased.  Organizers of protest marches usually had specific goals in mind.  For example, I went to Boston to protest school segregation in the 1970's.  We wanted legislation passed that would prevent segregated schools.   And the legislation was passed, so to me the protest was successful.   

    By and large, if it was a good goal, the protest could be successful in bringing about a change for the better.  The goal was usually some sort of legislative milestone.

    These days I see a different type of protester.   Often the ideological commitment seems to be missing and replaced by the simple desire to be a complainer.  The protests often have a nice catch phrase, but how do you know if the protest is a success?   What change do the protesters want?  I didn't like recent protests that chanted slogans like "Enough is Enough!" or "We won't take it anymore!"  These slogans raise people's passion and evoke anger but do not lead to a solution on how to fix the problem.   

     So, assuming you have America's attention thanks to your your captivating, high-Nielsen-ratings protest, what do you want them to do?   In the old days they actually did things. They desegregated lunch counters, let black people register to vote, stopped supporting the war in Viet Nam, and actually made specific accomplishments.  This did not transform the society to a Utopian one, but bit by bit they made lives tangibly better or at least attempted to do so.  

    This new crowd often seems to be interested in seeing themselves on TV or in a viral Youtube video.   The news media is happy to have such protests because they make money by getting ratings and generating advertisement revenue.  Even better if they just create anger and controversy without offering any solutions to specific problems.  That keeps the ratings up forever.  

   Angry protests that accomplish nothing are good--if you are the news media and want to turn a profit on them.  

     If some group has a solution to a problem and they want it implemented, I will probably listen to them and maybe even join their cause.  If it's about complaining, getting on TV and generating viewership, no thanks.  

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