So I won’t judge.  But the TS’s “Toasts and Roasts” editorial does not have kind words for those who showed up to oppose the pending naval military drills off the west coast.

To many of the people who showed up just to hear themselves talk at the U.S. Navy’s meeting last week to discuss its plans to increase training off the West Coast. While all viewpoints are welcome, the seeming lack of interest in learning about the project means that many didn’t get much out of the meeting. The theatrics didn’t help people understand the real concerns — and there are plenty of real concerns — over the Navy’s plans and likely made many wonder if the dissent was just a sounding board for radicals.

I received a much different report from a caller on my radio show last week, so I won’t assume the accuracy of the TS perception.  But I do think that progressive activists do have to rethink their methods.  Right or wrong, demonstrations and rhetoric without focus can be detrimental to a cause, and certainly to rational discourse.  It’s not enough to be loud.  We have to learn to persuade.  It requires engagement and a rational understanding of your opposition sans demonetization and oversimplification.  We aren’t heard if we don’t listen and don’t engage.

It’s true of other debates as well, including Richardson Grove.  Demonstrations, whether street or at planned attendance of public meetings, have to be thought out in terms of specific goals and overall strategy.  And as I’ve suggested, action should not be about personal gratification as some sort of therapy to feel important.  It must be about the issue at hand.

 

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