Bad DNC protesters? get them to behave

That was embarrassing. The Indy asked me how to keep a protest peaceful, in light of participants who may be tempted to mix it up. The Indy said my advice was get them to behave. It’s what I meant of course, but I said: set a good example for others to follow.

I was talking to the Independent reporter about how one could participate in the DNC demonstrations without getting caught up in trouble. It is a perplexing balancing act. Despite every organizer’s best intentions, there are going to be soccer hooligans and plain-clothed provocateurs.

The best use you can put to all the digital video devices is to catch undercover cops trying to instigate crime. Young would-be rabble-rousers will have to offend for themselves because cameras might catch them too. Against police video surveillance, the bystander videotape will be the least of their problems. Principally, demonstrators will need to catch the various law enforcement agents trying to entrap participants and incite riots, for which they can blame their unwitting accomplices.

Don’t hold anything for a stranger, don’t follow the directions of someone you don’t already know to be an organizer.

And above all, remember why you’re here. To represent your message. To give voice to others. Taking to the street is as fundamental as fighting for your rights. They weren’t given us without somebody taking to the streets to demand them. Let the politicians and media and authorities know why you’re there. That’s real patriotism.

Is it not patriotism to wave the flag?

‘USA! USA! USA! We’re #1! We’re #1! We’re#1!’ How did all the flag waving and egoism get to substitute for real patriotism in our country? Is putting out the flag from a pole in front of one’s house any real measure of being patriotic? What is patriotism anyway? Some consider the model to be voting, but is that any more the measure of patriotism than putting flag decals on the bumpers of one’s car? Is supporting the troops the true measure of patriotism? And what is really meant by that?

I don’t claim to be the great American patriot myself. The core of patriotism is often considered to be nationalism, but what a poor and wormy core that is! That would make Hitler a great German patriot, Mussolini a great Italian one, and almost every other warmonger around the world one, too. ‘My country right or wrong!’ just is not a good core value to have IMO. Nationalism is really tribalism on a much larger scale. ‘We humans; they food to eat.’

If nationalism and waving the flag of one’s own tribe is not truly what patriotism is, then what is? I suggest that patriotism is really defined by one’s willingness to work for the social good, whether those who would benefit be from one’s own nation, or not. Selfishness is not patriotism, while working for the betterment of humanity as a whole really is.

Let’s be clear though, there are many amongst us close at home who benefit nothing from our current social and economic setup. It is patriotic to work for them, as much as it might be to try to better the conditions elsewhere for the greater social good. Helping out the many less fortunate amongst us is much more a true model of patriotism than waving the so called ‘Old Glory’. The next time some flagwaver is pretending to be the great patriot, maybe it might be best to not let them get away with hogging the definition of what patriotism is all about, all to themselves? It’s just not so, and they should be told so.