I read headlines like this, like “Republicans push anti-protest laws,” and my gut reaction is a deluge of expletives so severe as to make truckers cringe.
And then, I smile. Because, and this is an important thing to remember, and I’m starting to remember it almost immediately, my gut reaction is starting to revise itself: They would not be trying to make our dissent illegal if our dissent did not matter.
I’ve been saying this a lot lately on social media. I want all my resistance colleagues to take that thought to heart. Not because it makes it any less maddening, but because it’s evidence that our efforts are getting attention. They can’t ignore us. Even when it seems like they’re ignoring us, they aren’t.
And there are so many ways to protest. Can’t legislate against em all.
Still, read the article I linked to above, which appeared Tuesday in ThinkProgress. Wherever you are in or outside of the resistance movement, you should know that this is going on. And you should care because regardless of your political leanings and whether or not you are engaging in direct action at this moment in time, someday soon, something is probably going to happen that you are against. You’re going to want to speak out. We should all be fighting for everyone’s constitutional right to speak out.
Lee Rowland, a senior staff attorney at the American Civil Liberties Union, told ThinkProgress:
This is a marked uptick in bills that would criminalize or penalize protected speech and protest, and every person should be alarmed at that trend. We should also be alarmed by the attitude they betray, which is that when Americans get out into the streets and make their voices heard — recently, in record numbers — their elected representatives’ response is not to listen to those concerns but to attempt to silence and criminalize them.
I’m more than alarmed. I’m both enraged and empowered. You?