I Doth Protest…..

b74d65ea-215c-4f53-add8-5ded46ddc4c3The sight of John Lewis’s body on the horse drawn caisson as it crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge was poignant. The loop was complete. He and others had accomplished a lot over many years…..peacefully.  It clearly brought to mind the difference between non violent and violent protest. Are they equally successful? Interesting question.

The reason for protest is simple. You don’t like something and you want to change it. You might have written to your congressman or signed a petition but those things sometimes take on an air of irrelevance in today’s world. You get the attention of the media by the size of the crowd or the ferocity of its anger. That’s showbiz. 

Go back to the 60’s and it was everything from civil rights to Vietnam. images.jpegThere was the ugliness of Kent State and serenity in the March on Washington. Hippies made “Love not War” and it was hard to discern a true cause from a happening. Blacks achieved a reaffirmation of their rights and peaceniks probably were the final blow against the presidency of Lyndon Johnson. Some worked. Some didn’t.

I am amazed at the strength of commitment on several fronts. I watched a special on PBS about woman suffrage. SuffragePicketing1azThat was forty years of protesting. They stood outside the Whites House throughout an entire winter without much cover. They were not going away and their presence ate at Woodrow Wilson day after day. He finally caved.

The Civil Rights movement stretched well over ten years of careful planning and maneuvering that culminated with the “I have a dream” speech. No matter what your political affiliation MLK, John Lewis and Ralph Abernathy were heroes. To come up against well armed and hateful cops and stand your ground as they beat the crap out of you without even flinching is a testament to courage and determination. 

Unknown-2.jpegGandhi, Mandela, the Arab Spring accomplished more than anyone could imagine. As I look at these it is not a matter of whether I agree or not but the value of a leader who can be profound in the face of a much more well equipped force. They seem to inspire by common sense and eloquence rather than vitriol. Where are the leaders today?

The people of Hong Kong are another great example. These weren’t radicals or trouble makers but rather everyday folk, young and old that could not stand to see their beloved city and what it stood for plowed under by Beijing. Unfortunately they made a tragic error by taking over the university and defiling public buildings. It provided Xi all the cover he needed. 

In today’s world, high tech can get a crowd in a matter of hours. The media loves an uprising and you get air time. But then what do you do? When the Occupy Wall Street was the cause du jour I walked down to the capitol in Denver to see what was up? I was disappointed. I sought out who was in charge. Couldn’t find one. I asked what they were protesting about? No one could define that. I went back home shaking my head that several hundred people could spend three or four weeks in tents with no outcome in mind. I must have missed something. 

The current BLM protests have me scratching my head too. George Floyd’s death was horrific. You would be hard pressed to find any sane person who did not see it as tragic and unwarranted. It made you sit up and take notice. It wasn’t a city or country wide response but a worldwide one. Then it turned ugly. 

There is no way you can condone burning down police stations, turning over cars or shooting people. You have the right to congregate not obliterate.maxresdefault Looters are not protesting but are making a quick hit.  People decry the police tactics but for a moment picture yourself in a squad car in the middle of a mob. You may be in riot gear but your opponents are throwing projectiles, fireworks and Molotov cocktails at you. Are you supposed to smile gently and say, I understand? Please feel free to break windows and set fires to decent people’s businesses. We will just call that collateral damage. 

Have your tactics won me over or turned me off? I want to fix the system not overthrow it. Give me a reason to back you not lock you up. The people say it is the few that cause trouble and not the majority. Hmm. Don’t we make that same argument about good and bad police? The danger is the movement morphs from better treatment of black people into a laundry list of what’s bugging you now. 

An article in the New Yorker a few years back listed the criteria for a successful protest: 

  1. Did it raise awareness?
  2. Did public opinion change?
  3. Were there institutional changes as a result?
  4. Were there electoral consequences, either intended or unintended?

I would add #5.  Did you make more enemies than friends? If you are violent you lose a supporter here. I admire the likes of John Lewis. Politics are important but it is a decent and good man or woman I will vote for every time. Unfortunately today, there aren’t a lot to choose from. C’est la guerre.  

As Always

Ted The Great 



Protests can be a march, sit in, boycott, writings, or song, Your First Amendment rights enable you to congregate as long as you do not block traffic on a sidewalk, street or entrance to a building. 

The bigger the better. George Floyd protests have numbered in excess of 20 million people worldwide. 2017 Women’s March had over 4 million. The Million Man march drew 800,000.  March for Life has been protesting abortion for 46 years and numbers up to 500,000. The MLK March on Washington in 1963  brought 250,000 to the mall in Washington,DC. Over 3,0000 press representatives covered it. 

images-3.jpeg21 trains from all over the country converged on DC for the MLK March. Thousands of busses. President Kennedy was against it and thought it would turn into a riot. Just 4 people in all were arrested. Someone sabotaged the sound system. The Army Signal Corps got it working again. An 82 year old rode his bike from Ohio. Plain golf just wanted to be there. It can be done.

The lady doth protest too much, methinks” is a line from the Hamlet. It is spoken by Queen Gertrude in response to the insincere overacting of a character in the play. The phrase is used in everyday speech to indicate doubt concerning someone’s sincerity. 

Here Comes The Sun…..


I am sitting here looking out at a small lake behind our house. The sun is rising behind a most extraordinary cloud formation. The colors are nature at its best, not a palette man nor woman could truly replicate. An alligator slowly makes his way looking for breakfast. Two sand hill cranes swoop by on a morning gadabout. Seeing this it is beyond comprehension, the chaos that we have become. 

I am getting worn out. Life is a struggle. Not monetarily or physically  but psychologically. My routine is generous but all too familiar. The bubble we live in is at the same time protective but imprisoning. I get cranky. My ship’s clock seems to tick a little louder and my Irish comes out more than not. I get a little nervous because I am not sure if I am just bored or if this is what it is like to be really old ?

I keep trying to find definition. Four months of this seems like an eternity. I can endure most anything if I have an idea when it will end. A hurricane has an eye and a shape and one can check the Weather Channel to watch its progress and see its final roar. A fire no matter how large will burn itself out for lack of fuel. This is not like that. 

This thing about masks reveals a lot about us. They weigh less than an ounce. You can slip them on and off in seconds. A minor inconvenience but one that signals we are all in this together. And yet we fight them. These pieces of paper or cloth somehow are a threat to our freedom. Live free or die! It just might happen.

Some explain this is part of our rebellious spirit. After all, we did not want to put up with the King of England. Who the hell does Fauci think he is? We have the frontier spirit that tamed the wilderness. This should be a piece of cake. We have pool parties for hundreds and family celebrations with dozens in attendance. Unknown.jpegThen we see the repentant sinners on ventilators in ICU’s saying they didn’t think it could happen to them. What are we thinking?

I am torn between seeing this as an opportunity to excel or wallow in our fears and selfishness. I constantly wonder why a country so advanced in biotech can’t find a quick and easy way to test for this virus? Here in Florida we are hiring contact trackers but they are housed in Virginia without any idea of our local distinctions.We don’t get test results for 10-14 days so tracing become problematic at best. We are woefully short of supplies in every step of the contagion. Is this any way to run a railroad?

David Brooks wrote an essay on Weavers last year. The gist was simply that we had to fend for ourselves and become creative on a local level rather than a national one. There are amazing and resourceful people right in front of very eyes. Rather than waiting for funding and ideas from the feds or even state level we have to look to ourselves in our own burghs and counties. This isn’t an “up yours” philosophy but rather dealing with things in practical and expeditious ways. 

With identity politics we are parsing every aspect of society and in the process tearing ourselves to shreds. You are not a Republican but a conservative or middle of the roader. You further can be a Neo, alt right, traditional or maybe even a libertarian. Ditto Democrats, gays, straights, religions and ethnics. Instead of uniting Americans we are doing our best to fracture big ideas and concepts without any chance of agreement. 

Unknown-2This is fodder for media wether it is televised or texted. They play to this side or that. Depending on your persuasion they preach to the choir. They whip you up into a frenzy. You are either singing Hallelujah or tossing things at the TV screen. They got you. You are right and the other side is wrong. Trolls can be viewed on the tube or your Iphone. You laugh but we just don’t realize how much we are all played. Russian interference? It could be anyone and we are easy pickings! 

We have become a nation of personalities not ideas. Politicians, newspeople, titans of industry.  Our heads get bigger with likes from Facebook or followers on Twitter.  Political platforms are at best patch work quilts which are ignored in the long run. Religious and cultural beliefs become a smorgasbord of interpretation. I love free thought but with that said it also scares the hell out of me.  

I read George Friedman of Geopolitical Futures. His newsletters and essays try to look at the world from 30,000 feet without approbation to either side. In his book ,Storm Before the Calm, he sees a series of eras in government. During those periods, the country follows a track such as liberal with FDR or conservative with Reagan. At some point the system just doesn’t work. There is stalemate or even chaos. People lose faith and yearn for a different  approach. Maybe we are at that juncture now. 

Well the sun is in full view now. It is another day. I am going to try to go out of my shell. I will venture beyond the gates of La La land and maybe my mind. I spilled my guts with my frustrations. Maybe it is time to get to work on a better tomorrow. It is out there. I just have to find it. 

As always

Ted The Great 


Americans have responded to the proliferation of media choices by increasing their consumption. The average number of hours a typical American spends taking in some form of media rose from 7.4 hours per day in 1980 to 11.8 in 2008.  The consumption of news has fluctuated in recent years. The average American spends 70 minutes a day taking in the news, according to the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.

Fake news is proliferating. The more incendiary the story the more readership is attracted. Ergo higher revenue from advertisers. Algorithms drive people of like beliefs or biases to certain sites. This applies to both left and right minded people. 

We tend to stress that 10% of our populace has tested positive for COVID. Is there any solace in the fact that 90% of us don’t. 

Confirmation bias is  the tendency people have to embrace information that supports their beliefs and reject information that contradicts them. Presented with an irrefutable premise people will only dig in further. Please don’t confuse me with the facts. images-12.jpeg