Monday, March 13, 2017

Week of 03/13/2017

The Folly Of One-Day Protests
This past March 8th was International Women’s Day.  It originally started 108 years ago as a way to celebrate and push for the rights of women.  It was started by the Socialist Party of America, which probably blows the minds of a few folks, first because something with that much traction was started by a group that calls themselves “socialist”, but also because it was yet another actual “third political party” which, of course, “should not exist” according to the eternally damnable socio-political script.
Anyway, this year, the women’s groups decided they were going to put an added “spin” to their celebration.  They wanted women to “boycott” the world for one day.  Women were told to not go to work if they could help it, don’t shop, don’t shop online, and pretty much do nothing just for that one day.  And to show solidarity, they were asked to wear red, even if they had to go to work.
They called it “The Day Without A Woman”, and it was meant to be like the “Day Without Immigrants”, where all immigrants were asked to stay home that one day.
Sadly, though, it turned out to be more hype than protest.
For starters, there really was very little notice about this.  It was sort of dumped on most of the public with maybe a day or two warning.  I’m sure that there were plenty of women that wanted to participate that would be in a quandary of sorts.  It’s one thing to show up on the day after President Trump’s inauguration, on a weekend, and march and protest.  It’s another to just drop everything with a day or two notice in the middle of the week to take part in a “strike”.  I’m sure with a lot more media coverage that this would have had more of a public impact.
Plus, as we learned from the “Day Without Immigrants”, there are consequences to just not showing up at work.  Many places are considered “at-will employment”, which means that the boss can just fire you without any reason.  Several people who simply refused to show up that day were told the next day that their jobs were gone, and there was nothing that they could do about it.
But there’s a larger problem with these kinds of “protests” that make them self-defeating, and it’s something that we’ve seen plenty of times in the past.
Remember the years of gas-gouging?  In the early half of the 2000’s, gas prices seemed to go up and up without any reason other than for greed.  People were pissed about it, but yet they were not pissed off enough to do something serious about it.  They still wanted their overpriced and overhyped gas-chugging urban assault vehicles.  They still wanted to travel and to take vacations.
So their compromise was to have a series of so-called “gas-outs”, where they would take just one day and not visit a gas station to put gas in their cars, and that would supposedly “stick it” to Big Oil.
Except that it didn’t.  Every single one of those one-day “gas-outs” were nothing but big huge stinking failures.  Every single one of them.  They didn’t “stick it” to Big Oil.  They never could “stick it” to them.  And Big Oil didn’t care.  They knew that this kind of protest was inherently doomed to fail.
Let’s start with the obvious: a “one-day strike” is inherently doomed to fail as long as it involves a non-essential service or business.  If a police department or a fire department or ambulance service or a hospital decided to have a one-day strike, then that would be serious, because it’s an essential service.  But not showing up to buy gas for one day?  Big flipping deal!  You’ll just be back the next day.  Don’t show up at a store to go shopping today?  It means nothing if you’re just going to go back there tomorrow. 
Did you know that all stores in America used to be closed by law on Sundays until just a few decades ago?  So the loss of one day of commerce is really nothing in the long run.  It’s just an impromptu holiday.
So telling women to not shop on one day?  Big deal!  Everyone knows that they’ll be back to the stores the next day.
But tell them to suddenly not work for one day?  Well that could translate into them being out for more than just that one day.
And let’s not forget who we’re talking about when you’re carrying on this laughable “protest”.  We’re basically talking about the bigoted conservative and neo-conservative and “traditional Christian” groups, the Cult of Trump, that strongly believe that women should be barefoot, pregnant, silent, submissive, and in the kitchen instead of the workplace.  The ones that believe that we should be living in some dystopian sexist society straight out of Margaret Atwood’s “Handmaid’s Tale” novel.  You’re not hurting them when you pull this kind of stunt, even if it had any meaningful impact... you’re just validating their stereotypes and feeding their bigotries!
Let’s get brutally honest here... if you’re serious about “making a statement”, then you need to do something significant and long-term.  Unless you’re working in an essential service such as police or fire or healthcare, then any one-day “outage” will be dismissed as nothing more than an impotent tantrum from a bunch of whiners.  You need to look at meaningful sacrifices, and you need to be the one that is making those sacrifices.
Remember the old parental disciplinary line of “this will hurt me more than it will you”?  Use that as your guide when it comes to making your “statement”.  When you’re going up against entrenched power, then you need to understand that whatever you have in mind has to hurt you a lot before it can even start to affect them.
And while I’m on the subject, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that there were just too many protests for the “Day Without A Woman” to have any kind of significant meaning to it.  I mean you had the nationwide Trump protests with celebrities and pink hats that really made the statement that needed to be made.  Having another protest similar to that just a month-plus afterward and just because it would fit into International Women’s Day?  That was overkill.
As a practical libertarian, I’m all for the equal rights of women.  Equal pay for equal work should be the default in any society that claims to be “free”.  That is what being a libertarian – and not the “pretend” kind that you see in the media - is really all about.  But simply wanting equal rights and being “pissed off” for not having them yet is not enough. 
Think back to what women had to endure a hundred years ago just to get the right to vote.  Do you really think they would be content with an endless stream of protests designed to “make a statement”?  Of course not!  So why settle now?  It’s time to stop “making a statement” and start making the goal happen.

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