With all the snow and cold lately I’ve spent more time indoors and that’s always dangerous. There are two TV’s in the house.

So I have been watching way too much 24/7 news programs each chronicling some group that’s demonstrating somewhere about something.

Try Being More Creative

The news clips show people marching for whatever with the same chant. “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, (whatever it is we don’t like), has got to go!!”

You might as well use, “Roses are Red…”

Even the signs are professionally made and printed. That to me is a dead giveaway that the marchers are probably told, “Hey, wanna be on TV? — Carry this sign.”

“Can you do a simple rhyme?” “Repeat after me, “Hey, Hey…”

If You’re Going To Demonstrate You Have To Be Serious

In the sixties there was the “Students For A Democratic Society.” They soon shortened it to SDS. This group is the inspiration for the demonstrations currently going on at college campuses over 40 years later.

Started in San Francisco by two guys who sold out later. Anti-warTom Hayden became a California US Senator and ex-husband of Jane Fonda.

Jerry Ruben was an organizer of the Chicago 1968 Democratic Election Demonstration where 1,500 people and police were injured.

In later life he became a successful businessman and entrepreneur. Making big money in the very system he demonstrated against.

Ruben and seven others were tried and were know as the “Chicago Eight.” In addition to Ruben, Abbie Hoffman, David Dellinger, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, John Froines, and Lee Weiner. While there were many trials, appeals and reversals none of them did any time or were fined.

Bobby Seal was tried separately bringing the “Chicago Eight” to seven. He was given 16 contempt of court charges amounting to four years in prison.

In 1966 Seal co-founded the Black Panthers that morphed into the “Black Panther Party” whose motto was inspired by slain activist Malcom X, “Freedom by any means necessary.”

Some Final Thoughts

There are simply too many activist groups to list them all here. I would hate to leave anyone out.

The point is that today’s groups are mostly out for a single agenda while those demonstrating in the 60s were looking for more broadly sweeping changes in freedoms and smaller government.

The collective “we” are extremely lucky to live in a society where protesting is not only a right, but also a responsibility of every citizen.

I’m not talking about riots in the streets like we saw in Ferguson, Missouri or blocking shoppers on Fifth Avenue.

But writing letters to the editor, calling in on radio shows, contacting your congressman or woman and your senators.

There are many ways to get your voice heard without infringing on the rights of others to go about their daily business.

Two days from now no one will remember that you blocked a highway, or marched down Fifth Avenue. There are no cameras in Ferguson today.

But there will be many more marches and many more causes and many more groups. Maybe someone will print programs so we can tell the protesters from the media.

Maybe I’ll start my own group. “Hey, Hey, Ho Ho..” Yeah, that works.

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