The latest act of the "Moral Monday" political theater in Raleigh led to about 100 arrests. While always difficult to determine, it seems like about 2,000 showed up to protest.
I have been critical of these weekly Democratic Party gatherings for a variety of reasons - none of which is that people should be prohibited from protesting. (The latest crowd estimate is now 3,000 from yesterday.)
So, to be clear - if people want to protest, they are free to do so. I am not arguing against their right to peacefully assemble and petition their government.
(This just in: the latest crowd estimate is now 8,000 from yesterday.)
My criticisms are about the political messaging and media coverage of these events.
The plan was known but let's act surprised by the plan!
The protests (or "Days of Action") are explicitly called for in the Blueprint NC memo - authored by Democratic and progressive activists well before a single piece of GOP legislation was passed. In other words, they don't like the GOP and they really don't need more of a reason than that to protest. Further, the omission of this key piece of information from every single media report helps paint a false narrative.
(This just in: the latest crowd estimate is now 26,000 from yesterday.)
These protests seem really important and totally unique!
The protests are receiving glowing coverage from a compliant, if not complicit, media. Celebratory narratives offered up in defense of these protests were no where to be found during the rise of the Tea Party movement in 2009. Indeed, when it wasn't outright mocking and ridicule, the media focus on the Tea Partiers was whether participants were really racist or really, really racist. When this narrative was not used, the focus was where Tea Partiers got their evil funding. No similar lense has been turned on the Moral Mondayers.
(This just in: the latest crowd estimate is now 135,000 from yesterday.)
These Bible-thumpers aren't as offensive as those other Bible-thumpers!
The double standard enjoyed by the Left is best seen in the treatment of the relgious folks. Clergy members are receiving support from media and progressives as these collared leaders quote Bible scriptures and use their religion to argue how the GOP is mean and evil. But evangelicals and pro-life demonstrators do not enjoy a similar advantage. Indeed, for Righty protesters, discussing God, Jesus, or religion at a political demonstration will get you dismissed as a Bible-thumping, racist, sexist neanderthal. Hands will be wrung and cries will be wailed about the separation of church and state. Being a progressive has advantages. One of these is the ability to use your religion in political debates.
(This just in: the latest crowd estimate is now 387,000 from yesterday.)
What the protests are really about
As Lady Liberty writes at her blog today (and quotes the Daily Haymaker blog), the real story is what's NOT getting reported vis a vis the Moral Monday protests.
It's a sign of how much trouble the Democratic Party and the progressive movement are in:
Once again, I assert this is not about any of the touchstone Liberal causes the Reverend is using to whip up a frenzy in the useful pawns that have decided to follow him into arrest. This is about the loss of control. The sheer volume Barber is yelling his slew of shaming labels attests to the panic in the Left in North Carolina. This state has voted not to become New York or California and they are in free fall. Via Daily Haymaker:
Rob “Mr. Politics” Christensen says North Carolina politics has gone from “polarized to paranoid.” The guy who was the first — and I think ONLY – member of the news media to ever be physically removed from a NCGOP convention, says we are overreacting to what he and his comrades have been doing: [...]Which brings me to the conservative fantasy – being flogged by Pope, Gov. Pat McCrory and other Republicans: that there is a vast Democratic conspiracy to take them down. Never have the Democrats had less clout in North Carolina. They have lost control of all three branches. The state Democratic Party is in disarray. The party’s sources of money have dried up. No new leaders have stepped forward. It’s best response so far has been getting arrested – a tactic traditionally reserved by the powerless in societies. And how did this vast Democratic conspiracy develop you might ask? Faced with what they knew would be an unstopped onslaught of Republican-backed legislation , liberal groups held a strategy session in December on how they might slow it down. A three-page memo was prepared by Jessica Laurenz, North Carolina director of America Votes, a liberal group that works with a coalition of other liberal groups. The memo says the Democrats didn’t have a prayer to pass anything they wanted, but their best shot was in “mitigating” the damage done by Republicans by crippling GOP leaders McCrory, House Speaker Thom Tillis and Senate Leader Phil Berger. The memo lays out numerous ideas, including videotaping GOP leaders’ speeches, hiring private detectives and in other ways attempting to “eviscerate the leadership and weaken their ability to govern.”
Videotaping, private detectives, evisceration… sounds pretty ‘extremist’ to me.
(This just in: the latest crowd estimate is now 2 million from yesterday.)