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The Introvert’s Guide To Protesting

November 25, 2014
These guys probably wouldn't be needed at an introverts protest. (image via wikimedia)

These guys probably wouldn’t be needed at an introverts protest. (image via wikimedia)

There might be some protesting today or tonight or tomorrow.  I don’t know if that’s true, but that’s what I hear.  I’m not a fan of protests. I mean, I don’t like social injustice, but I don’t like loud people either, and protesters are often loud, so I usually stay away from protests, even if I agree with the protesters.

Protesters might say that I’m part of the problem since I’m not taking action, but I’d say that they’re part of the problem because most of the time their protests make things worse.  Maybe both of us are right and wrong at the same time.

Since I’m a quiet guy, the only protest I’d join would be a silent, moving protest.  I could go along with that.  I could battle social injustice if my surroundings were calm and serene.  I’d even agree to not read a book while I was there.  Protesters might think that I wasn’t taking it seriously if I was reading a book while we were fighting social injustice.  The more I think about it, the more I believe that maybe introverts like me should try the silent, moving protest.

What’s so awesome about a silent protest?

First of all, no slogans.  Stupid slogans are one of the most annoying aspects of protesting, and you can’t have slogans if you’re marching silently.  American slogans are usually pretty stupid.

“What do we want?”

“An end to social injustice!”

“When do we want it?”

“Now!”

Well, that never works.  Every once in a while a protester thinks of a clever slogan (“Hey, George, stay out of my…”), but then it gets repeated so many times that it becomes annoying.  With the silent protest, nobody becomes annoying, unless a bunch of mimes show up determined to ruin everything.

Also, no violence is important.   Anytime that I’m in a large crowd, I’m paranoid that I’m going to get conked on the head.  I’ve been conked on the head before, and it was a horrible experience.  I’ve vowed that I will do anything reasonable to make sure I never get conked on the head again.

It’s tough to get a mob riled up enough to commit violence during a silent protest.  Most violence is loud, and any noise would be noticed during a silent protest.  I would feel pretty safe in a silent protest.  I’m pretty sure I’m not going to get conked on the head at a silent protest, unless I show up as a mime.

No property damage would be pretty nice.  I can park my car near a silent protest and not worry about it getting overturned, broken into, keyed, tire slashed, or defecated on.  There’s nothing worse than spending an afternoon with a bunch of shrill screamers denouncing injustice, and then returning to find my car upside down, on fire, with a big load of steaming defecation on it.

That’s the problem with protesters who vandalize.  They don’t care whose property they destroy.

Constant moving around might also help.  The silent protest is a quiet march through a public place.  I like walking on a nice day.  When people are walking, they have to keep moving and usually won’t cause any trouble.  Most problems at protests occur because people are just standing around, and when people are standing around, they get irritable and tempers flare.

During a silent protest, when you’re marching and the police tell you to move, you can smile pleasantly and whisper, “We’re already moving, officer,” and there’s a sense of good-will.

If people are standing around shouting slogans and the police tell you to move, some troublemaker who just took a dump on the sidewalk will say something derogatory to the cop, and the next thing you know, pepper spray’s flying around and protesters are getting conked on the head (sometimes by other protesters).  Like I said, I hate getting conked on the head.

I prefer no bodily waste at a protest.  When people are marching, there’s no time to urinate or defecate on the streets.  Everybody’s on the move, and anybody who tries to stop to urinate in public is going to get pushed or nudged.  Nobody likes to get pushed or nudged while urinating.

I have never understood how a guy could urinate in public during a protest anyway.  Even if I wanted to urinate in public during a protest, I’d probably get stage fright and stand around too long in that compromising position, and I’d end up getting arrested for public lewdness.

I wouldn’t want to try explaining that one to the judge.  I’m pretty sure if I go to a protest, it needs to be a silent protest.

*****

I respect the protesters in other countries.  Protesters in other countries have more to lose when they protest than Americans do.  If we protest, we might get arrested or pepper sprayed, but that just means we can sue the government and get a cash payout in a few months.  Protesters in other countries risk getting shot or having their families disappear, and I don’t think they have the option of suing their totalitarian governments.   Protesting in other countries can have serious consequences, so I respect almost anybody who’ll do it, as long as they’re not chopping off heads and burning people alive (or anything like that).

The protesters from other countries could even shout stupid slogans (I wouldn’t understand them if they shouted them), and I would still respect them.  That’s how much I respect the protesters from other countries.

*****

What do you think?  Would you attend a silent moving protest (if you agreed with the cause, of course)?  Do you attend loud protests?  Am I part of the problem by not joining loud protests?  Does the modern protest (loud with property damage) ever make things better?

*****

If you need something to read during your silent protest (or during a loud protest or even during an all-out riot), start off with Nice Things.

Now available on the Amazon Kindle!

Now available on the Amazon Kindle!

From → Dysfunctileaks

16 Comments
  1. An interesting post. And yes, I think a large silent crowd could absolutely make a powerful statement. Although alternatively, I can see a large crowd moving passively down the street without slogans being disregarded by the public with at least the same efficiency as the fiery, slogan-bearing kind of protestors.

    Mostly, I feel that a lot of the emotions that generate protestors are not emotions that can often be bottled up into a silent and serene demonstration. Plus, some communities cannot seem to achieve justice no matter what tactics they try. And I’m not one of them. So I can’t really judge.

  2. I’ve been to many protests and marches over the years, it’s a family tradition and sometimes we have three generations show up. We’re mostly quiet introverts. I always have to spend hours alone and silent afterwards. Non-violence is a critical value for me, any protest that turns into a riot is not for me. Riots don’t speak to power and injustice the same way passive resistance does. As far as slogans, well, the pen IS mightier than the sword but only when it is skillfully used.

  3. I feel exactly the same way about protests. Even if I’m passionate about a certain issue, I’m no less passionate in my dislike of crowds.
    Also, I can’t help but wonder if the slogan “What do we want? This problem to be solved! When do we want it? Now!’ is really a manifestation of American traditional demand for instant gratification.

    • I hadn’t thought about the instant gratification. Maybe instead of shouting “Now!” protesters could shout: “Take your time and get it right!!”

      But that would be tough to say in unison. And it probably wouldn’t be effective anyway.

  4. I like your idea of a silent protest. I would join if it was the right cause. It sounds like a peaceful protest that is more sympathetic to outsiders than the ones where you loot or burn your fellow protesters’ property.

  5. Valid points. There are silent protests and different types of protests. There are sit-ins where people camp out and don’t have to say a word. Their numbers speak for them. Of course, a protest with slogans and speakers and whatnot doesn’t have to turn into a riot. There is certainly a difference between a protest and a riot, the problem is the first sometimes becomes the latter when emotions are heated.

    People are very sensitive right now. Shoot, I had an unrelated post on Twitter questioned today because of word choice when my post had nothing to do with the political issue in question today. Anyway, hopefully something positive comes out of it all, regardless of methods.

  6. I don’t like crowds! I am vocal and like to state my opinion. Duh! I am a writer!!! Hmmm, silent protests are out. Where does that leave me???

  7. monami89 permalink

    That’s a witty and interesting post. I concur that a lot of times (read most) the core agenda of the protest gets lost in the shrills and cries and are short lived. The disadvantage of a loud protest is that it exhausts you. So a follow up protest never really materialises. Silent protests have a louder impact but you so need a certain level of civilisation for that. For lessee developed countries, a protest is usually a tool of fight inequality and injustice prevalent due to class differences (one of the factors). In such cases, the victims usually aren’t groomed sufficiently for a silent, civilised protest and neither do exploiters understand such kind of a movement.
    But yes, if a silent protest could work I would readily attend them without feeling awkward or out of place!

  8. Great post. I’ve participated in what I would consider more of a rally than a protest and an observer at a few protests. Even that scared me. Too. Many. People. The problem is the whackos that act crazy (maybe it’s because of all those people!) and then the focus is no longer on the agenda at hand but on the weird or bad behavior instead. The only thing a big public protest is good for is TV news ratings.

  9. Very funny yet recognizable (at least to me) extremely witty as always. Some of the passages made me think of: herd mentality. I don’t know why.

  10. Sadly the event in Ferguson is not a protest, it’s a free-for-all tailor made for vandals to apply thier trade. Of course now that they have burned a city block they will want someone to come in and pay to have it all replaced. I say leave the ashes as they are as a tribute to their folly.

  11. I have to agree with Murielgeorge. Few protests that I can think of offhand have led to productive measures and I’ve found that many people come not for the profound belief in the cause but to participate in a mass group of loud rebellious behavior. While I do believe strongly in certain issues, I think there are other ways to express myself and attempt to make changes than to gather with the masses. I guess it doesn’t work for me.

  12. Lovely! – “Where are you going with all those books, your laptop and Kindle?” I am going down to read and do some whispering at the protest!”

  13. silence can be deafening. i do think in all seriousness you have a brilliant idea. if one could execute it in just the right way, it would make a really powerful statement. great post.

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