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The Commons
Voices / Letters from readers

Protestors who tie up traffic risk alienating their audience

Originally published in The Commons issue #404 (Wednesday, April 19, 2017).

This is a note about the demonstration last Saturday to demand that the U.S. president disclose his tax returns.

I happened by at that time getting a couple things at the Brattleboro Food Co-op. A friend from western Mass. was in the group, and it was nice to catch up with her after.

But when I went into the Co-op, I encountered another friend, a worker there, who was a bit upset. She had been trying to get to work from Hinsdale and was held back by the throng of people blocking traffic as they wandered across the street to get to the park.

Why do the people who lead and take part in these demonstrations believe that they are entitled to further tie up traffic at Malfunction Junction?

I encountered the same situation when I walked with people who were protesting in solidarity with the Lakota people against submerging the Dakota Access Pipeline under the Missouri River just upstream from the Native Americans’ homeland reservation.

When I tried to stop people at the corner to wait for the light and let the honking, angry drivers go about their business, I was asked who put me in charge.

But I am wondering how people who want to proclaim an injustice and ask to be heard expect to be accepted and respected while they are screwing up the day for part of their audience.

It seems to me that anarchic entitled acting out is not likely to be an effective way to ask society to think about its trespasses on other people.

Chris Andres


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