I have been amazed at the online and grassroots explosion that the National Day of Protest has spawned. It started with one small blog then took on a life of its own, with hundreds of cities around the country now holding joint protests at their City Hall on Saturday, November 15th.
It makes this young(ish) activist's heart soar to see people, especially young people and student groups, taking the initiative and staging massive protests. Facebook groups are popping up everywhere, blogs and listserves are buzzing, and our community is mobilizing.
But what has surprised me is the number of grumblers I have heard- whether it be state and national groups or individuals. Many are mad that they weren't consulted or indignant that these protest weren't cleared with them. My answer to them?
Deal with it.
Yes, it would have been great for all of these people to be so fired up before the election. Yes, it would have been nice to have them involved in politics before now. But you know what- they want in now. You can't have it both ways- complaining that more people weren't involved, then being angry when more people are.
We have so many battles to fight as we move forward that I don't care how they got active or what motivated them. I'm just glad they are here now.
So hop on board or get left behind. Throw your hat into the ring, help harness the energy, and stop complaining. We need to support and nurture these new voices. Our movement has room for everyone- the political, that radical, the young, and the old.
Marriage Equality not your "main issue"? Get involved in the rallies and make your issue heard. In Florida, we are extending beyond Florida's Amendment 2 (which goes beyond marriage and might strip away domestic partnerships) at the protests to include trans rights, LGBT bullying in schools, minority inclusion and outreach, and many other things that mean something to us in Florida. That's the great thing about protests- they can include everyone and everything. It is a collection of voices speaking out.
I for one am proud of these groups popping up and will do all I can to help them. Sometimes things need to get a little out of control, take on a life of their own, and spill into the streets. If nothing else, this should show the established groups that there are areas (like online organizing) that can be tapped into.
So it may make you uncomfortable or hurt your pride or make you mad, but don't get in the way of people that want action. Help them, guide them, and be the leaders that these new activist are seeking.