Protest History Repeats: American Spring 60’s Style

As I write this, I’m watching it play out on live TV, and the same is happening across the country. It’s a marvelous awaking, but following a tried-and true plot:

Peaceful protesters gather at the local capitol building. They refuse to move. The politicians and/or police allow it for a while, but then feel that it makes them look bad. They try to break it up, first trying to bully the crowd through bull horns. It doesn’t work. Next, they make threats. The people refuse to move. Finally, the police move in, make mass arrests, and cart as many people off to jail as they feel comfortable with “processing”.

People see this on TV, and it makes them even more angry. More and more people join the movement. More show up to protest, taking time away from their home, family, business, or job. The government, wanting to stop the movement, cracks down, and there are more arrests, and more live TV coverage, which goes wall-to-wall.

This is history repeating itself. It’s the same formula as the 1960’s anti-Vietnam war protests, and the civil rights protests of that era. The current crop of politicians, ignorant of the role of government, and the role of people in a democracy as they are, have not learned from history, and now they are doomed to repeat it. They’ve foolishly allowed their ego and greed to trap them, and now they will get what they deserve, just like the corrupt and power-mad dictators in the Middle East are.

I wonder what has been going through the minds of these leaders as they’ve watched the Arab Spring unfold, which should have been as clear a warning as they could possibly have received: there was little time for them to repent and reform their bad attitudes and behavior. But now, that brief moment is past, and the cows are coming home, literally.

We are seeing people-power in action. It is an unstoppable force, as surely as a herd of cows or a flock of sheep. Nothing can stop it. Not throngs of police officers in riot gear armed with tear gas and rubber bullets, not helicopters armed with heavy weapons. Not huge prisons the government has secretly built in remote areas to deal with just such an “emergency”. The people, once mobilized, will prevail.

We are still in the early stages of this movement. However, it is easy to predict that the movement will continue to swell. As long as the protests are met with violence and punitive resistance by the government, the protesters will only be emboldened because their point is simply being underscored unwittingly by the government.

The poor, ignorant fools in power don’t see how closely they resemble the pigs in Orwell’s Animal Farm. The outcome for them will likely be just as foreshadowed in that book. If you haven’t read it, and want to get the picture of what’s happening, be sure to read it now. Or, if you’re not a reader, watch the animated film.

It is truly an irony that Martin Luther King has only recently been memorialized so close to the temples and monuments to the founding forefathers in Washington DC. Mr. King, more than Facebook and Twitter, is the true enabler of this global movement. He, and those who stand on his shoulders, made it crystal clear that people power is the most awesome force on this planet, and that no amount of violence and repression can prevail against it.

Now, many years after Mr. King’s assassination, his ideas have fully come to fruition on a global scale. It is impressive to see it unfold. Are we seeing what all the predictions concerning 2012 were about in this? Could it be that the cataclysm of 2012 is about mankind confronting itself?

Meanwhile, back on the television set nearby, the police have been loading protestors onto paddy wagons, processing them, and hauling them off to already crowded jails. It’s a muted form of violence, to be sure. But the unrepentant behavior of the corrupted government reminds me of the (paraphrased) words attributed to Abraham Lincoln, Mark Twain, and P.T. Barnum alike: “You can fool all of the people some of the time, you can fool some of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all of the people all of the time”. The people, collectively, if not individually, are not fooled by government.

See also:

Wikipaedia article about George Orwell’s Animal Farm

Entire 1954 Animated Film (“sanitized version”; overthrow by second revolution)

Entire 1999 Live Action Film (regime collapses on itself)