In addition to continually spewing about “fake news,” some supporters of our current administration claim that among the town hall rebel rousers there are some paid protesters. They are right. Protesters are paid and in wondrous ways.
Protesters are paid by knowing they are building a sense of community with like-minded folks. No one wants to lose sleep and wring their hands in dismay alone. Whether it’s the Affordable Care Act, LGBTQ rights, environmental concerns, education voucher mandates or any of the numerous “isms” that get under their skin, when they work together for what they believe is a necessary step to ensure a strong America, protesters love being part of a community. To the town halls they will go.
Protesters are paid by knowing they are standing up for their core values, values that honor the common good in America’s diverse citizenry. They can rest a bit better at night knowing that they are trying to protect and live out the core values close to their hearts. To representatives’ offices they will go even if it means just meeting with a staff member.
Protesters are paid by knowing they can look at their children and grandchildren, their neighbors and their colleagues and say, “I’m trying.” They can live each day with a clear conviction to participate in our democratic process, imperfect though it may seem to be at times. Protesters believe strongly in government for the people by the people. To the phones they will go to call local and DC offices and make their voices heard.
Protesters are paid by knowing they are energizing America’s political landscape. The major political parties are changing because protesters persist in having their voices heard. From Tea Party conservatives to democratic socialist “Berners,” they are active and engaged. Their energy and commitment inspire others. To the post offices they will go, mailing thousands of postcards because representatives’ voice mailboxes are filled with other voices, and that’s a good thing despite the cowardice of some elected officials who refuse to meet with their constituents.
Protesters are paid by the thrill of activism. Activism is engagement and being engaged is energizing. It makes one feel useful; it gives an element of added purpose to living. Maybe it’s just four people with signs standing outside Planned Parenthood. Maybe it’s an effort by a book club or church group to send emails in support of or against something the government plans to do. Maybe it’s a few hundred folks–with dogs and babies in tow–walking with signs in hand, shouting slogans, singing, drumming and just chatting with fellow protesters, engaged in the thrill of being part of an active democracy.
Yes, protesters are paid and wondrously so.