“If a tree falls in a forest and there is no one around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
This past weekend, we had a gathering of sorts, here in Portland. Some rightwing organization from our neighboring suburb across the river, had organized a rally here, in downtown. This group has a history of organizing alt-right rallies in order to provoke an antifascist response from more left leaning activist groups. Think about that. They organize in order to provoke a response. And every time, it seems, its opponents take the bait with eagerness and fervor. I realize some are just in it for a good kerfuffle and some drama, but still, however well intended – it makes me question the intelligence of the counter faction. Just imagine… what if they had their rally, and NOBODY with any dissenting views – AT ALL – showed up. They would likely shout their slogans and wave their posters for a couple of hours and then disband and go back from whence they came. Instead of making headlines in newspapers the world over, their shindig might get a mention in the local rag – if that. Instead, time and time again, with the zealous help of their opposing counterparts, they accomplish their mission, and get the massive amount of attention, exposure, and publicity they crave for their warped world view.
Don’t get me wrong – I am NOT a proponent of looking the other way and letting them be. There is a lot of truth to what Edmund Burke said: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” These people NEED to be acknowledged, resisted, and counteracted. I’m just questioning the validity in meeting them at their level. Invariably, it turns into a shouting match, or worse. What if instead, anyone and everyone who disagrees with their agenda, would put words into action, and volunteer a few hours in an organization of their choice? There are plenty of worthy organizations that aim to help one or more of the fascists’ target groups. Imagine showing up at their doors during the day of the rally, and offer time, skills, and/or resources, while being very vocal and explicit about the specific reason they choose to give – to karmically counteract the intentions of a protest they disagree with? Don’t know about you, but I think that would be so much more effective than the usual turn of events. If we all put our might where it would do good, and this unsolicited, collective outpouring of good would seep into places where it’s needed the most. Meanwhile, in the forest, a tree falls… and nobody is there to hear it. Wouldn’t that be glorious?