Ripping off the band aid: the establishment just exposed themselves on lockdowns
LET'S DECLARE A PANDEMIC RECKONING, part 2
They were wrong to demonise protestors, to ignore them, to brutalise them and even suspend the right to protest.
Protests are one of the major steam valves of democratic dissent. A pluralistic democracy is a melting pot of ideas, beliefs and orientations. Conflict is inevitable and there must be a constant feedback loop between citizens and governments in order to keep the pot at a productive simmer. Shut off the steam valves, and the simmer becomes a rolling boil. Protests get bigger, louder, angrier. Double down on shutting the steam valves, and the whole pot explodes.
In the past week, the outpouring of concern and compassion from Western governments and media for Chinese freedom protestors has brought into stark relief the abusive rhetoric hurled at Western freedom protestors by the very same people.
Only a year ago, Western governments and media allied to paint a picture of anti-lockdown and anti-mandate protestors as stupid, reprehensible, selfish buffoons.
What a difference a year makes.
Consider how it would look if Western media and politicians spoke of Chinese protestors the way they spoke about their own peoples.
The impulse to fight for freedom is fundamentally human. The urge to flatten those who fight for freedom is also human.
So here we are again, fighting for freedom. And here they go again, acknowledging in tacit, ‘over there’ ways that this is moral and admirable and necessary… while judging freedom protestors ‘over here’ as the lowest of humankind. Worse, while Western governments and media laud the Chinese for protesting, they have not so much as acknowledged, let alone apologised for their behaviour towards protestors on our own soils the over this past year.
That behaviour includes:
Using projectile weapons on protestors
Issuing of fines and move on notices at protests
Double standards in policing of protests (eg: BLM vs. mandates)
Media blackouts on anti-lockdown and anti-mandate protests, despite attendance of thousands of concerned citizens
Defaming protestors as “selfish”, “anti-vaxxers,” “terrorists,” and so on.
Refusal to engage with protestors in productive discourse
Protest is the last bastion of democratic dissent. It is an essential form of participation within pluralistic democracies. It should, therefore, be fiercely protected within a free and democratic society.
When citizens are unable to engage their elected representatives - because the representatives are shielded from the public by a buffer of ‘computer says no’ career administrators; or because politicians stopped holding town halls; or because the bureaucracy has become so bloated and encumbered by protocols and red tape that there is no time or resourcing for citizens to actually talk to someone in any productive sense; or because their emails went unanswered; or because the petition they signed amounted to nothing; or because the elected leaders have forgotten that their primary purpose is to serve the people, not their own career interests or their mates’ financial interests - protest sends a loud signal to the elected governing class that a portion of the citizenry wants to be heard.
To suppress protests, to ‘other’ protestors, or to ignore them altogether is fundamentally anti-democratic. We cannot have healthy, pluralistic democracies without allowing protests, managing them fairly and with minimal violence (on both sides), and without the willingness of the ruling class to sincerely engage with the public over the protested issue.
The necessity of protest is not just about the point on which the protestors wish to engage (‘selfish’ or otherwise). If you value being part of a free and democratic society, then protecting and exercising the right to protest is for the greater good. It was wrong of our governments and media to pretend otherwise.
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THE PANDEMIC RECKONING, A SERIES
This post is Part 2 in the PANDEMIC RECKONING series, in which Dystopian Down Under and The Stark Naked Brief review the pandemic policies of the Australian and the UK governments. View the main post here:
The Naked Emperor applies clever framing to the Chinese protest response in the post Coverage of China's Covid protests in the MSM:
In the headlines: what a difference a year makes. The hypocrisy of the Western propraganda system on full display.