The Do’s and Don’ts of Protesting

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In today’s society, protesting has become hugely prominent. We’ve seen it a lot on the liberal side of things, with the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the opposition to the Dakota Access Pipeline (#NoDAPL), and following the election of Trump/Pence.

In turn, conservatives have now decided to take a whack at it. They’ve started such groundbreaking movements as #BoycottHamilton, #TrumpCup, and most recently, #AnywhereButTarget. Oh, boy, am I gonna have fun with this one. Let’s break these down, one by one, for those of us not in the know.

#BoycottHamilton:

This past Friday evening, vice president-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of the smash Broadway hit, Hamilton (which just happens to be about the revolutionary war and the founding of these United States.  Basically, it’s very political). Naturally, his arrival was met with booing from several audience members, which I’ll admit is a little rude, but at the same time this is the guy that thinks people like me can have the gay electrocuted out of them, so, sorry-not-sorry Mikey.

At the end of the performance, as Pence was leaving, the cast stopped him to make a statement, basically asking him to not be a shitty human in the coming four years. The video of this can be found here.

Long story short, Trump freaked out (on Twitter, like a real upstanding President should), and in turn, so did his minions. They are now vowing to boycott Hamilton. More on this in a bit.

#TrumpCup:

A video of a man was released where he blames his drink taking too long on prejudice against him. He assumed that because he voted for Trump, the barista was refusing to serve him. In the video you can see him demand his money back, call the barista “trash”, fight with her and the staff for about a minute, and then exit. Real adult stuff.

Two days later, this was posted in response:

And now, Trump supporters are going into Starbucks, telling their baristas that their name is Trump, which is in turn forcing them to have to shout “Trump” when the drink is ready.

I know, I know. I’m just as excited to tear this apart as you are. I promise it’s coming.

#AnywhereButTarget:

This is the most recent protest. I heard of it for the first time today, when the website was shared on my news feed (by friends opposing, not supporting it). With the holiday season coming up, conservatives are saying to shop anywhere but Target because of their “liberal assault on common sense and decency”.

In recent years, Target has come out as a strong advocate for the LBTQ+ community, first removing gendered adjectives in the toy section, and most recently saying that they support transgender customers and employees to use the bathroom of their choice.

Back when Target announced all of this, spokesperson Katie Boylan said, “At the end of the day, Target is all about inclusion. We want everyone to feel comfortable in our stores.”

Let’s break all this down.

These conservatives think that they are making some powerful statements, but here’s where they went wrong.

People are pissed at the cast of Hamilton for “harassing” Mike Pence (a plea for basic decency and kindness is not harassment), and a lot of people have been saying that the theatre is not a place for politics (again, Hamilton is literally about politics), or going so far as to say that these actors aren’t there to make political statements/voice their opinions.

Here’s the thing: the theatre has always been political. One of my good friends Devin made a post about politics and theatre that you can find here, and I also had something to say about some negative comments on the Hamilton Facebook page here.

Hamilton is in such high demand that a boycott is not going to hurt its ticket sales. This is the musical that recouped the $12.5 million it cost to mount months ago.

What’s hilarious about the whole thing is that the 9-time Tony Award winning musical has also been sold out for months on Broadway. When tickets are available, they are typically upwards of $500, and yes, that is for a single ticket (told you, they’re doing fine). From the official Hamilton website:

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-6-23-21-pm

So, for those of you boycotting Hamilton, that’s great, but you can’t really start doing that until next August. And for those who already have tickets, not showing up does not change anything. You bought the tickets, they don’t do refunds, and your seat will just be given to someone else. Next.

As wildly innovative as Operation #TrumpCup is, the fact is: you’re still giving money to the company. The biggest inconvenience of the whole movement is that the employees are having to write and say “Trump” out loud. One question: why just his last name? Trump doesn’t even sound like a name by itself… but I guess that’s besides the point I’m trying to make.

Do I think Trump is a fucking idiot? Sure. Does it bother me to say his name out loud? Nah, dude. Life goes on. And honestly, all the Starbucks I’ve been to lately don’t even ask for names any more. They usually just shout out the drink you ordered, and that’s that.

Personally, I’m a bigger fan of Operation Anti #TrumpCup:

And finally, #AnywhereButTarget.

Alright, I’ll give them this one. This is actually stopping business to the company. But from what it seems, Target doesn’t really want your business anyway if you’re a hateful, close-minded bigot.

I’m also pleased to report that as I scroll through the hashtag on Twitter, I’m mostly seeing positive things. Here are some of those.

I really love the last one, and totally encourage anyone reading this to do just that.

Target is love. Target is life. Thank you, Target.

So, to close, I have one piece of advice for Trump supporters and conservatives participating in these protests: try harder. Take a glance over at the big kids table and look at what we’re protesting for: ending the murder of innocent black Americans, stopping the construction of a pipeline that infringes on the Standing Rock Sioux tribe’s land and water, and to just exist as human beings without our rights being taken away.

You are waging war on a Broadway musical, a coffee company, and a department store.

Grow up.

 

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