Have you noticed how demonstrations escalate to violence much more quickly these days? Whatever happened to thoughtful “demonstrations” featuring well-written speeches elucidating alternative positions? This is what “free speech” meant in the early days of the nation. Meaningful political demonstrations were once a thoughtful out-picturing of Principle as defined by what the participants were willing to risk for the Principle itself e.g. MLK’s civil disobedience marches and/or the marches to protect the sanctity and primacy of water at Standing Rock.

But though people want to “express” their support of one viewpoint and/or their indignant hatred of another, is that enough to make it productive or useful? These “emotional expressions” are easily manipulated and shaped by outside forces and unseen players towards specific outcomes, usually violence and the subsequent declaration of the need for greater “police protection and safety”. Some would prefer our nation to be more efficiently controlled by military police force, constant surveillance, and restriction of traffic rather than by the combination of free speech and honest public dialog as imagined by the Constitution. (As if to punctuate my point, Trump just lifted the restriction on the use of surplus military-style gear by local police force, turning David into Goliath.) These days, violence always seems to get a nudge from opportunistic political operatives hovering on the peripheries of demonstrations. We have to be smarter than all that.

Notice how Congress is gridlocked and we have an authoritarian President appealing to people’s desire for stability and safety (e.g. build a big wall and keep out the bad guys)? This is the direction we’re headed in due to corporate infiltration and the monetization of public policy. The government itself has become a private corporation overseen by bought Congressmen. BUT, the big BUT, how do We the People respond to this clear and imminent danger? We can’t fight fire with fire to see who shouts the loudest.

Once the resulting action gets into the hands of Mainstream Media, ANOTHER filter/agenda is layered over to shape how it’s selectively portrayed and edited to tell the story in ways the Media (its backers) see as desirable in terms of influencing public opinion towards specific outcomes. I saw a good example of this recently on the nightly news: a picture of a white girl at a cheerleading camp surrounded by 5–6 black people who were “forcing” her legs to stretch open beyond their capacity as she protested in obvious pain . In the background, there were many white coaches and support staff but the picture honed in on the ONE all-black cast surrounding a (helpless) white girl. Do you think they were unaware of the subliminal message of the “dangers” of whites mixing with blacks? If you think that was accidental, you are perhaps naive as to how we are being manipulated by media to think in certain ways to benefit the long-range agenda of the monied elite that owns the media. My sixth sense was buzzing with alarms, and I felt anger rising at the clever manipulation.

So if you are going to “demonstrate”, make sure that you have run it through your internal monitoring bs meter to make sure that the Principle you feel passionate about is accurately AND responsibly portrayed by your actions AND has a good chance of making it through the gauntlet of ever-present obfuscating “elements” to be depicted accurately. It’s not all about your emotional catharsis or desire for the “comfort food” of warm, fuzzy righteousness to counter the instability you feel around you. Because any holes in your aura or mental/spiritual preparation WILL be taken advantage of by those who keep an eagle eye out on the entire proceedings, and may possibly use YOU to cause unintended harm by manipulating the volatile fluid dynamics of the situation against your intended aims. If you’re going to be a player, make sure you’re not just a moveable pawn or puzzle piece in someone else’s portrayal of reality. You have to out-smart those who would squelch your positive intentions, not just out-shout them.