My newspaper office is just a few feet away from Monument Square in the heart of downtown Troy NY. News often comes to us in such a convenient location, and it arrived around 1 p.m. this afternoon in the form of a few hundred college students and sympathizers who converged there, even though Monument Square isn't really the most pedestrian-friendly space, to protest the President's temporary ban on people from seven reputed terror-fostering countries entering the United States. Here are a few snippets of the event, which went on for nearly an hour.
First, some typical chanting:
Now here's a revival of the human-amplifier tactics of the old Occupy movement. Forgive the wasted footage of the last few moments; I thought I had already stopped recording.
Finally, here's some familiar sounding rhetoric from one of the protest leaders:
It reminds me a lot of the body metaphors used by the anonymous author of the New York Vigilance broadside from November. I doubt whether this speaker is the author of the Vigilance; it's more likely that the hate-as-cancer metaphor is common among this cohort of people.
I'm afraid that these protesters don't realize (or don't care) how much they're alienating other people who aren't Trump fans but don't view the travel ban with the same hysteria as demonstrators. That the ban is limited in scope and time matters little if you see it as the first step on a slippery slope. I get that it violates many people's ideals of individual liberty and innocence until guilt is proven. I just wonder whether massive resistance now will actually make it more likely that we slide further down the slope later. It will be easy for the President to claim the moral high ground here by asking whom
protesters really care about, or whom they should care about. Unfortunately for the protesters, "humanity" isn't the answer many people want to hear right now.
Here are a few more still images from today. They show that the protest seems to have caught local traffic, not to mention the local police, somewhat unawares, even though it was organized and announced in advance via Facebook. For non-Trojans, Monument Square is named for the city's Soldiers and Sailors Monument, where the protesters have converged.