Enough Is Enough
We have seen protests over the last few weeks, both locally and nationally, of a scope and magnitude not seen for years. There is, without question, much to protest.
We have seen police officers killing our fellow citizens apparently for no reason other than the color of their skin. The murder of a black man jogging near Brunswick, Georgia a few months ago and Dylan Roof’s murder of nine people in a church in Charleston, South Carolina a few years ago remind us that violence against black people simply because they are black is not exclusively committed by those who wear badges.
Beyond that, we have seen police and the National Guard use violence against peaceful protesters of all races. That was most starkly exemplified by the violence directed against peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C. in order to clear a path for trump to walk from the White House to a church he does not attend for a photo op.
Protesting Is Our Constitutional Right
Peaceful protest is a constitutional right. Protests have played an important role in our history since before the American Revolution. Events such as the Freedom Marches of the 1960s and Dr. King’s address on the Mall in Washington, D.C. are justly viewed as critical events in U.S. history. Protests serve a useful purpose in focusing attention on issues and in rallying people to a cause.
Protests are not an end in themselves. The end is change. Protests are one mechanism for inducing change. Change requires action by the people who hold power: presidents, governors, members of Congress, state legislators, judges, county commissioners, city and village mayors, city and village council members, and township trustees. These are the people who make our laws and who enforce our laws, directly and through their employees.
As a political party, the Clermont County Democratic Party is a different mechanism for change. Our role is to procure change through the ballot box. Our job is to put people in power who will enact and enforce laws that give substance to the statement that Black Lives Matter. We perform our role by educating and persuading voters. We cannot perform effectively unless we have credibility with voters. Credibility is difficult to attain and easy to lose. At base, our credibility depends upon voters perceiving that Democrats share their values.
CCDP encourages our members to act in accordance with their own conscience. Many of you have and will participate in peaceful protests. We applaud you for doing so.
Performing our role as a political party means that CCDP must exercise caution in openly associating itself with protests. The protest in Bethel on Sunday June 14 illustrates this concern. There was ugliness and some violence. My understanding is that the problems were not caused by people peacefully protesting in support of Black Lives Matter. Rather, the trouble was caused by “bikers for trump” and others from out of town.
Unfortunately, that is not how it is reported in local media. WLWT’s article posted online Sunday evening said that “[t]he Sheriff tells WLWT multiple fights broke out in the area after the protesters became vocal about their opinions.” Fox19 posted that “[a]round 10 ‘minor’ scuffles resulted from an incident between all of the groups…” People who read those reports are likely to assume, wrongly, that the peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters were equally to blame for the violence.
Again, I encourage all of you to do what your conscience tells you is right. Democrats have a long history of standing up for what is right. The Clermont County Democratic Party, as an entity, must always be aware of its role in achieving what is right. While we will never abandon or repudiate our values, the Party must be aware of how affiliating itself with actions or events affects perceptions of the Party and our candidates by association.
We all know that we are the minority Party in Clermont by a significant margin. The question is not whether we assert our values but how and when we can assert the Party’s values most persuasively to the people we must persuade: the voters of Clermont County.