People Love Protesting Now

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This just in: protesting!

The Washington Post conducted a big poll and found that at least 20 percent of Americans have joined some form of protest since the beginning of 2016. (That’s about 65 million people by my rough count.) And most—though not all—are doing it because...well, you know.


From the Post:

One in five Americans have protested in the streets or participated in political rallies since the beginning of 2016. Of those, 19 percent said they had never before joined a march or a political gathering.

Overwhelmingly, recently motivated activists are critical of Trump. Thirty percent approve of the president, and 70 percent disapprove, according to the poll. And many said they plan to be more involved politically this year, with about one-third saying they intend to volunteer or work for a 2018 congressional campaign.

About 20% of the protesters are Republicans, which, I don’t want them at any protest I’m going to but I hope they’re having a good time, I guess.

The Post, naturally, frames this surge of protest in electoral terms, saying that it shows a “a new activism that could affect November elections.” This is true, but it somewhat misses the point. It’s good that more people are protesting because protest is good in and of itself. It lets you express yourself, it lets you know you’re not alone, it gives you a sense of hope and solidarity, it gets the adrenaline flowing—it’s good! (My parents, who used to have to urge me to join in the chants at an endless succession of protests in my youth, will be stunned to read this, I’m sure.) If there were way more angry people in the streets all the time, people in power would be more afraid, and that’s what we want, right?

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