Protesters could learn from Chisolm’s example


Douglas Smith - Guest columnist



Most undocumented aliens in our country are decent, moral folks, happy enough to work hard, avoid unnecessary attention, and earn a better life than they might otherwise have experienced. The disgraceful DACA protesters of Robert Lee’s Oct. 27 description, targeting Nancy Pelosi on Sept. 18, were doing them no favors.

Those protesters were as uninvited guests invading a would-be friend’s home, trashing the living room, strewing garbage on the lawn, then expecting kid-glove treatment. They became the bullies, choosing a perceived easy target. I doubt they are bold enough to try that at a Trump rally — even without the formal security.

Most Americans are sympathetic to the “Dreamers’” basic cause. As foreign-born children, brought here through no fault of their own by undocumented adults, they deserve fair-minded consideration under the laws of a compassionate nation. Former Speaker Pelosi’s Sept. 18 experience, though, suggests some among the protesters are in need of remedial lessons in civics and skills in identifying their friends.

Evoked, as well, is the experience of candidate Bernie Sanders at a rally on Aug. 8, 2015. Two young black female protesters seized the stage of a political rally to make points that seem lost among the rudeness. They may otherwise have had useful things to say, but that more resembled an attack on a frail old grandpa. I can’t recall such an attempt on Donald Trump. Did they show up at the polls to vote for the only viable alternative to what he was offering?

At age 16, I recall respectable “protest” and real political courage when Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm joined the 1972 presidential campaign. While a joke to many, her “Chisholm Trail” candidacy jolted us to see a brown, female face presented as a presidential candidate. It set the stages, later, for Jesse Jackson and successful Barack Obama candidacies.

Hindsight may have haunted nominee George McGovern to consider his missed bold opportunity. En route to burial in President Nixon’s landslide, what could he lose in offering Rep. Chisholm the vice presidential slot? Instead of fumbling the choice, he could have earned history’s lasting paean.

Her slogan of “unbought and unbossed” seemed apt. Shirley Chisholm fought long odds within Congress and the political system — never stealing another’s stage — to make a difference. Current protesters, you could take a lesson.

Douglas Smith is a Rockingham resident and frequent letter-to-the-editor writer.

Douglas Smith

Guest columnist

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