Is it time to man the barricades?


Trump tweets to ‘LIBERATE’ states where people are protesting virus restrictions.

The above is the headline from a New York Times article published online five minutes ago.

Here is the article in it’s entirety:

Mr. Trump on Friday began openly fomenting far-right protests of social distancing restrictions in states where groups of his conservative supporters have been violating stay-at-home orders, less than a day after announcing guidelines for how governors could decide on an orderly reopening of their communities.

In a series of all-caps tweets, Mr. Trump declared “LIBERATE MICHIGAN!” and “LIBERATE MINNESOTA!” — two states whose Democratic governors have imposed social distancing restrictions that have shut down businesses and schools and forced people to remain at home. He also tweeted “LIBERATE VIRGINIA, and save your great 2nd Amendment. It is under siege!”

Mr. Trump’s tweets were a remarkable example of a president egging on demonstrators. Earlier this week, more than 1,000 protesters organized by conservative groups created a traffic jam on the streets around the State Capitol in Lansing, to complain that the restrictions were bad for small businesses. Other protesters, not in vehicles, waved banners in support of Mr. Trump and protested Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who has been a target of Mr. Trump’s ire, by chanting, “Lock her up.”

In St. Paul, Minnesota, a group calling itself “Liberate Minnesota” has scheduled a protest in violation of stay-at-home orders in front of the home of Gov. Tim Walz and claims that 500 people are likely to show up. The group’s Facebook page says that “now is the time to demand Governor Walz and our state legislators end this lock down!”

Mr. Trump’s tweets began just moments after a Fox News report by Mike Tobin, a reporter for the network, about protests in Minnesota and elsewhere. The report featured a protester from Virginia saying “those of us who are healthy and want to get out of our house and do business, we need to get this going again. It’s time.”

The message of support for those efforts from Mr. Trump is radically different from the one he delivered from the White House on Thursday evening. During a briefing for reporters, the president unveiled guidelines that governors could use to decide when it was safe to phase out restrictions to minimize the chance of a resurgence of the dangerous pathogen.

“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Mr. Trump said Thursday after telling governors earlier in the day that “you’re going to call your own shots.”

When he was asked about the protesters during Thursday’s briefing, the president expressed sympathy for the plight of people who are affected by the restrictions, saying that “it’s been a tough process for people. You know, I told you this: There’s death and there’s problems in staying at home too. It’s not just, ‘Isn’t it wonderful to stay at home?’ They’re having — they’re suffering.”

But he ducked the question of whether he would urge the protesters to listen to local authorities, adding that “I think they’re listening. I think they listen to me. They seem to be protesters that like me and respect this opinion. And my opinion is the same as just about all of the governors.”

The president’s decision to embrace the protests may be good politics for him. While large majorities of the country — including Republicans — are concerned about the dangers of reopening the country too quickly, that may not be the case for his most fervent supporters. Among very conservative voters, sixty-five percent said they were more worried about reopening too slowly, according to a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday.

I’m not sure how to respond to this.

Donald Trump, the President of the United States, egging on demonstrators who are protesting the valid orders of their governors!

The same Donald Trump who less than a day ago advised governors to “call your own shots” on reopening. Right, call your own shots and if I disagree, I’ll foment rebellions in your states!

Pick the word to describe this: Outrageous! Shocking! Dispicable! Disgraceful! Seditious! Unpatriotic!…But, truth be told: Unsurprising!

The other day I read a wonderful story in The New Yorker, “Love Letter,” by George Saunders. It is a letter from a grandfather to his grandson lamenting the state of affairs in a time never specified. At one point, the grandfather writes,

Well, we did that. We called, we wrote letters. Would you have given money to certain people running for office? We did that as well. Would you have marched? For some reason, there were suddenly no marches. Organized a march? Then and now, I did not and do not know how to arrange a march.

Sorry, grandpa. We are now officially, unequivocally, at the time where marches are not enough. WE ARE AT THE TIME TO MAN THE BARRICADES!

I’ve borrowed this from “Les Miserables” before. I’ll borrow it again.

Do you hear the people sing?
Singing a song of angry men?
It is the music of a people
Who will not be slaves again

When the beating of your heart
Echoes the beating of the drums
There is a life about to start
When tomorrow comes

Will you join in our crusade?
Who will be strong and stand with me?
Beyond the barricade
Is there a world you long to see?
Then join in the fight
That will give you the right to be free

It’s time to “join in our crusade.” Where do we sign up?

Published by Ted Block

Ted Block is a veteran “Mad Man,” having spent 45+ years in the advertising industry. During his career, he was media director of several advertising agencies, including Benton & Bowles in New York and Foote, Cone and Belding in San Francisco; account management director on clients as varied as Clorox, Levi’s and the California Raisin Advisory Board (yes, Ted was responsible for the California Dancing Raisins campaign); and regional director for Asia based in Tokyo for Foote, Cone where he was also the founding president of FCB’s Japanese operations. Ted holds a Bachelor’s degree in communications from Queens College and, before starting in advertising, served on active duty as an officer on USS McCloy (DE-1038) in the U.S. Navy. Besides writing Around the Block, Ted is also a guest columnist for the Palm Beach Post.

7 thoughts on “Is it time to man the barricades?

  1. Simply put…..disgraceful behavior, irresponsible…dangerous! It is not beyond a reasonable conclusion that at his urging, a civil war among citizens could occur……..
    Beyond belief that such behavior by a President of the United States could be occurring…..I guess frightening is the last word that could be used to describe what is occurring!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Beyond belief, indeed. How much more can we take before we break. And, wait for the Coronavirus Press Rally tonight when he goes after Cuomo who, for all intents and purposes, called Trump an idiot (not literally, but as close as he could come!


    1. Needless to say, many of us are, like you, feeling desperate.

      One reader, through Facebook asked, simply: Suggestions?

      Here’s what I wrote back:

      On manning the barricades? I don’t know. In my last Around the Block post I quoted from the wonderful “New Yorker” story,

      “Well, we did that. We called, we wrote letters. Would you have given money to certain people running for office? We did that as well. Would you have marched? For some reason, there were suddenly no marches. Organized a march? Then and now, I did not and do not know how to arrange a march.”

      I don’t know how to arrange a march either. Nor, doing something bolder. But I hope some of my readers, friends and colleagues will start forwarding ideas…so we can all “join in our crusade.”


  2. Yes, it is time to man and woman the barricades.
    Future generations will not believe that their grandparents actually chose to elect such an evil, outrageous person.
    Words fail me(almost).


    1. It is, indeed, a sad time. My latest rage, which I posted in this space, is a letter to my Congresswoman asking for some kind of Congressional action after the Senate whiffed. I’ve been advocating the 25th amendment for a while now. Guess Pence just won’t listen. Hope all is well with you and the family. Stay healthy. Stay safe.


  3. Are you… fed up with the Powers That Be encroaching on your freedom?

    Have you… tried everything — voting, peaceful protest, letter writing, petitions–and found that it just didn’t work?

    Are you… beginning to think violent rebellion might be the ultimate, dreaded answer?

    Stop! Wait! There are a lot more things you can do!

    America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.” — Claire Wolfe, 101 Things to Do’Til the Revolution

    Every normal man must be tempted, at times, to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag, and begin slitting throats.
    H.L. Mencken, Prejudices: First Series
    Tags: diplomacy, love, outrage


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