Political convention prepares for protests

Saturday, April 16, 2016

By most accounts, the Republican Convention in Cleveland this summer will play out on the national and international stage unlike any convention in political history.

But the action may well take place outside of the convention site as protesters from far and wide have promised to converge on Cleveland in a mass protest of historic proportions.

Civil protests are part of the fabric of this great nation. An array of causes and issues has resulted in public protests through the years with the Vietnam protests in the modern era perhaps the most noteworthy.

Those old enough to remember the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968 or the anti-war protests at Kent State University in 1970 recognize how quickly these events can get out of control.

But we're a world away from Chicago 1968. And the promise is that this year, a variety of groups will be vying for television time as the GOP convention unfolds.

Black Lives Matter, Feel the Bern and the usual anarchists are planning massive protests which could well turn into full scale riots if not addressed early and forcefully.

But let me be clear - the passion of the protests today compared to the '60s is the difference between daylight and darkness.

Professional protesters who converged on Ferguson, Mo., and Philadelphia and Baltimore, etc. will be in full force. There is a world of evidence that many of these "protesters" are actually paid to disrupt events and create havoc.

Why then, I ask, are not those who fund these protests not held accountable? The cost to the communities and to society as a whole is enormous. And someone is providing the money to sow the seeds of dissent within our country.

Let's get down to the basics. Who is paying for the professional signs carried by the protesters? Who is funding the transportation and housing for the protesters?

It would seem to me that those forces are guilty of inciting a riot and should be held accountable for their actions.

In Pittsburgh this week, outside of a Donald Trump event, protesters injured four law enforcement officers and created a massive disruption. The end result was three petty arrests, thousands of dollars in damages and yet another stain on the image of America.

The eyes of the world will surely fall on Cleveland this summer. And it may not end well by any definition.

And for what?

Rest assured, these protests will not sway one person to vote differently. Nor will the protests bring anything of substance to the national debate underway.

If the goal of the protesters is to widen the gap between Americans and to bring the national dialogue down to the most basic level, then I suspect they will succeed.

But someday, I hope and pray, there will be a day of reckoning and the anti-Americans who are funding this upheaval will be brought to justice.

Until then, pray for Cleveland and pray for America.

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