Lenoir News-Topic: Moral Monday protests a waste of time

The following editorial appeared in the Lenoir News-Topic:

We have noted before the pointlessness of the Moral Monday protests at the General Assembly in Raleigh, which symbolically launched for 2015 on Wednesday when the legislature convened to begin doing business for the year.

The protests are pointless not because those leading them stridently assert points that can be and are disputed, often just as stridently, by the protesters’ adversaries in the legislature – after all, Martin Luther King Jr. didn’t protest because he expected to change George Wallace’s mind but because he expected to focus the attention of the world on the injustices of segregation.

No, they are pointless, we have argued, because the scope of the so-called injustices being highlighted are both limited, failing to rouse outrage in general public, and easily addressed by democratic means.

In other words, win an election, and then you can do something about the wrongs you perceive.

But after two years of protests, the leadership of the General Assembly survived unscathed in last year’s election. That would indicate that if the protesters ever hope to accomplish their aims, they need to focus a great deal more energy on building their networks among voters, where they can explain in detail why they want a change, than on getting in front of TV cameras, where each protest gets 15 to 30 seconds on the news and changes no minds.

But we were wrong. The protests now have actually accomplished something.

Upon reading about this legislative session’s first protests, we looked up the old saying, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results,” to see who first said it.

Everyone keeps saying Albert Einstein said it, but it turns out the only sure thing is that Einstein never said it, and no one is quite sure who first did say it.

So, after two years of constant protests and complaints, and the start of a third year of it, there’s one concrete accomplishment: We learned to stop attributing that saying to Einstein.

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