Much as I lean to the left, I have to admit that lefties often make really stupid choices when choosing how to stage their protests. Too often these protests happen out of some vague sense of anger and outrage, with very little attention to the message they’re conveying. ie: Bad branding. Case in point: Burning American flags during Gulf War I did nothing except piss people off. Burning dollar bills, now that would have been more on point.
Similarly, Critical Mass riders clog the streets of San Francisco on Friday afternoons, aggravating people who just want to get home to their families. It would make much more sense to hold the protest on Monday mornings. That way, they’d be stopping people from getting to work. Many people would sympathize with them, and they’d also have an economic impact, not just a symbolic one. As it is, I hate Critical Mass. And I’m an avid bike rider (and I don’t even live in San Francisco)!
One of the biggest bonehead moves by the left happened in 1994 during the protests against Proposition 187, which denied many services to illegal immigrants. Millions of people massed in the streets of LA, San Francisco, and Sacramento, to show their opposition to the bill. Many of them were waving Mexican flags. In one photo opp, the Prop 187 supporters had won the battle. Their pro-immigrant opponents had made the case for them, making immigration look like a Mexican invasion rather than a struggle for civil rights. 59% of the voters went for Prop 187, many of them no doubt terrified by the thought of an army of flag-waving Mexicans overrunning the state.
So it was good to see American flags in the recent rallies supporting immigration rights. In fact, Cardinal Roger Mahoney even told protesters to put away non-US flags. It shows that somebody has been paying attention.