I was just about prepared to write a post reacting, article-by-article, to today’s Providence Journal — my intended point being that the newspaper doesn’t appear to be but so interested in expanding its reader base. But then (providentially) the eddy created by a coincidence of opposites turned my bow toward more peaceful waters.
First the rapids. Although the Providence Journal’s first post-election Sunday edition does have some down-the-middle reportage, its overall presentation clearly leans toward sympathy with those raging in the streets and behaving as national Democrats, progressives, and the news media have been riling them up to behave: as if an inexperienced president who enters office with strong opposition and strong suspicions within his own party is going to somehow stroll right into dictatorship.
We can safely assume that those on the left whose actions are purposeful (probably including the journalists and professional activists) are simply preparing the ground to excuse their intended obstructionism, having spent six years declaring obstructionism to be an unpatriotic attack on the nation because it was Obama’s move toward dictatorship that it was obstructing. They’re also trying to seize the moment and energize shock troops whom they can deploy to disrupt cities and intimidate their opposition over the coming four years.
One short article stands as just-about-explicit proof that this is the case. One of Providence’s progressive Democrats in the Rhode Island House, Aaron Regunberg, and the mayor of that city, Jorge Elorza, took part in a protest/meeting:
An estimated 1,000 people gathered at Hope High School on the city’s East Side Saturday night to plan a “resistance” to President-elect Donald Trump’s agenda.
A great many others, on the left, are just getting swept up in the emotions of the moment, which the journalists and activists are purposefully stirring up. My example, here, is more ambiguous, because I’m not sure whether University of Connecticut journalism professor and former Providence Journal reporter Mike Stanton is just reacting emotionally or has a political purpose when he backs #NotMyPresident protests and inflates the meanness from the Trumpian right while ignoring it (along with actual violence) from the #NotMyPresident resistance.
But as I skimmed through the professor’s Twitter stream, Newworldson’s song, “Sweet Grace,” came on my mp3 player:
Now the world was big and wide
And it ran from wrong to right
Trouble wasn’t ever far away
But every heart and soul
She took in her embrace
That’s why people sing ’bout little Grace
The song was a helpful reminder. Whether he’s being an deliberate agitator or just a lefty curmudgeon, I’m not going to persuade Stanton (certainly not on Twitter), and by getting into little spats with him, I’d only work him up more or give him material with which to attempt to work up those he’s hoping to mobilize (if that’s what he’s trying to do).
Those of us who are simultaneously the resistance in Rhode Island and, now (for the moment), aligned with an erratic egomaniac president-elect can only hope to bring change through contrast. We’ll have to make our case, of course, and note when the insiders and their shock troops are crossing the line, but we’ll have to do so with an overriding temper of graciousness. As the lyric from another excellent Newworldson song puts it:
When a heart is cold as ice
You can’t melt it with advice
No one wants to listen to
A list of things they shouldn’t do
So I build a city on a hill
And I light a candle on the sill
Knowing You’ll be always knocking at the door
Oh God I just want to love on everyone
All I have is Yours to give so let the people come