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Black Lives Matter Protesters Shoot Selves in Foot by Ruining Bernie Sanders Event

Updated on August 8, 2015

Protesters Shut Down Bernie Sanders Event in Seattle

Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle, Washington.
Black Lives Matter protesters shut down a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle, Washington. | Source

Disrespectful Attack on Bernie Sanders Event Will Backfire

Once again, Black Lives Matter protesters have disrupted a Bernie Sanders political event. Two women stormed the stage and demanded the microphone, insisting that they be allowed to speak before the Democratic presidential candidate addressed the audience. Cowed by the brazen protesters, event managers ended up handing over the mic...but the audience was none too pleased. The protesters demanded four and half minutes of silence in memory of Michael Brown, the young black man who was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri one year ago.

When the protesters beckoned for Sanders to share the microphone, he bravely refused. The first time Sanders was interrupted by Black Lives Matter protesters, at the Netroots Nation conference in Phoenix, he attempted to reason with them and continue his speech. Sanders stuck with his focus of economic reform and calmly reiterated that he had supported civil rights for the past fifty years, including marching with Martin Luther King, Jr. As a result, he was criticized by "Black Twitter" and mocked with the hashtag #BernieSoBlack.

The incident revealed a divide between white progressives and nonwhite liberals, with nonwhites complaining that Sanders and his supporters were ignoring racism and prejudice to focus solely on the economy. White progressives fired back, accusing the protesters and their supporters of hypocrisy and shortsightedness.

In the aftermath, Bernie Sanders has indeed tried to focus more on racism and racial issues. Despite enjoying growing popularity, Sanders has struggled to attract nonwhite supporters. Some attribute this to his constituency, Vermont, being 95 percent white. Democratic frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who is considerably more popular among nonwhite liberals, has not been targeted by Black Lives Matter protesters like have both Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley.

This time, the Black Lives Matter protesters went too far. They disrespected a wholesome political candidate and his audience of supporters, devolved the level of political discourse, and reinforced negative stereotypes about protesters. And, by attacking Bernie Sanders, whose rallies and events are free and open to the public, they are discouraging politicians from being so generous and inviting.

First, the disrespect is bad news. At a time when Black Lives Matter protesters should be attempting to gain public support, the women's brazen rudeness is off-putting. They were aggressive, ignored a compromise solution, and ruined the event for thousands. And for what? To protest against Bernie Sanders? To protest his policy proposals? No. They are just trying to get attention. Sanders and his policy proposals have been long applauded for having the ability to tremendously help nonwhite workers.

Bernie Sanders is the presidential candidate who has been the strongest supporter of civil rights. It is tremendous irony that he, the most devout civil rights supporter, has been targeted twice by Black Lives Matter protesters while his primary opponent, Hillary Clinton, has not been similarly challenged. Frankly, it almost seems like the protesters are paid pawns of the Clinton campaign!

Or, it could simply be that Clinton avoids holding the free and open rallies which Sanders enjoys. By keeping the general public at bay, Clinton also avoids being confronted by protesters. I hope the rudeness he faced in Seattle does not dissuade Sanders from being an open, supportive champion of the common man. I hope he continues to keep his events free and open. He handled this latest challenge with grace and poise, and I applaud him.

By storming the stage and yelling, the protesters have not only hurt Bernie Sanders, but all political discourse. They want to play the game where those who howl, gibber, and shriek the loudest make the rules. Ironically, this itself is a form of oppression: The loud and aggressive oppress the calm and polite. Instead of debate and discourse, the protesters want to sway through intimidation. They expect to be able to bully their way into getting what they want. By refusing to cave to their whims, Bernie Sanders showed courage and leadership.

Finally, the protesters have harmed their own cause through their rude, brash actions. They have reinforced stereotypes that protesters are aggressive, bullying attention-seekers who are more interested in shock and intimidation than causing real change. They have reinforced stereotypes that protesters are more interested in argument than in discourse. They shout, but do not listen in turn.

And by targeting Sanders for a second time, instead of challenging a Republican candidate or Hillary Clinton, the protesters seem opportunistic rather than righteous. They seek Sanders because he is popular and, by disrupting one of his events, they can garner lots of media attention. The protesters are taking advantage of Bernie Sanders merely to get press. If they sought real change, wouldn't they try to gain concessions from the candidate who allegedly is most likely to end up in the White House?

Since Hillary Clinton is the frontrunner, shouldn't she be the focus of Black Lives Matter protesters? Isn't she the candidate who can most likely make good on any promises made to them? Perhaps the protesters can't afford the $2,700 a plate to get close to her, though...

Summarily, the protesters have done little to advance their cause. Rather, they revealed heaping helpings of hypocrisy and tested the public's patience. And, controversially, they championed Michael Brown, whose death has been determined by both local and federal authorities to not have been a homicide. Instead, officer Darren Wilson has been found to have acted justifiably, in self-defense. Had the protesters wished to accomplish something meaningful, they would have agreed to speak eloquently and passionately after Sanders spoke. They would have caught more flies with honey. Instead, they spewed vinegar.

Bernie Sanders did the right thing by refusing to cave to the protesters' demands. He demonstrated calmness, restraint, courage, and true leadership.


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    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      fpherj48 : so alley cats rats don't matter?

    • tsadjatko profile image

      2 years ago from now on

      The only alley cat RAT I know says "What difference at this point does it make?"

    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      2 years ago from Ohio, USA

      fpherj48 : Alley Cat Rats matter.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      As long as "Crazy" has become so popular, I think we should all jump on board. What the HELL.

      No more speeches by 2016 Presidential candidates. None. The campaign's over. Just pick a name from a jar and vote. Get that crap out of the way.

      From now on ..we simply have monthly PUBLIC rallies. Every group, color & ideology gets their turn at the Mic! 15 minutes of uninterrupted raving, ranting and all the Bullshit one can spew!

      Orientals: Yellow Lives Matter

      Native Americans: Red Lives Matter

      Hispanics: Brown Lives Matter

      Blacks: Black Lives Matter

      Whites: White Lives Matter

      Dwarfs: Little People Matter

      Disabled: Disabled People Matter

      Elderly: Old Folks Matter

      Poverty: Poor Lives Matter

      You name it...Get in LINE....wait your turn and take the Mic. Don't belong to a specific group?? Create one! Determine your demands and speak up. Shout it from the stage. Get your message out there. Get in the faces of everyone else and stare them down.....point your fingers at them. Blame them for what they've DONE TO YOU! Prove to all that your woes & failures and slights are the fault of everyone else but YOU!

      YEAH! Let's do it......and just keep on doing it until absolutely nothing matters to anyone for any reason anywhere. That should make it all worthwhile. You can have the mic back now.

    • tsadjatko profile image

      2 years ago from now on

      The roots of Black Lives Matter unveiled


    • nicomp profile image

      nicomp really 

      3 years ago from Ohio, USA

      "Blacks owe nothing to Bernie Sanders, much less their loyalty and support."

      They had a meeting?

    • profile image

      Big E 

      3 years ago

      I think they should have all the white policemen go undercover as black policemen so we do not have to deal with all this termoil anymore. I wish the white police would and could go undercover as black.

    • profile image

      Crystal McCrory 

      3 years ago

      I have written a similar article here on hub pages. Yours is very well written, and you make great points. I love how you pointed out the danger in letting those who are loudest get their way. I do think Bernie Sanders should stand up for the growing number of Americans that believe "all lives matter."

    • Zeph1 profile image

      Ron Noble 

      3 years ago

      I think the whole thing is hilarious that the over-confident white, liberal left is getting a reality check.

      George Soros has a lot of his money invested in BLM, for Hillary Clinton, and he doesn't want anyone hurting her chances to get into the WH. His involvement is no secret, regarding his newer angle of influencing events, since at least the beginnings of Ferguson last year.

      Blacks owe nothing to Bernie Sanders, much less their loyalty and support.


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