Protesting the Larry Elder Rally
By Marian Shapiro
There were 100-200 masked and quiet people on Anapamu St. in front of the County Administrative Building, at Anacapa Street. The Larry Elder Rally taking place in the Sunken Garden probably had 5 to 10 times as many people.
The NO on Recall protesters were local activists, but I suspected many of the Larry Elder Rally attendees came from out of town, especially the activists who were in several big trucks parked along the curbs in front of the Vote No protestors. The Elder demonstrators were very confrontative, yelling at the masked and silent Vote No sign holders. The Elder activists had bull horns and were screaming that the silent sign holders were communists, that they were against what America stands for, like freedom and children’s health and their children’s right to go to school.
The Elder activists yelled that the Newsom supporters were stupid, believed in a lot of lies, and were thoughtless followers, never checking the truth of what their left-wing leaders told them. Then two Elder supporting women came right up to the masked Vote No protesters and yelled a lot of accusations, clearly frustrated that their yelling questions got no responses.
They yelled, “Why don’t you respond? You have no answers! You are blind, stupid followers who don’t care about your own rights, your freedom, your health. You are so stupid, you can’t answer. How can you possibly support this Governor?" The protestors had been advised not to engage in arguments with the other side and to just stand quietly, however it’s extremely difficult not to respond! Occasionally a Newsom supporter would answer the yelled accusation, for example saying, “We’re not Communists!”
Then a Newsom supporter and leader observed that one of her group was arguing with an aggressive, accusatory Elder supporter. Michal Lynch decided to interrupt the argument and lead the interaction in a less confronting direction.
Michal explained, "I stepped in, and changed the subject, by asking her a question. Then anything she said, I found a way to acknowledge it or stated what part I agreed with, and asked her questions. We had a good time, laughed about how ludicrous all the polarization is, commiserated that both 'sides' are not what we truly want, and compared what we like. It's not hard to find points to agree on, when you’re not yelling.”
Michal was successfully using the skills taught by Dr. Tania Israel in her book, "Beyond your Bubble."
Most people want to tell the other side how wrong they are, but Ms. Lynch showed amazing self control and wisdom in finding things they could agree on. The hostility evaporated and they looked like they were having fun. But know that for most of us, it’s quite hard to do.
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