President Trump has called on his supporters to protest his scheduled arrest next week by Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg on spurious charges stemming from Stormy Daniels’ alleged secret money arrangement in 2016. Several so- saying influencers are warning fans to stay home to avoid being entrapped by the feds in another Jan. 6 riot.
Supporters greet President Trump in Palm Beach, Florida on January 20, 2021, file image.
As one of the most experienced conservative street activists who has been active in our nation’s capital for over a decade, I want to offer my advice on whether to get out and protest (yes) and how to do it. .
First, a little background. I was active in the DC chapter of FreeRepublic.com from 1998 through the early 2010s, but mostly until late 2007 when I left the area and returned several times a year. I have organized hundreds of street protests and counter-protests against President Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and other corrupt Democratic politicians. I’ve organized an annual protest against liberal media bias outside the White House Correspondents’ Dinner for about fifteen years. Through Free Republic, Move America Forward, and the Gathering of Eagles, we have held several rallies and counter-rallies to support our troops in the war on terrorism in the years since 9/11. On a few occasions, we have acted as human shields against the violent left and radical Islamists, protecting the White House, the Danish Embassy, armed forces recruiting stations, and even the Washington Post. I also helped organize FReeper’s inaugural ball in 2005 which was attended by nearly 1,000 guests.
We have dealt with DC Police, Capitol Police, Park Police, Secret Service, various other Federal Law Enforcement Agencies, and the Military during protests at the White House, Capitol, Washington Monument, at the Lincoln Memorial, the National Mall, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, the former Walter Reed Army Hospital, the Vice President’s Residence, aka “Cheney’s House”, and many places in and around DC
We faced Communists, Anarchists, Black Bloc (pre-Antifa), Code Pink, ANSWER, Radical Islamists, Democrats, RINOs, Rogue Media and Westboro Baptist Church extremists.
We did all of this by being peaceful and behaving in a civilized manner at all times. We had a code of conduct that served us well.
In short, it said, “No violence, no racism, no swearing, no provocations, obey the law and treat all law enforcement officers with respect.”
We also had other rules:
No physical contact with opponents and try to stay away from them. No retaliation if they attack you – back off, walk away, find a cop. Only defend yourself if you are in danger. We wanted our protests to remain peaceful and remembered the old rule in basketball that the referee only sees the second punch, not the first.
Almost all self-defense weapons were banned in DC, so we didn’t have to worry about people coming to our protests armed. My preference is to wear without opening and discreet concealed wear if you must.
And no masks. We have never hidden behind a mask. The KKK and Antifa wear masks. Not conservatives – unless we’re in costume making fun of Hillary, Saddam or whiny reporters for example.
The flags we allowed were the American flag, state flags, military service branch flags, the Gadsden and Culpeper flags, and the flags of our allies in the war on terror (these days we would add Trump’s non-profane flags.) Our people knew better than to show up with a Confederate battle flag, so we never had to tell them to leave if someone showed up with one. We did not burn flags or damage property.
Our panels were smart, funny, sharp and quite serious, depending on the occasion. We did not use profanity (except for a rare vulgarity). We monitored our signs and banned those that were out of post or in violation of our rules. We’ve been told repeatedly that we have the best protest signs in DC
We monitored our members. No one who was racist, violent or encouraged violence and crime or broke our rules was allowed in our group or at our events. We’ve warned hotheads to stay away from potentially controversial protests, just as we’ve warned against bringing kids to some of the more edgy protests.
Our experience in DC was similar to the pro-life protesters who marched every year for decades, the Tea Party activists who followed us, and Trump rallies from 2015 to 2020. No arrests, no unprovoked violence from us (extremely rare at that) and we left the place cleaner than how we found it.
All this of course changed on January 6, 2021.
I was in DC for the December 12, 2020 pro-Trump rallies at Freedom Plaza and the National Mall. It was a beautiful day filled with beautiful people who peacefully gathered and then marched on the Capitol and the Supreme Court.
Later that evening, the Proud Boys and Antifa fought in the streets. I stayed away, but drove for a while that night to see for myself from a distance.
My Spidey-sense told me to stay home on January 6, so I did.
But with Trump supporters now acknowledging that provocateurs and federal agents will attempt to infiltrate protests, my recommendation would be to go ahead and demonstrate, but watch your rallies closely. Better to avoid them all.
I would also tell people who show up in camo or khaki like these guys to get lost.
Tell the hotheads and people who don’t want to follow the rules and those you just don’t want that they are free to protest elsewhere, but not with your group. Be firm. This is your protest.
You can still have fun and make your voice heard by doing it like this. I know. I’ve done it successfully in the belly of the beast for over a decade without being arrested or beaten.
Rights must be exercised or they will be withdrawn. Democrats are using the powers of government to suppress conservatives. A peaceful and passionate protest is essential if we are to reclaim our constitutional form of government from those who abused their powers and overthrew the government from within.
There are other means of protest and activism than street demonstrations. Use them too, but don’t give up “the right of the people to assemble peacefully and call on the government to redress their grievances.”