As if Mondays aren’t bad enough already, our friends in Washington, D.C. may have yet another headache to contend with this morning. If you work in or around the District and have to commute to work, you may find some of the highways and surface streets shut down. The climate change protesters who have been up in arms around the world all weekend are still in town. Their stated plan (along with the name of the group organizing this fiasco) is “Shut Down D.C.” And that’s what they hope to do. (WaPo)
A broad coalition of climate activists called “Shut Down D.C.” plans to block streets throughout the nation’s capital during the Monday morning commute to draw attention to climate change.
The protest is timed to coincide with the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York, at which climate activists and leaders, including 16-year-old Greta Thunberg, are slated to speak. It follows a strike across six continents Friday and a youth conference at the United Nations on Saturday.
The traffic shutdown is meant to send a particular message to D.C.’s powerful political elite, according to Liz Butler, an organizer for Shut Down D.C. and vice president of organizing and strategic allegiances for Friends of the Earth.
There’s already a picture circulating of some kid carrying a sign in the middle of the street that reads, “Sorry for the inconvenience. We are trying to save the world.” Do I really need to point out yet again what a monumentally bad strategy this is?
Yes, we’ve been through this before. It plays out the same way whether we’re talking about Black Lives Matter, gun confiscation enthusiasts or any of the other so-called “social justice” groups. And now we have the climate alarmists doing it.
The whole idea of holding a protest, march, etc. is to get your message out, draw attention from members of the public who might not be aware of the issue and hopefully win over more support. Short of drowning people’s kittens and puppies in front of them, I can’t think of many other worse ways to win over hearts and minds than to strand someone in their car in a totally unnecessary traffic jam while advertising the cause you are supporting. Commuting around D.C. (as well as most other major cities) is already a nightmare. It only takes one distracted jerk or unfortunate accident to bring the Beltway grinding to a halt.
People seriously dread this. (One of the main reasons I am extremely grateful to be among those who work from home.) An accidental traffic jam is bad enough. But when commuters see your sign and realize you did this intentionally, the only emotion you will instill in them is hatred. Specifically, hatred of you. Even someone who might have been sympathetic toward the cause of combatting climate change is going to come away from this remembering you and your cause with a seething fury.
March on the side of the roads. Hang banners on the overpasses. Get a permit and gather in the park to get your message out. But “shutting down” the District during a Monday rush hour will produce precisely the opposite of the desired effect. Stop being stupid.