Protesters show “solidarity”; what the heck does that REALLY mean?

Boise downtown at night

Boise downtown at night (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Idaho's population has increased rapidly in re...

Idaho’s population has increased rapidly in recent decades, but the density remains low. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Protesters in Washington D.C. show “solidarity” with Syrians. Oh really?

What does all this talk about showing “solidarity” mean really?

I can read and I know what the dictionary says. It says:

“sol•i•dar•i•ty (sl-dr-t) n.

A union of interests, purposes, or sympathies among members of a group; fellowship of responsibilities and interests: “A downtrodden class … will never be able to make an effective protest until it achieves solidarity” (H.G. Wells).”

As a rambling and roaming freelance photojournalist, I get to see and photograph protests of all types. From the streets of Boise, Idaho to the Halls of Congress in Washington D.C., I’ve seen just about every protest that there is to see.

Protesters in the streets of Buenos Aires gather and show solidarity; protesters in Ankara show solidarity; but here in America? C’mon.

You can’t really show “solidarity” when you turn on the football game a half hour after you’re done marching (parading maybe?) in the streets.

It seems that in the U.S. “solidarity” has just become a catch phrase for “we’ve-got-an-excuse-to-march-in-the-streets. Nothing more.

I got a message on Facebook this morning about a group in Atlanta that wants to rally 1,000 people to march from Woodruff Park to the CNN Headquarters. They think they’re showing “solidarity” with the people in Palestine?

Oh really?

Will the march bring Israel to the bargaining table? I doubt it. I don’t think that the Knesset will really be brought to their knees in terror because of a very small group of people chant and hold signs.

Hell, I don’t think anyone in the Knesset will even know that Americans are taking a couple hour break from conspicuous consumerism to wave cardboard with cutesy slogans on it.

No, that’s not showing solidarity.

Gandhi showed solidarity when he gave up his lifestyle and joined with the “untouchables” in India. When he put the robes on and began spinning his own cloth, he showed with “solidarity” is. The people in Indian saw that Gandhi was willing to join with them and they returned the love and rallied around him.

What effect would Gandhi have had if he had’ve stayed in London and marched outside Parliament chanting slogans and waving cardboard? None.

By putting his life on the line and being willing to make the ultimate sacrifice he achieved freedom for his country.

I don’t see anyone in Atlanta willing to go to the Gaza Strip to be shot at. Seems like THAT would be a real show of solidarity.

In the meantime, shut up, sit down and stop killing trees to make your cardboard signs from.

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