I attended the Black Lives Matter “rally”/demonstration in Saint Paul yesterday.
Or the end of it, anyway; the protesters blocked the Green Line and all traffic on University at Lexigton starting at 9:30 AM, and I got there around 11:30 – in plenty of time for the die-in, a bunch of speeches, and all sorts of chanting.
The bad news? I brought my camera; I also apperently dripped some coffee on the lens, which coagulated in place, leaving me with really bad photos:
My photos aren’t clear. I get it.
But they were about as clear as the rationale for the protest.
The stated reason for the protest was to mess with people using the Green Line to get to the Vikings home opener.
But – and let’s leave aside for a moment that Metro Transit routed buses around the stoppage during the entire course of the protest, and had additional buses standing by to carry passengers past the protest – there’s the little matter that…
…no more than a dozen Vikings fans actually park east of Lexington and take the train to downtown Minneapolis.
Speaking of numbers, I counted the following when I was there:
- Perhaps 75 protesters, including speakers.
- Of them, 15-18 were African-American. 50-60 were white.
- There were 14 police squad cars – one state patrol, one Transit cop, the rest Saint Paul. They blocked University and Lexington a block away on all sides of the protest.
- There were also four mounted cops and six cops on bike.
The police didn’t outnumber the protesters – but the protesters outnumbered the cops by maybe two or three to one.
So why “protest the NFL” in a place where the NFL and the Vikings will be the absolute last people to notice it? Why didn’t they hold the protest on the Washington Avenue bridge, blocking the many, many people who take the train up from the Mall of America area from getting to the game, and actually getting the NFL’s attention?
Because – this is my theory, here – the Saint Paul wing of BLM isn’t about protesting power structures. It’s about 2016, and trying to keep African-Americans fired up to vote in a year where the Democrat party’s entire slate is geriatric white people.