Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Is it Time for Law Professors to Walk out to Protest Trump

I've always had mixed feelings about the student demonstrations of the 1960s. The cause was a good one but I felt there was also way too much fun involved. Plus, it seemed to be an activity one could participate in only if you could afford it. Too many of my fellow impassioned demonstrations were also planning their family funded back packing trips to Europe. In short, there was definitely a bit of self-indulgence. And, of course, my personal interest in class-based justice was dropped as soon as the war wound down.

My one bit of something akin to civil disobedience since those days was refusing to teach on the day the state of Florida executed someone. I did this once and the only official reaction was my Dean telling me I should make up the day. So, I ended up inconveniencing a class of students and the execution took place and it was all bit foolish.

Over on Facebook on other places people alarmed about Trump (I personally have never felt stronger hatred for a politician except maybe Mitch McConnell)  make a comparison to nazi Germany looking for a way to head off this country's downward spiral. The question that arises is what can anyone do. I have a couple of suggestions. One is to stop legitimizing members of the Trump cult by being anything but civil to them. Do not buy anything from a Trump supporter. Is your doctor a Trump supporter? Get a new one. Is your grocery store manager a Trumps supporter? Go to a different grocery store. Economic boycotts can work if people will make the collective sacrifice.

Here is a touchier suggestion. I think everyone agrees that the vast majority of law professors are liberal leaning. I've always regarded them as limousine liberals because other than talking a good game I see little action. So, liberal law professors, do you want to do something that will show you care? Walk Out. Yes, I propose a day in which every Trump detractor cancel class for the day. Call in sick if necessary. Call it a strike if you like. That may be the most effective teaching you could do and it may give some support to the few souls who are actually willing to put something on the line to get rid of this monster.

Of course this will not happen because, when it comes to really questioning authority, we are a profession well-versed in free-riding.


Dimitri said...

Do economic boycotts ever really work? Even if they normally do, I think all that would do in this case is invigorate the Trump base--they love playing the victim.

Same with your second proposal. A bunch of liberal law professors protesting does nothing more than give something for Trump to tweet about and for his supporters to mock.

Jeffrey Harrison said...

You could be right but what is the harm in invigorating the Trump base. The are already at fanatical levels. On the other hand, their extreme behavior and his may push some who are on the fence to see the viciousness of Trump and his cult.

As for the walk out, it will never happen. Law professors are keyboard liberals but ultimately very careful. In isolation it would make little difference but it might be a catalyst for students and university professors generally to finally take some action. Law professors have nothing to lose. If they cannot resist, who can?

ProudUFLawGrad1996 said...

You miss it here and I am surprised. You of all people should understand that Trump was elected due to the incompetent management of our national affairs by elites that you have many times portrayed accurately as out of touch and often incompetent. I am a UF law alum. Have read your blog for years but maybe you should try to litigate in front of juries. Real people. People you have to persuade. I am not a Trump supporter but am amazed at the reaction he creates in a certain social class. Do they see their failure as the cause of his election? The people who hold this country together through following the rules and working everyday are beginning to think normal rules don’t apply to our elites and our elites are not held accountable for their many failures. Come to think of it I have even read such things here
Look in the mirror. Relax. There will be another election. And keep up the good work here