Protest Poetry: Hashtag Censorship

In this digital age
There’s a new kind
Of censorship – 
It always starts
With words – 
The hashtag
A symbol of 
A searchable category
Some hashtags are blocked
Others have a disclaimer
Hashtags are only words – 
And they’re telling us
What words we can
Or cannot use – 
I’m using the banned words

From the poetry collection Cats, Coffee, Catharsis.

Protest Poetry: When Does the Book Burning Start?

Vulnerable
Are we the people
In this democracy
Diversity
Means nothing
To those in power
Entitlement
Is reserved for the elite
Unauthorized for the poor
Transgender
Defies society
And confuses the entitled
Fetus
Is neither live nor dead
Or doesn’t exist
Evidence-based
Has no place in the Union
Or the new world order
Science-based
Would prove the elite wrong
And destroy the fake news
Tyrant
Is a man who denies freedom
To those he claims to govern
Indifferent
Are those who let this happen
When does the book burning start?

From the poetry collection Men Are Garbage.

One Thing to Consider When Attending a Protest

With the way things have escalated in Portland, and with authorities saying they will send these federal troops to other Democratic led cities, everyone needs to prepare for this in their own cities. I wish I didn’t have to say this at all. Whether you support the Second Amendment and have stockpiled weapons or are a pacifist who wants to fight for your freedom, there is one thing you should have if you don’t already. A Gas Mask. This is more important than weapons. It will protect you from Covid-19, but it’s also helpful against tear gas.

Tear gas, also called CS gas, is a chemical compound used as a non-lethal weapon to disarm and demobilize people. It irritates the skin, the eyes, the nose, and throat. Your skin feels like its burning. Your eye water and burn. You cough. All the mucus in your head comes out of your nose. It isn’t pleasant. You’ll survive. After about 15 minutes, you’ll feel better. Your sinuses will feel better too. With a gas mask, the chemical will still irritate your skin, but with a little resolve you can keep moving. You’ll still feel uncomfortable.

You may have seen photos from Portland of people in gas masks wielding hockey sticks to throw back tear gas canisters. Walls of people protecting each other from Federal Agents. This is what government oppression looks like. If you still support the Orange Nazi in the White House, you are against Democracy and Human Decency. You do not care for others and are selfish. There are a few other things that might be helpful when dealing with protests and unwarranted federal agents. These are optional so don’t feel obligated to get any of these things. Always have a gas mask.

Shield of some kind can protect you from rubber bullets. Shields are versatile in that you can protect yourself and use it to bash against something if needed. I recommend something that covers most of your body and can easily be swung around with one arm. Think of Captain America’s shield but longer so you don’t have to squat to cover your whole body. Armor may be necessary. This could be Kevlar or something as simple as the gear a baseball player wears in the position of catcher. Elbow pads and knee pads at a minimum will help if getting knocked down on the pavement.

If it can be arranged, having a water canon at your disposal can help your fellow citizens. Police have used this during riots with success and you may need something to push them back. This could be from a fire hydrant or fire truck. I only mean for this to be used if necessary. And I only mean this to be used against an Authoritarian State ruled by fascists. And the best course of action is a military tactic. Outnumber them three to one. The military always sends more troops than needed to ensure a victory. I know there are more citizens than federal agents. They can’t stop everyone.

I hope what’s happening in Portland stops soon and I hope it doesn’t happen in any other city. But I fear things will get worse before they get better. Stay safe out there. Fight the fascists. Never give up. Never surrender. This is our country and our home. We will take it back.