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January 30, 2017

Yes, you can be employed and go to protests: an explainer

Aubrey Lewis Huff III made a lot of money playing a kid’s game.

Over the course of a Major League Baseball career that spanned nearly 1,700 games, he failed to get on base more than 65 percent of the time, committed 96 errors in the field and won the World Series in 0.0012 percent of those contests.

These days, he’s taken to questioning why his fellow Americans find it necessary to head out onto the streets and protest. Turns out he’s not much better at that.

On Sunday night, Aubrey took to Twitter to share these views. To wit (all is sic):

“I mean seriously what the hell is going on? If you have time 2 march, protest and riot. Maybe it's time for something called a job!”

Ah yes, the old “get a job, hippies” depth of critical thought has returned full force! 

Instead of taking the time to understand why, exactly, people have taken to the streets of America – also in full force – to protest a litany of moves made by our new president and his team of enablers, he’s doubling down.

By doubling down, I mean he’s responded to critics by boasting of his “big house” and his “hot wife.” He’s done this a few times. Check it out!

I have a hot wife, too. That’s something I choose to leave out of political debates, though. It’s irrelevant for the sake of these discussions.

This being America, though, you’re allowed to do so, so I won’t begrudge Aubrey his defense strategy.

But this being America – a nation founded amid an onslaught of protests against the powers that be – I’ll never understand why people ranging from pauper to cashing-in-on-children’s-games will resort to that ole chestnut that people who work cannot also be people who protest.

Setting aside the irony that many critics also claim to a) have jobs and b) support our new president because he vowed to bring their jobs back stateside – suspension of logical belief necessary to make that one work – it may be the flat-out laziest criticism known to man or woman.

Because of the nature of my job, I’ve covered a few recent protests in Philadelphia. In the course of that coverage – and having worked in Philly for 17 years now – I saw a lot of faces I recognized. And, guess what: The vast majority had jobs!

I think this is probably because the protests took place during what’s traditionally known in the working world as “lunch hour.”

Or after 4 or 5 p.m. – traditionally “when the workday ends.”

Or, as was the case with protests at Philadelphia International Airport, on the “weekends” when many people are off from work.

Understanding fully that Aubrey didn’t work traditional hours when he was employed, I decided to seek input from people who attended protests, but not to cover them like I did.

It took the form of a Twitter poll that offered the option of expanding on one’s response to the Yes/No question presented.

Over the course of an hour-and-a-half, 157 people responded, and 94 percent of them concurred that it IS possible to participate in a protest despite having a job. Nine or 10 people disagreed. They were probably trolls.

Here is a quick sampling of their explanations:

So, I gotta ask Aubrey: What the hell is going on? If you have time 2 rant about people who march, protest and riot, maybe it’s time for something called research or intellect. If you'd spent even a minute thinking about the timing, you'd have realized these things to be true.

Unless, of course, you’re casting logic aside and taking a play from the Schilling handbook to bolster your name recognition amid a niche audience. That would be especially important if you’re shilling a new bookwouldn’t it?