Method 24: Symbolic Lights

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government. (applause) I want to thank our federal workers and their families … you are fantastic people, you are incredible patriots. Many of you have suffered more than anyone but your families would ever understand…

Again, I thank you. All Americans, I thank you. You are very, very special people. I am so proud that you are citizens of our country. When I say Make America Great Again, it could never be done without you. Great people.” – President Donald J. Trump, February 25, 2019

And with those eloquent words, the 36-day partial shutdown of the federal government is on a 3-week hiatus.

I was about to suggest #shutofftheshutdown –  nonviolent method 24 recommends the symbolic use of lights as statement of resistance. Imagine 11 million people flashing their headlights for the same twenty minutes every day. Or 3.5% of the population gathered outside of the White House every night at 8 pm as a way to say enough?

In 3 weeks, we still may need to do that.

Before I move on to #MuellerFriday, this video gives a very small glimpse of the impact that this standoff has had on the families of the roughly 800,000 federal workers who missed 2 paychecks. I doubt any of them are celebrating tonight – they spent the last month struggling to pay mortgages, credit card bills, and rent. The administration says the checks will be in the mail within the next 3 days.

See my favorite use of symbolic lights in recent history on Instagram.

3.5% Project




“Researchers used to say that no government can survive if just 5% of its population rose up against it, but what the research showed is that no single campaigns failed during the time period after they’d achieved the active sustained participation of just 3.5 percent of the population.” – Erica Chenoweth

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