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Billboard Chris and the Power of Satyagraha
Making a Difference without the vitriol
Chris Elston, also known as “Billboard Chris” is known for his now iconic sandwich Billboard that he wears that has the saying, “ Children Cannot Consent to Puberty Blockers”. He was an insurance broker and previously rebuked the Religion of Scientology. He describes himself as a dad with two daughters. He protests across North America against Gender Ideology and the sterilization of children by usage of chemicals that inhibit the natural puberty of young people. The premise of his argument and I am adlibing for time is that Children lack the knowledge and foresight to consent to these chemicals and the procedures that often follow them because they don’t understand the long term ramifications of what they’re doing to their bodies. How does he protest? Most often he simply wears his sandwich board and walks around hospitals, clinics, parades and other gatherings and has conversations with people. He is not generally confrontational, although he is assertive that he is permitted to walk in public space and that he has a right to protest. He has directly confronted some medical personnel in public.
He has been doxed by far-left activists, has been arrested for “inciting” despite only being present on public property and was himself assaulted moments before his arrest, he has been assaulted several times, having his property stolen, he had his arm broken with a traffic pylon in Montreal and has had to have police protection at events. He was featured on antihate’s website. He has been accused of being a fascist, transphobic, homophobic and other far-left talking points. The far-left have dug into his history to try to find anything they can to smear him, they have made all sorts of defamatory accusations in order to get him to stop what he is doing. These tactics are not new and they are attempts to socially shame people into not engaging in public discourse.
Mahatma Gandhi claimed to have disliked the term “Passive Resistance” as it implies that active resistance is passive in nature. He coined the term Satyagraha also known as “Truth Force”. This technique differs then Passive Resistance because it requires strength through fearlessness and courage, one must strive to speak the truth, one must also be willing to suffer for their cause and harbor no ill will while doing it. Gandhi was famous for his non-violent protesting. His refusal to engage in violence and allowing his opponents to showcase their brutality, vitriol and hate would spur change in his favor. His opponents could take everything away from him but the message itself. The message would only be amplified through the non-violence. Interesting is that the Gender Ideology movement claims to be a movement of love, acceptance and tolerance but has little for their ideological opponents. Yet, Chris showcases these behaviors better then they do.
Chris whether he knows it or not embodies quite a few of the Satyagraha characteristics. He obeys authority even when it is unjust having been arrested and threatened with arrest for practicing free speech, he has suffered attacks on his reputation as well as attacks on the reputation of his wife, he has had items stolen from him, he has been assaulted, assaulted with weapons and his words and actions have been twisted in ways to try to try to defame him.. Satyagraha requires not to destroy their antagonist. This is a key difference in how Chris conducts his protests compared to other groups left and right. Chris isn’t transphobic or full of hate, he is engaging in discourse without the violence or vitriol because he is passionate about showing people the truth.
When he is out in public Chris has at least one camera on at all times recording and will publish his video online. He sometimes travels with people but it appears that he carefully selects the people he travels with. The people he brings with him have to maintain the same level of decorum that he does. He doesn’t threaten, he doesn’t assault, he doesn’t get baited into committing an illegal act or action that could be used against him either legally or socially. He will talk with people and he is smart about it by not letting detractors get into the weeds with him on the topics. He has studied the statistics and appears to have a good working knowledge about the topics of gender ideology and puberty blockers. If people aren’t engaging in good faith conversation he simply moves on.
The Difference between Chris and his Detractors
I think the key difference between Chris and his detractors is that by being professional, stoic and staying 100% on message he forces them to reveal themselves. His mere presence is enough to have his ideological opponents in an uproar. They can’t help themselves. The groups that he opposes have little to no self control. They are violent and believe that being violent against their opponents is justified because they've labelled all their opponents as fascist and they believe that they are anti-fascist. The core of their ideology is violence, trickery, mockery and shaming for their opponents. Nothing is off the table, however they want confrontation. They want justification for their anger and rage. They’re cowards who hate authority but will use the authority to their advantage when required. They hide their identities behind masks because they don’t have the strength required to stand behind their convictions. Chris doesn’t play their game and simply stays on message. In the videos shown in the Substack article at no point in time did Chris assault anyone, however he was assaulted, verbally threatened, subjected to deafening noises and was even threatened with arrest if he didn’t leave the area if people behaved violently towards him.
The goal isn’t to debate Chris it’s to try to shame/embarrass him by getting him caught in the weeds on a technicality. A good illustration is in the video below. People who want to debate gender ideology want you caught in the weeds.
The Difference between Chris and others fighting this ideology
I’ve been following several groups that have been actively protesting and fighting against the woke Gender Ideology cult in Canada and the United States. Some of them are fighting the good fight similar to Chris. Some of them appear to be as violent and deranged as the Left and I don’t think that this is going to help us win. I believe that if we are going to beat this ideology we have to do and be better then the leftists pushing this ideology. It is going to be far more intimidating if 30 people wearing sandwich boards came dressed nicely to protest and engaged calmly with their points with anyone that will listen. Instead I watch videos in Canada of the clingers from the Freedom convoy, members of shady groups vying for Institutional Power and some individuals looking to be the next culture warrior leader show up and go toe to toe. It isn’t going to work, the left holds the Institutional power and they get to frame the Conversation the way they want, why give them more ammunition? No one is going to have their mind changed by some chain smoking, scraggly, “Fuck Trudeau” flag waving, aggressive asshole. It won’t work, it doesn’t work. Catharsis is powerful but those people need to ask themselves if they’re doing it for the cause or for themselves.
Watch the video below and ask if anyone’s mind was changed. Ask if these people are being good Conservative representations for their children and for their political leanings? If they are church goers are they representing their faith and their community well? I see why they are upset but these people come across as nut jobs and it makes the conversation about them and not the issue that they are fighting.
What Can we Learn From This?
As I wrap up my thoughts on Chris I think that the people opposing the Gender Ideology doctrine have to be better then their opponents. We have to model that good behavior. We have to come equipped with the facts and remain calm, cool and collected. We have to practice non-violence and that may include being assaulted. Let the gender ideologues showcase their unhinged and emotional behavior. They will get arrested, they will get charged and the tolerance for their behavior will fade from the public. What isn’t working and doesn’t work is when we try to meet force with force, when they hold the Institutional power. We can and should do better. If we practice non-violence while also asserting our right to be present and protest eventually I think we’ll make a dent in the discourse. We aren’t looking to change the extremists promoting this but to reach out and get the majority in the middle to engage on the issue. Chris is modeling modern day Satyagraha and he’s changing hearts & minds on these issues.
Billboard Chris can be found at billboardchris.com and he is active on twitter
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