the way things go
The blank protest sign is a rhetorical trap. It says: You can’t arrest me for thinking what I’m not saying, so that’s the way I’ll say it. The police know they’re caught in the trap. They have to arrest you, because to allow you to get away with the act you both know you’re committing would set a bad example. But arresting you outrages everyone and foregrounds your cause. It’s a very Russian game of chess. Sooner or later, of course, they’ll catch on to this manipulation of the unspoken & not bother with the arrest. The snatch squad will just drag you out of your home one night then beat you up in a cellar under the Home Office. That’s the direction these things always go. Don’t have a fantasy of 300,000 people spontaneously marching up the Mall in angry ironic silence carrying the Empy Sign, because we’re not doing fantasy any more.