The past decade has been entrenched in protest.
Occupy Wallstreet. Black Lives Matter. The Women’s March. Dakota Pipeline. NFL National Anthem. A demographic of America has chosen to exercise its First Amendment rights frequently within the last 10 years. Some protests make national news. Others are small and community based. Whatever the case, protesting is a pillar of American society.
Yet, whenever there’s a protest I hear constant complaints. Harm, and in some cases death, is wished upon protesters (“I hope they get ran over” *shakes fist*). People laugh at the cause. Chide fellow American’s frustrations (but you’re such a patriot!). In short, you don’t listen. You certainly don’t try to understand. You don’t care.
I can see disagreeing with the cause. I mean I don’t agree with every message that comes along with a march. In fact, I disagree a whole lot more than one might think. However, I have some friends that complain every single time a protest pops up. That leads me to believe they just abhor protesting and not the ideals behind it. Whether you actually disagree with the cause as opposed to protesting gets lost in the shuffle because, well, you’re always whining about it. This leads me to one question.
Why do you hate protests?
I’m sincerely asking. I truly want to know why you detest the peaceful assembly of citizens. You can’t tell me you don’t hate it because every time there’s a protest you hop on Facebook to express your distaste. You can’t say it’s about rioting and violence because you were irritated by the gathering before it broke off into theatrics. So, what truly bothers you about this portion of the First Amendment?
If you’re asking, “What is it going to accomplish anyway?“, then I’ll let you know.
Women did not obtain the right to vote without protest. African-Americans did not obtain the right to just be people without protest (And we are still fighting for this one). Let’s take it way back. The Boston Tea Party was America’s original protest. This eventually led us to breaking away from Britain and becoming a nation.
Protest is ingrained in America’s identity.
The cool thing to do these days (by Centrists and Conservatives a like) is to categorize protestors as having “victim mentality.” Or, call them “snowflakes.” Let’s take a look at a list of snowflakes.
Elizabeth Cady Stanton
Susan B. Anthony
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Hector P. Garcia
Philip Vera Cruz
Shall I go on?
All of these people stood up to establishments that were mired in oppression. They were infamous for their day, but their contributions to society cannot go unnoticed (unless we don’t actually teach them because U.S. History. I digress). Some of their efforts affect how we interact with others to this day. However, some choose to ignore the struggle and focus on the results. They romanticize Martin Luther King, Jr. while complaining about how they don’t like protesters marching in the street. That slice of irony is utterly delicious. What’s worse is those who continually do this aren’t even aware of it.
Whatever the case, this portion of the First Amendment is not going anywhere. Rather than dismiss a protest, listen to see what they are talking about. Step into someone else’s shoes. Broaden your perspective.
It might do you some good.