Freedom of speech and the freedom to assemble and protest peaceably are two of our key freedoms as Americans. Not only can we speak freely about how we feel, but we can also effect change through these freedoms. However, for far too long the media has recorded protests that show disturbing footage of what appears to be Martial Law against these freedoms. The police are fighting the protestors. The protestors are fighting the police, and counter-protestors are also in the mix. In the minds of the government and police officials, they oftentimes see the protestors as criminals that are disturbing the peace and preventing progress. Which, when looking from their perspective, seems to make sense.
However, what if the protestors are unarmed and still being confronted with violent repercussions? Having said that, are all peaceful protests truly peaceful just because the protesters are unarmed? If an unarmed “peaceful” protester doesn’t respect law and order, then how can a government enforce without violence? On the other hand, should 2 million people bite the bullet for a government decision that benefits 200 million? To some that doesn’t seem fair. To some Americans, it proves the government believes the opinions of some people can be valued more than others. Makes sense to me, although I don’t totally agree. If you side with the government, then you probably call it justice. If you happen to side with the protestors, then you see those actions by the government as unjustifiable violence. Chances are sometimes you side with the police and sometimes you side with the protestors. Just depends on your perspective and beliefs.
Do you believe the government should always have the right to disregard a minority's public opinion for a majority approved or agreed agenda based off opinions? Most would say yes until they fall victim to being part of the minority opinion. I’m not sure if anyone still remembers from their history books the “No Taxation Without Representation” protests of the Revolutionary War. Protesting also happened to be critical for the civil rights movement. Some may say the majority in the South during the 60's may not have sided with the protestors arguing for their civil rights. So, certainly the majority would have been wrong, or at least I think so.
Do you believe a group that wants to assemble and protest for something you think is morally wrong (e.g. white supremacists) should be allowed to do so? Or should they be stopped because of the hateful content in their protest? Do you see the challenge this country is faced with? If you don’t have protestors, then you may not have the change you need. However, if you have too many protestors and dissidents or hateful protestors, then you can have anarchy. If you have hate mongering protestors do you take their right away by stopping them? So many questions, but the real question is “Where do we go from here?”
Certainly, we must maintain our freedom of speech and right to assemble. No matter what, every American has the right to stand for whatever personal beliefs they might have. Whether they be hateful protests or not, everyone has the right to protest peacefully. I might not agree with the hateful protests, but I am smart enough to understand most people didn’t grow up in the same culturally friendly environment as I did. Although I might think the hateful perspectives are wrong, it doesn’t take away the fact that people who are sheltered from other cultures find it easy to draw hateful lines.
Protesting has helped develop the social foundation we have today. While it may not be where we want it to be, it is absolutely better than it was. Many might even say that without protesting, our country would have never changed. If that is the case, then how can the government determine when to interfere and stop protests as opposed to letting them continue? Possibly resulting in a movement to effect positive change. Instilling a global way for people to sacrifice personal opinions and beliefs for the greater good, will be critical for this country to move forward. If everyone continues to look merely through their own perspective, our country will continue to draw hateful lines. Well I don’t intend on reliving history, do you?