~ Last night I heard about a protest going on over the subject of police violence so before I realized what was happening I was standing outside of a police station talking to a group of twelve or so people with picket signs.
First off, let me say that standing outside of a police station with a bunch of people who are yelling is a bit disconcerting. After all, I’ve seen the videos of police beating up (and choking to death!) citizens that have been popping up all over the Internet the past year. Police violence against citizens has become a major problem that our country faces, and in the midst of all this ruckus, standing outside of a police station alongside the protestors made me feel a tad bit wary regarding my safety.
While I was not holding a sign, nor was I yelling any protest chant, I’m sure it looked like I was apart of the protest, and when a police officer walked over to me while I was holding my camera I had flashbacks of YouTube videos I’d seen where law enforcement and confiscated camera’s and roughed up cameramen.
Thankfully, nothing bad happened last night, unless you consider the fact that I was too tired when I got home to brew a French Press of decaf coffee and had to go to sleep without the wonderful taste of coffee coursing through my veins. The police officers opted not to talk to me and answer any of my (what I thought were going to be) witty questions.
The protesters were weary of my intentions, “Who are you with?!” one of them barked at me, “What are you here to do, to make us look bad?” another asked
But after somewhat convincing them of my honorable intentions one of them decided to ask a couple of my questions about the whole art of protesting;
“Truthfully, I don’t think protesting works anymore” said a female college student who asked me to keep her name out of my article, “I mean don’t get me wrong, protesting works in theory, but the problem nowadays is that ya can’t get enough people out to stand up for something. We spread the message out via Facebook, we must have contacted hundreds of people, but we couldn’t a hundred people out here. People would rather stay at home and watch TV then get off their fricken ass and stand up for something!”
Does protesting work? Does standing outside a building or marching down a street with homemade signs change things for the better?
Obviously, when we see examples like Martin Luther King Jr or Rosa Parks it becomes clear that protesting has indeed worked throughout history. But what about in our day and age? After all, the Civil Rights movement was a generation ago, and many of us weren’t even alive when effective protesting changed the face of the United States.
Honestly, I’m not convinced protesting works. For much of my life I’ve seen people standing outside with signs protesting the various wars in the Middle East. Yet, no matter whether the Republicans are in power or the Democrats, war in the Middle East rages on and nothing changes.
The government continues to tax the middle class with a vengeance. Both parties say they are the defenders of the middle class, yet with each passing day the middle class is taxed and hurt by American politicians to such a great degree that the gap between the haves and the have not is becoming so great that it is doubtful our economic system will ever turn around for the better. Am I really supposed to believe that protesting will get the attention of Washington politicians? I remain unconvinced.
I hate to sound like a naysayer, but it just seems to me that our country and much of the Western World is headed on a collision course toward nonsensicalness. Protesting the plethora of problems we face seems like a recipe in unnecessary energy; too many people have already made up their minds and they don’t seem to be open to dialogue or changing their mind.
While I really appreciate and admire the people who do get off their ass and protest, I fear that it is too late. I fear that the problems in the Western World are simply too great to turn around, we are headed full speed down a slippery slope and there is no way to put on the breaks.
Please tell me why I am wrong.
Just a few thoughts as I sipped my coffee,
Categories: Culture & Society