Hanging out with protestors…REALLY???

standing up for what you believe in 2

~ 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,

Kenneth



Categories: Culture & Society

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10 replies

  1. It seems to be true- protesting does not work, it does not seem to bring about the change people are protesting for.
    However, I believe, it needs to be done. If no one protested, if no one opened their pretty mouth about why they think something is totally unfair, impossible etc it would mean the whole of humanity has simply given up! And that would be a sad sight to see…

  2. You know, I have to wonder if somebody is benefiting from the rift in the political system. Our two parties seem to not be able to keep any kind of status quo, and a lot of energy is spent spinning information. Our age of information seems to be an age of disinformation.

  3. I disagree totally protesting has and will always work.Even historically before the civil rights movement before the pilgrims to Selma,even before the uproar against apartheid in South Africa.Slavery was alive and so were protests albeit small they were there and the racists of that time also said that protesting wouldn’t work and some slaves even gave up and died in chains.But look at where we are now.Even the earlier suffragettes who started this were dissuaded from the cause but look at the strides that have been made.
    When thinking of protests it is wise to remember that its just the tip of the ice berg,sometimes we are just but planting the seed, if impatience is your character flaw then this is certainly not your method but whether or not it will or can work? The answer is a deafening yes,because it might take forever maybe the rest of your life but the true and noble causes will be given their deserved veneration at some point.

  4. You are wrong on many counts. I will name just two: 1) our country has at least 30 more important problems than “Police violence against citizens”: enormous debt, high real unemployment, terrible foreign and domestic policies, gangs, racism, bad management on all levels of government, totalitarian approach to governing, enormous waste of taxpayers money, etc.
    2) protests in our country often start with approval and help of the government and financed by it, unions, communists and other organizations. In many cases it’s purpose is to distract public from more important matters. Such protests are very effective and their price for taxpayers is enormous.

  5. Protesting today? Unless you are protesting with your wallet forget it . . .

    you think wall street cared about those kids in the “anonymous ” movement? Naaa, it was just a diversion from the normal view from their office windows . . .

    what if everybody got smart and stopped buying whatever it is they are selling? Then they begin to shit bricks and things change, The con is in and we bought it and they know it.

    And then . . . if we do win the protest what are we going to do? . . . set up our own con and start the same ball rolling again and again and again . . .

  6. oh and by the way . . . you were probably photographed and added to a subversive group photo book. . . . big brother loves this new tech world 🙂

  7. You are probably right, Kenneth. I tend to agree with the female college student that you quoted. I don’t even know if the level of protest that we saw in the ’60s would work today – far to late for that I’m thinking. Possibly the earlier poster who mentioned ‘protesting with your wallet’ is on to something, but beyond that I can’t see anything changing. There is no draft issue to spur people into the streets, so with wars being fought with only those volunteers who (presumably) want to fight them, the rest of us are free to say tisk tisk, ain’t it a shame and go back to our video games. Wish I could be more optimistic.

  8. “Does protesting work? Does standing outside a building or marching down a street with homemade signs change things for the better?”

    My answer is no. My reasoning is that it hasn’t done anything for the pro-life movement.

    “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.”

    I agree that it did seem to make a difference in prior generations. That was before the days of the internet. No longer are people aware of what goes on unless it ends up on Facebook and YouTube. I think that the way information has spread has changed too much for the old ways to be effective.

    “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.”

    It does appear that the end of our country is imminent. People don’t change often. Most of the change comes from the fact that people die off and their children take their place. This is why the way children are educated is the key in predicting what comes next.

    “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.”

    It is theoretically possible for the problems to turn around in an alternate reality where everyone was as friendly as the ponies in Equestria. I am not predicting that it will turn out this ideally because I know how selfish and stubborn people are, but I still write and speak in ways that I believe will promote a more anti-violent society. I may be wasting my time, but I think there is still a benefit even if it does not change the people living today.

    “Please tell me why I am wrong.”

    As much as I would love to tell you how wrong you are, I think you are right on with this post. It will take something more major than a few protestors to change western culture. It would take nothing less than…….a miracle.

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