I protest because:
1) “The Boston Tea Party” was probably the first very large “American” protest. All of us who went to American schools were taught about it. We call ourselves “American citizens” in a large part because of this protest.
2) Nonviolent protests helped women gain the right to vote.
The 1848 Seneca Falls Women’s Rights Convention could be called a large nonviolent protest. It took women almost a hundred years of protests to gain the right to vote. In 1918, Woodrow Wilson changed his position from anti–women’s right to vote to pro in large part because of the many meetings and marches women both led and participated in. (This is abbreviated. If you don’t know much about the suffragate movement I urge you to read about it.)
3) I have long admired Mahatma Gandhi whose many acts of nonviolent civil disobedience led to a free India. I mention him as he’s one of my idols; and because his belief in nonviolent civil disobedience inspired many to action.
4) If the “good Germans” (and I know there were many) had protested when they began to see Hitler’s rise, there might not have been a Holocaust. Eleven million people wouldn’t have died. I can’t begin to figure out (or comprehend) the number of their descendants.
5) If Americans had protested after they began to suspect what was happening in Germany, the USA might have acted very differently toward people being killed in the Holocaust.
6) Jews were liberated from concentration camps and sent to another kind of camp—displaced persons camps. They weren’t treated as free people. I won’t go into all the things that might have happened had they been given refugee status and allowed into the USA and other countries.
7) I protest in honor and memory of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who gave the keynote speech “I Have A Dream” at the end of the 1963 March On Washington. The civil rights bill was stalled in legislation until this march. It changed all of our lives for the better.
8) Freedom Summer, 1964, helped propel the civil rights movement into all Americans conscience. Few Black people were registered to vote then. They were given absurd literacy tests that the men who made them up couldn’t pass.
I was very young then and spent my nights daydreaming that I was there. I thank, and honor, all the people who are still alive and participated; and will always mourn James Earl Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Henry Schwerner. Fortunately the FBI was quickly called into the case because if it had been up to the state of Mississippi they would still be missing hoodlums.
9) “One, two, three, four, what are we fighting for?” Country Joe & The Fish. The Viet Nam War was the backdrop to my life. I never knew a protester who threw a rock, kicked or mistreated a vet, and have always resented the assumption that all people who protested were violent.
When I was fifteen my friend’s parents took us to our first rally in an indoor stadium. Tony Randall (yes, Felix) held doves that he let into the air. It was a true peace rally.
10) If people can wave Confederate flags, and I can’t think of why that flag should be illegal though it repels me, nobody can say anything about people who don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance.
Waving a Confederate flag is a protest as is refusing to say the Pledge.
11) I will always protest Nazis–whether they’re German or American, and white supremacists. I sadly include the 45th president of the United States in that list. There are no good Nazis or white supremacists. None. Nada.
12) However I will “fight” for the rights of people I don’t agree with to protest. If the Nazis/White Supremacists in Charlottesville hadn’t made inflammatory remarks theirs would have been a just protest. Once they began advocating violence in different ways, it was no longer a just act of civil disobedience. The First Amendment doesn’t protect inflammatory speech.
13) I want my life to count. Protesting through writing is the way I know how to make it count the most.
I am a social worker, and have done more than my share of volunteer work. I mention this because I read blogs that proclaim, knowingly, that people who protest don’t do anything to help change society.
Various forms of protest ferment good change, and must be respected. To condemn protests is to condemn America.
I am non-violent. It would take a lot for me to condone a violent protest.
America was born because of protests. Non violent protests have been a vital part of its growth.
I wrote seven posts in answer to this one Stand For Something Instead of Against Everything. I have liked Kim since the first time I met her, and I realize that she’s a native to the Myrtle Beach area while I have only been here eight years.
For a long time I wrestled with: This is their home and I have no right to say anything that might be construed as “anti.”
Most people who live here are from somewhere else. Kim’s one of the few natives. I vote. I own property (and didn’t go into the protests that led to men who don’t own property being allowed to vote.)
I have left out many protests that led to incredible change.
Every great change in the USA was preceded by protests. Non violent protests are the American way.
I have a friend, a good friend I hope, who doesn’t understand why I’m so political on Facebook. She believes that my being political leads to depression. It’s the opposite actually. As I don’t want to walk around spewing my views I speak to the few people here I know are “liberal.” Or I get it out on Facebook and in my blog posts.
I never thought that I would directly answer a blog post by somebody here but I “don’t stand against everything.” I will never apologize for caring, and for wanting my country to be a great one.