America, change, democracy, education, equality, Eric Garner, Ferguson, government, Growth, inequality, Life, Life Lessons, Michael Brown, Perspective, politics, protest, racism, Random, Society, Stress, Writing
I have refrained from commenting on the recent events in the media (Michael Brown and Eric Garner indictments) for many different reasons, but I have a really pressing question. What is protesting, destroying cities, preventing innocent people and EMT’s, etc. from getting to and from home and work really accomplishing?
Most of what people are protesting are warped laws that allow for legal loopholes (in the cases of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, but not w/Eric Garner) and the fact that America appears to still have a great racial divide. But again I ask, what has all the “shut the city down” protesting accomplished for the issues at hand? There are no laws being changed, no loopholes removed, and no racism eliminated.
However, what has been a result is more overtime for police and more city and national resources being spent to pay for the safety and repair of the cities you protest. Your actions will increase taxes for everyone and it will come out of your pocket. Then, you will protest about how it is even more difficult to live in America as a financially burdened black person. In this situation, empty protesting is not accomplishing the goal of racial equality for all in America as you may think it is.
I am not asserting that protesting does not have a place in society, but without accompaniment of political action it is a weakened voice shouting in the forest. Why not call and protest outside town halls and state houses of your local and state politicians demanding immediate change to the laws that create these loopholes? Why not petition and protest outside your city halls demanding immediate laws be created to change how police are able to arrest and interact with citizens of all demographics? Recall. Reform. Referendum. Amend. Implement. That is the only way you can initiate, create, and enforce change in a democracy. Intimidation tactics of protest and threats of harm and vandalism without those political actions will change nothing!
The protesters of the Industrial, Progressive Era, Civil Rights Movement, and in recent cases like Market Basket challenged change during the day when they sacrificed their jobs and financial security for change. Their economic impact and creation of political traction is what brought about change. Until you will sacrifice your own job and comfort like the protesters you emulate, please stop ruining our cities and bleeding resources that we all will have to pay for. If you are serious about protesting, why aren’t you walking outside your job and protesting during your work hours to place a higher economic strain on business/the country to prompt political reform? Is it because you might lose your job? Have you made one phone call to any politician demanding changes to laws or to create new law(s)? Well, if that’s not the case then don’t fool yourself into thinking that you are like the successful protesters of history.
Political reform is free and easy to create, yet I have not seen one legal change created as a result of all the mania. I understand many of us, of all ethnic backgrounds, have racial hurt and anxiety stemming from different events in our lives, but make no mistake, protesting when it seemingly doesn’t affect your pocket is nothing more than a psychological exercise of tension release. You changed little; you protest at the time that causes the least financial strain on your life; you bleed city resources; you “shut down” cities at a time when most people are already sleeping and most politicians are home; you have changed no laws. Who/what are you really protesting for – equality and change or your own desire to be heard and release frustration? Well we all hear you, and many agree with you, but the truth is that as of right now you have changed nothing for the better in America by the way you choose to “shut down” cities. I also see the signs that “the revolution will not be televised,” but all I see is protest on the TV. Revolution starts in buildings where cameras are not as easily welcomed. That’s the true meaning of “the revolution will not be televised” – change starts at your local, state, and government offices and by means of your economic and political power (and I do not mean by boycotting Black Friday to only increase taxes for Americans during the next week).
Indeed, it does take many different forms of protest and expression to bring about change. One singular stategy is not the answer to such a complex topic of racial discord and inequality. Unfortunately, social media and journalists have chosen to focus more on the upheaval alone than on those that are targeting these issues with both voice and action. My concern is that social media is focusing on mere protesting and resistance as the primary way to communicate that “black lives matter” and there are many uninformed youth and adults that fail to see that protest plus political power equals powerful progress. As stated before, proper protesting has its place, but uncensored emotions and unbirdled tongues will not create racial harmony.
Protest void of subsequent political action is futile nagging.