The American Protest: its Various Mediums and Historic Rejection

Protests are always met with backlash even when they’re peaceful

By Christian Decker

Staff Freedom Fighter

Throughout the history of almost every, if not all, nations of the world, protest has been a staple of promoting democracy and fighting back against the injustices that are so prevalent in society. America has been no stranger to protests. Even since its inception, America has always been very protest oriented when it came to deal with injustice. When Britain imposed the Stamp and Tea Acts, Americans threw the Boston Tea Party, one of the most famous acts of protest in American history. The Boston Massacre was caused by a rowdy protest, and helped to ignite tensions against the British occupation. With the recent NFL protests, I think it’s important that we analyze protests and why people never find them acceptable.

Take the Boston Tea Party for example, Britain was furious. They imposed new taxes on the city of Boston and even closed the city’s ports. The protest wasn’t even popular in the Continental Congress. Many of the states didn’t even want to revolt (mostly in the South unsurprisingly), they thought it was just New England’s problem. Think about it, America wasn’t even united in its conception.

America has always been divided on various issues, but with the development of mass and social media, we seem to able to view this divide in clearer vision. Recently the focus of the protest divide has been the NFL anthem protests started by Colin Kaepernick. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past year the protests started to bring attention to the numerous police related shootings of black men. During the national anthem, Kaepernick would kneel in protest while the song played. Soon after, many players began to join him in the protest and it has since drew the attention of the news and social media networks.

The protests have drawn criticisms from the entirety of Fox News, as per freaking usual. Other notable critics include internet Trumpkins, Tomi “I get paid to spend five minutes regurgitating social media conservative talking points” Lahren, Vice President Mike “spank me daddy Trump” Pence, and even President Donald “I have no human decency or intelligence” Trump. The criticisms mostly stem from the opinion that kneeling during the anthem does a disrespect to our men and women serving in the military, and that it’s a disrespect to the flag. Now I think it’s worthwhile to analyze these two points.

Let’s look at disrespecting the flag. Well for one, it’s a flag, are we going to value that over human lives? Second, wearing the flag on bikinis and men’s thongs is disrespecting the flag. Kid Rock wearing a flag like a poncho is disrespecting the flag. Advertising for a product using the flag is disrespecting the flag. You know that one thing that doesn’t disrespect the flag according to the U.S. code of conduct? Kneeling during the national anthem.

Let’s now look at the disrespect to the military. Kaepernick had stated that the reason he is kneeling instead of sitting is because he wanted to show proper respect for the military. Furthermore, the protest isn’t even remotely about the military. Members of the military have even come out in support of the protests, saying that they fought to protect the right to protest peacefully.

The fact of the matter is, the rejection of the method of protest is not a new phenomenon. Everyone always wants to say that their way is better. No form of protest has ever been the “right” way to protest for people.

In the early days of the United States, there was the Whisky Rebellion. When Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton put a tax on whiskey, the colonies were in uproar. A mob was rioting, and of course the federal government didn’t want this so President Washington sent in the army to put it down. Sit-ins staged by civil-rights activists in the 60s were also frowned upon. Even going to a school or drinking from a water fountain were seen as taboo. One of the more famous examples involves Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. While he was in prison in Birmingham, Alabama, he read a letter addressed to him by various clergyman in the city. It stated that they were in support of ending segregation but the way that he was protesting was wrong. He was an outside agitator and he should just wait for the right moment. Dr. King’s response is now one of his most famous works, “Letter from a Birmingham Jail”.

Even the most peaceful protests in America have been met with ridicule. Could you imagine the nerve of those clergyman telling a man who literally had bombs thrown into his house that he should just wait. Many people make fun of these protests, calling protestors “snowflakes,” and degrading them for the right to a peaceful assembly. Of course, when the snowflakes get more violent, people are up in arms again.

The point is that people won’t care if you protest if it’s in their favor. People hated the Tea Party protests, just as people hated the Occupy Wall Street protests. It’s never going to change. A word of caution to our elected officials and rabble-rousers: to quote Dr. King, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.”

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