Do Demonstrators Help or Hurt Their Cause?
Since its birth, America has been built on the freedom of civil disobedience. Not illegal disobedience — Civil Disobedience.
The question we need to answer, does civil disobedience actually bring positive results for all people, not just a societal segment?
Legal Civil Disobedience
Through the use of legal civil disobedience slavery ended, women were allowed to vote, the Civil Rights Act of 1957, 1963 and 1965 were passed. Gay marriage and Obamacare also made it though the courts.
Non-smoking areas, emission controls on cars, were all the result of someone speaking up and others joining their cause.
Illegal Civil Disobedience
Twenty-four hour news showed the looting and burning of businesses and homes in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland that captured headlines during 2015.
Occupy Wall Street, Black Lives Matter, disrupt commerce in order to attract the TV cameras to bring attention of their perceived grievances to the people.
Do The Ends Justify The Means?
Do the actions of these groups really further their cause? Or, are they propagating a negative perception of their group?
Black Lives Matter activists wrestled the microphone away from Candidate Bernie Sanders and sent him off the stage.
Does shutting down a highway to a Trump speech bring more anti-Trump people into their ranks or do people wonder why this candidate’s free speech is being curtailed?
Does a group of people blocking commerce on Wall Street in tents and trashing the area really project a sympathetic picture of their plight?
Once the news luster wore off there was no need for them to remain any longer and that movement ended.
Some Final Thoughts
Many people are under the mistaken impression that anti-war demonstrations ended the Vietnam War — they didn’t.
The Paris Peace Accords were signed almost five years after the 1968 Democrat Convention demonstrations took place.
Many people saw the 1960s war-protesting hippies as not much more than longhaired, unclean, bums.
That sentiment has trickled down to the Occupy Wall Street protesters in some circles.
Seeing demonstrators with commercially designed signs tells me all I really need to know. Someone reached into their wallet for their own selfish reason and spent money to force their view on others.
Spontaneous demonstrations of the people are one thing. Organizers paying and telling people how and what to think give all legitimate demonstrators a bad name.
Free speech works both ways.
Will you still speak out knowing that tomorrow you lawn will be littered with sign carrying zealots?
Or will you measure your words and homogenize your views?