In light of recent events, I can’t help but feel like protests–which every person has the right to–have devolved into contests. Who can speak the loudest? Whose values are right? Whose issues deserve the spotlight?
It seems less about getting your voice heard and more about silencing their voice. Me vs. you, us vs. them.
It seems so hard for us as a society to remember that every single one of us is suffering in completely unique ways. Harder still for us as a society to agree to disagree. “I am right therefore you are wrong”. “My views are righteous therefore yours are dangerous”. What ever happened to “we’re all in this together”, or “meet in the middle”, or “find common ground”?
Hell, what happened to “I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family”?!
Everyone’s voices and concerns deserve to be heard. That means protesting in a non-violent way, one that doesn’t impinge on another’s rights, and not in a way that’s an attack on their assumed character. We should protest when we feel we’re being mistreated, definitely. We should protest when we feel that an outside force is extinguishing the flame of our voices, absolutely!
We should also protest in a productive way, one that doesn’t undermine or harm our fellow human, one that seeks a compromise between all parties involved. This isn’t a contest.
We should bring back the “pro” in protest.