Protesting: A Truly American Act

Sydney Cayo, Reporter

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From deep within the lines of our Constitution, interwoven in the fabric of America itself lies our dream of democracy. The idea of a nation lead by the people for the people seemed completely asinine when the Pilgrims set forth on their infamous Atlantic travels, and if we’re being completely honest, entertaining that idea in today’s America is still proving to be a long shot. While we pride ourself on the freedom of our democratic government, could it be possible that that pride is confidently misplaced?

What that question alludes to is the oppression and repression of the voice of the people in our beloved society. We watch our fellow Americans stand up for what they believe in almost daily with protests spanning from Twitter hashtags to borderline riots full of voices targeting a point while the rest sit back and judge. These protests have been negatively stigmatized by our government. Why is something so utterly American as a protest deemed just another public hassle?

For many peers, friends, and other teens our age, it’s about more than sticking it to the man. When parents send their kids down to the front of our State Capital for the latest protest, it’s about more than standing up to authority. For instance, many of us aren’t of legal voting age yet. The purpose of voting within a society is so that the higher powers know which contemporary issues need dealt with at what time, but how does the rest of America express their thoughts and opinions as well? How do people whose opinions are widely disregarded by the federal government become assured that they’re heard? In a free country, should it really feel like you have to achieve some sort of status, be apart of some club, jump through certain hoops in order to get your voice out there?

Whether it’s voting or protesting, America has the freedom to go out and fight for the way of life they desire or to sit back and accept whatever change happens. The American choice should be provoking change and should coax unbiased fairness in action from those in power. A thought more asinine than a free nation is the idea that as modern Americans, we sit around waiting for change and then act confused when it’s not the exactly what was desired. Could we simply reach for the desired change in the first place? Could we provoke the exact change that we want?

Protesting is essential to American livelihood for many reasons. It allows us to alter the agenda and spark a real debate within the House and the Senate through the exercise of our first amendment. As citizens of a democracy, it qualifies as our obligation to help voice the wishes of minority groups. It allows students a way of expressing their opinions on political issues. We can’t vote legally, but the people in power need to know how the future leaders of America feel and react to certain situations as well. Overall, protesting strengthens the bond within a society. It reminds those who might need it that they are not alone. If everyone viewed it as a way to come together to fix a problem rather than two sides irrationally opposing one another, I believe that protesting would be used as a tool by the government to recognize their role in the quality of life here in America. Instead of being listened to, protestors are met with tear gas and excessive force. If a protest reaches the point where tear gas and high-pressure hoses, detaining, and arresting becomes necessary, then seriously listening to what the people are fighting for must follow in suit.