I came of age during the VietNam war and so, the diversification of our nation now is not a new issue to me. There seemed to be three camps in those days: my country right or wrong, things are not right so I have an obligation to protest to get change to occur, and the silent majority. Once again, we have proof that the more things change the more they stay the same.
A close friend recently posted on Facebook how dismayed she felt when at a kids’ recreational football game, the opposing team took a knee during the anthem. She has felt the protests at the NFL games are primarily a disrespect to the flag, to the military and to first responders. Her husband is a retired cop who walked his beat with patience and persuasion, so I understand well how they are angry that all cops have been brushed with the unethical and illegal response by others.
My understanding her viewpoint is the first step to initiating a discussion. That discussion may go no where, butting up against the brick wall of inflexible consideration of emotions and facts that do not fit an acceptable scenario. But it might also open a window to a new enlightenment.
What has particularly bothered me about people who condemn the protest is that they never address the base issue. They never talk about WHY the protest is taking place.
They don’t understand it is that silence, that negation of importance, that drives the need for protest.
And when I ask people what kind of protest would be acceptable, the silence is deafening.
When there is silence, there is acceptance. There is complacency. There is collusion.
People I know who protest the protest are usually loud in their argument that they are colorblind, that they treat each person equally. That may or may not be true and in truth, if each person actually believed in and lived the Golden Rule, we would be living in a whole different culture.
But the people who protest the protest NEVER say anything about the innocent people who are shot and killed, not because of their behavior but because of their skin tone. They NEVER say anything about court decisions that absolve responsibility for a death of a person of color whose actions in no way required being killed.
They argue black on black crime. Not the issue being protested–stick to the point!
They argue women are also subjected to discrimination. Oh yes, but not the issue being protested-stick to the point!
They point out cruelty to animals. Horrible, but not the issue being protested-stick to the point!
There are a lot of things that can use improving in our society. I can’t fight for every issue that calls to me and neither can anyone else. But a strong emotional response sure indicates this may be an issue that needs more attention. And attention means education first to gather the facts and reduce the emotional response as much as possible. To think calmly and logically. To even place yourself in the same situation, empathically.
Adding anger about protest is adding fuel to the fire.