Riots versus Protests

For the past couple months (at least since Trump became president-elect and now president), I’ve noticed the term “protest” used incredibly loosely and, as usual when terms are used loosely, this term seems to be completely misunderstood.
I’m not so sure how so many individuals have this misconception that protests are violent, that protesters are raging and harmful, that cities and things are being destroyed in peaceful protests.
I think I’ve missed the “foolishness” of the protesters. I think I’ve missed the destroying of cities by the protesters. I think I’ve missed the violence from protesters.
Protests are an inalienable right founded in the first amendment. Protesters are not abusing their, OUR, first amendment of free speech. Peaceful protesters do not break the law. Peaceful protesters do not cause harm. Peaceful protesters do not set another’s property on fire. Peaceful protesters do not destroy buildings.
Riots do.
Protesting is a right, while rioting is a crime. Protesters are advocates, while rioters are criminals
Protesters fear what will happen to them or their families. Rioters take it overboard and are the “crybaby, temper tamper throwing, snowflakes” you all complain about.
Let’s get this straight though.
Marching for pro-choice is not a crime. Marching for pro-life is not a crime. Marching with offensive signs is not a crime. Marching dressed as a woman’s body parts is not a crime. This is protesting; this is freedom of speech; this is annoying to some some; but this is a right.
Setting cars on fire is a crime. Throwing bricks into a Starbucks window (vandalism) is a crime. Pulling guns on officers and shooting them is most definitely a crime. This is rioting; this illegal; this is a crime.
It isn’t until crimes happen that police officers get involved and arrest people. Officers are not oppressing the rioters, but more so protecting the protesters.
Keep in mind, without a fight – and peaceful protests –  against the government, none of us would be where we are right now (yes, even the WASPs).
John Lennon and Yoko Ono protested against the Vietnam War instead of going on a honeymoon. Gandhi protested as a foundation for India’s independence. The National American Woman Suffrage Association marched down Washington D.C. for the right to vote. Henry David Thoreau refused to pay taxes as a protest against slavery. The United Auto Workers had sit-ins as General Motors began assigning workloads to the wrong people. Martin Luther King Jr.’s very famous “I Have a Dream” speech, which was heard across the nation – across the world – was a fight for blacks to receive basic human rights. Rose Parks sat at the front of the bus as a protest for civil rights.
Without these acts, so many great opportunities wouldn’t be available to us. In the case of protests, actions and words are just as loud, just as important as one another – and we will continue to succeed with them.
As long as both actions and words are used responsibly, respectfully, and civilly, progression will continue to flourish in the act of protest, while the country will continue to divide quicker and quicker when each riot is formed.
Blame the rioters, not the protesters.

Isaiah 46:4 // Brandi Addison


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