The United States: Pride vs. Protest


Rebekah Froehlich, Website Editor

Freedom to petition the government: the First Amendment of the Constitution. Freedom of assembly: the First Amendment of the Constitution. Freedom of speech: the First Amendment of the Constitution. The backbone of this proud nation is the ability its citizens possess to express themselves without fear of oppression. However, it has come to the point where limits are being imposed upon practically every human right; and if not limits, beratement. On the one hand, this is America! And on the other hand, this is America.

There comes a point where enough is enough. It is up to the citizens of a nation to stand up for themselves and make change happen. It is not enough to sit around and expect others to do what you want done. But whenever there is a rise of discontent and a yearning for change, it seems to be met with just as much reproach. Often times it is not even a counterpoint to the claim but simply an unwillingness to see the side of the opposition. How is one going to sit and say that they are proud to be an American and then turn around and berate any new ideas? How is one going to call this generation selfish and conceited when they will not even take others’ concerns into consideration?

Treat others the way you want to be treated–one of the first lessons you learn as a child. The people who taught this to their children are now turning around and turning against their fellow man and telling them that their rights and their concerns are not valid. Usually those being condemned are not even stepping forward in violence, but in peace and in concern. Yes, there are times when this is not true, when protests come about out of malice and spite, but those are often met with less condemnation or they are forgotten more quickly. Americans have become complacent. They sit inside on their phones and complain about the world instead of getting up and making change, and those who try and make change are shot down. Think about Colin Kaepernick. He decided to exercise his rights and peacefully protest the wrongdoings against African Americans in the United States months ago, and just recently he came under fire again after signing with Nike. Immediately he was attacked, and videos surfaced of people burning their Nike merchandise. What good is that going to do? Maybe take a second and think about it from Kaepernick’s point of view. There is racism in America. That is an indisputable fact. He decided to use his platform to advocate for those without a voice. Whether or not you think his protest was disrespectful or not, at least he was doing something. At least he was using his power to start a conversation. Those who burnt their Nikes were doing so out of malevolence and not in a way that would implicate any real difference.

Too many people come from a place of hate instead of a place of love. Too many people are quick to stick up for America but chastise their fellow citizens. Too many people are quick to defend their rights while rebuking the rights of others. Too many people are quick to shout that they are not being heard without listening to those around them. Too many people are quick to separate pride and protest. It does not have to be only one or the other. Pride and protest can work hand in hand to build a stronger country. Pride does not always mean you have to agree, and protest does not always mean violence. Do not conceal your hostility as pride- it isn’t tasteful.