Freedom to Speak?
Look at what happened in London: a couple of hooligans start looting and causing mayhem, and then perfectly normal and innocent people join in. Law-abiding, goal-oriented ordinary citizens were suddenly stealing everything from the extreme (TVs) to the mundane (water bottles) “just because” they got caught up in the moment. The London riots were a good example of mob mentality going in the very wrong and dangerous direction: these people didn’t stop to think, why on Earth do I need to steal a bottle of water? They just did it. If it had just been an ordinary day and they were walking home alone down the street, they never, ever would have considered such an action.
Do I think, then, that there should be some sort of “protest rules” to abide by, that state when a cause is worthy enough to protest for or not? No, but I think common sense ought to do the trick. And although protesting can lead to drastic results (i.e., removing long-standing dictators from office) I don’t think it is neccessary to jump in the streets and pitch a tent for each and every cause that comes up. Case in point: when Israel accidentally killed several Egyptians recently, Egyptians stormed the Israeli embassy and their eventual “occupation” caused the Israeli ambassador to Egypt to leave. I understood their anger, but was it really neccessary to cause a great commotion and to make an ambassador question his safety enough so that he leaves the country? I’m pretty sure the Israelis already knew that the Egyptians were ticked off…..
I think what unsettles me about protesting is that, many times, people don’t understand the whole picture. They see what’s on the news and in the media, sure, but since when does the media ever paint a full picture? Furthermore, they only see the end to something: the ending to a corrupt government, the ending to corrupt banks, the ending to this and that. Do they ever see what comes after? Do they ever consider that what might happen afterward might be just as bad, if not worse?
In the end, I say: protest, but do it because you BELIEVE in the cause, because it is close to your heart. Do NOT just join a protest because you’re angry at the world, because you believe in the freedom of speech, because it’s the “cool” thing to do. Before, I mentioned that I thought it was great that Americans were excersing their freedom of speech. And it is great. But just because I am liberal and like to voice my opinion doesn’t mean I should support just any cause. After all, what if the protesters believed in something clearly bad, like segregation? I sure as hell wouldn’t be joining their fight then!!
Remember: protesting is basically debating. You should go into it knowing all the facts, knowing your opponent’s side, be prepared to defend your cause and know a solution.