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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Protesting IS American

Regardless of what anyone says — and people are saying quite a bit these days — nothing is more American than protest. We may not like it, we may be made uncomfortable by it and we even may be enraged by it when the message goes contrary to what we believe. The purpose of protest, after all, is to cause those reactions in an attempt to bring attention to a circumstance or situation that the participants believe is unfair, unwise, or unacceptable. The one thing protest isn’t, however, is un-American. The Boston Tea Party, the Chestertown Tea Party on the Eastern Shore and the Stamp Act riots of the pre-Revolutionary War period are now viewed as acts of patriotism, even though they likely would be condemned today as exercises of uncontrolled violence that ought to be curbed for the safety of the community. And then, in the areas of insensitivity and disrespect, Boston’s Sons of Liberty gave three cheers at the funeral of tax collector Andrew Oliver as his casket was lowered into the ground in 1774. And we fret today over the appropriateness of protests? This is America and protest is what we do — the civil rights marches, Dr. Martin Luther King’s march on Washington, the Vietnam protests, the Women’s March, the Promise Keepers, Freedom Fries — the list is never ending and not one of them was delayed, postponed or mulled over as organizers asked: is this socially acceptable, will it be well received, will we be able to do this without upsetting people? A protest isn’t one if everyone says, “Wow, that was so nice we didn’t even know it was taking place.” Of course, no one should support violent uprisings or events that encourage physical harm or the destruction of property, which is why the Halloween protest planned by Indivisible Worcester should not be a concern. People want to express themselves in a peaceful, but attention-getting way. That’s fine. And it’s the American way, no matter what anyone says.