As You Protest

Our nation is built on revolt. I don’t mind at all when people protest in order to communicate a collective conviction.

Lots of news swirling in the infosphere as we are a mere two days away from the inauguration of our 45th president, Donald J. Trump. And from what I can tell, there’s a fair amount of people who are ticked. And  I do mean ticked.

Election Protests WashingtonIn the past couple of weeks, reports have rolled in of celebrities dropping out of their invites to attend/perform as a part of the inauguration. Okay, fine. That’s their prerogative, even if they do needlessly add on a layer of venom as they make that choice and voice their reasons.

And just this morning I was reading an article about supposed organizations–several of them, in fact–that are allegedly planning on not merely protesting at the inauguration, not only disrupting the inauguration proceedings, but their stated goal is to destroy the event itself. To whatever degree they can “ruin” the progress of this time-honored tradition, they consider a victory in their favor.

This of course all remains to be seen. In 48 hours from now, we’ll all see if they were successful in their endeavors or not. One thing is nearly certain: we’ll have a new president.

I try my best to avoid comments posted in comment sections online (besides the one below this post, of course!); be it in social media or under articles from blogs or news source(s). I won’t go into why that is because you probably already know. You’ve read them  yourself and have probably felt the need to shower afterwards.

But it’s not protesting that I’m speaking against. Not at all. In fact, protest is one of the great rights of American citizens. Just as surely as people have a right to gather and celebrate our newly elected President, other people have just as much a right to stand at or near that event and make their displeasure known. The laws that protect the celebrators are the laws that protect the detractors, plain and simple.

So, let me speak to those planning to protest either now, in the next 48 hours, or 48 years from now.  I don’t suspect you’ll ever read these words, but on the off chance you do…

  1. Respect yourself.  When I see protestors being disrespectful to others or to property, their message vaporizes. There is ZERO respect for whatever message you are meaning to convey. Somehow, somewhere along the way we have equated disagreement with disrespect. This is in my opinion, one of the most devastating civil interaction mistakes we can make. So please respect yourself enough to practice restraint. As the old adage goes, “Your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins.”
  2. Confrontation, but only for Conversation.  What is the Step 2 of the protest? Do you just gather to make noise and flip cars and then go home? Cowards. The work of protest truly begins in the conversations of opposing views. Conversation that is absent of dissent and full of honor for the other.
  3. Don’t drag me in, and don’t speak for me. To stay on topic, I’m appalled at some of the ugly, unkind things our president-elect has said. I have no argument there. But if I choose not to hang him in effigy alongside you, please don’t think I endorse all he says and does. Likewise, if I do not adorn my lawn with Pro-Trump signs, please don’t think I am ignorantly disengaged from your fight.
  4. Disagree with dignity. Ours is a society of pluralism. And it seems that every time the sun rises, new views are born. There is no shortage and there will be no end to the potential conflicts among us. But what if I kept your dignity and mine intact as I interact with you, and you with me? What if as protestors gather, for whatever their quam or cause, they viewed all humans–especially those of opposing views–with dignity and treated them accordingly?

Well, I’ll let you get back to your sign painting and Molotov cocktail pouring. I just wanted to pop in and share a couple of my views on what I fear is about to go down.

Love and peace. All to Jesus.

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