Americans Must Stop Being Offended By Protests

Americans Must Stop Being Offended By Protests

Protest. Talk. Improve. Repeat.

Amendment I

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

The rights granted by the first amendment have long been heralded as perhaps the most important keys to successful American Democracy. More specifically, the rights to free speech and peaceful assembly. Being able to speak out and voice your concerns is imperative, especially in this politically disquietude time.

In the time during and since the 2016 election, there has been a vast increase in public protests and demonstrations; some viewed more favorably than others. Between former San- Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick starting the #TakeAKnee movement and the rise of the "alt-right" and their marches in Charlottesville, many Americans have been left wondering what is considered "free speech" and "peaceful assembly."

Recently, President Trump has unleashed a Twitter tirade against the NFL, calling those who choose to kneel, "Sons of bitches", as well as stating that the protests were "disrespectful" to the country, flag, and anthem. The result of these claims is a false narrative that the players are protesting the flag or anthem itself.

This protest is about race, period.

A protest, I will add, that is 100% protected under the first amendment as free speech.

As Americans, we protest when we see injustice or wish for change to take place. However, the way in which we protest is not always seen as appropriate. Some choose to link hands and block highways and are met with death threats and attempts to be run over. These are the protests that create unsafe conditions and should be stopped for the well-being of everyone.

However, some choose to gather and march for their cause. These protesters are met with, "there has to be a better way" by critics. Next, they choose to picket and chant, but are again met with, "there has to be a better way." Now, they choose to kneel or raise a fist peacefully and silently, and are once more met with "there has to be a better way."

At what point will a portion of Americans find protests to be acceptable? Just because you find it inconvenient, does not mean it is disrespectful or wrong.

Now, as for the "alt-right" and neo-Nazi marches, I am just as appalled and disgusted as most other Americans. That being said, if they have the necessary permission, then it is their full right to do so. The first amendment applies to everyone, even if we disagree with what they have to say. We do not need to retaliate with violence and taunting and anger. Instead, we can continue to promote peace, constructive dialogue, and a society that does not answer the calls of bigotry and hate.

For 226 years, Americans have enjoyed the right to speak, assemble, write, practice, and petition freely and peacefully. The day that we forgo those rights is the day that American Democracy dies. The purpose of protesting is to raise awareness of injustice and to eventually create a dialogue that facilitates the necessary changes. As the circumstances of society change, we must be willing to bridge the gaps where they appear.

Although hateful voices will always be given a platform, they can be overcome when we work together to drown them out and show our true America values. Protesting is not intended to divide one another, but to unify people to bring about change. Change that can only occur when you stop replying with scorn and start listening with an open mind.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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An Open Letter to the Person Who Still Uses the "R Word"

Your negative associations are slowly poisoning the true meaning of an incredibly beautiful, exclusive word.

What do you mean you didn't “mean it like that?" You said it.

People don't say things just for the hell of it. It has one definition. Merriam-Webster defines it as, "To be less advanced in mental, physical or social development than is usual for one's age."

So, when you were “retarded drunk" this past weekend, as you claim, were you diagnosed with a physical or mental disability?

When you called your friend “retarded," did you realize that you were actually falsely labeling them as handicapped?

Don't correct yourself with words like “stupid," “dumb," or “ignorant." when I call you out. Sharpen your vocabulary a little more and broaden your horizons, because I promise you that if people with disabilities could banish that word forever, they would.

Especially when people associate it with drunks, bad decisions, idiotic statements, their enemies and other meaningless issues. Oh trust me, they are way more than that.

I'm not quite sure if you have had your eyes opened as to what a disabled person is capable of, but let me go ahead and lay it out there for you. My best friend has Down Syndrome, and when I tell people that their initial reaction is, “Oh that is so nice of you! You are so selfless to hang out with her."

Well, thanks for the compliment, but she is a person. A living, breathing, normal girl who has feelings, friends, thousands of abilities, knowledge, and compassion out the wazoo.

She listens better than anyone I know, she gets more excited to see me than anyone I know, and she works harder at her hobbies, school, work, and sports than anyone I know. She attends a private school, is a member of the swim team, has won multiple events in the Special Olympics, is in the school choir, and could quite possibly be the most popular girl at her school!

So yes, I would love to take your compliment, but please realize that most people who are labeled as “disabled" are actually more “able" than normal people. I hang out with her because she is one of the people who has so effortlessly taught me simplicity, gratitude, strength, faith, passion, love, genuine happiness and so much more.

Speaking for the people who cannot defend themselves: choose a new word.

The trend has gone out of style, just like smoking cigarettes or not wearing your seat belt. It is poisonous, it is ignorant, and it is low class.

As I explained above, most people with disabilities are actually more capable than a normal human because of their advantageous ways of making peoples' days and unknowingly changing lives. Hang out with a handicapped person, even if it is just for a day. I can one hundred percent guarantee you will bite your tongue next time you go to use the term out of context.

Hopefully you at least think of my friend, who in my book is a hero, a champion and an overcomer. Don't use the “R Word". You are way too good for that. Stand up and correct someone today.

Cover Image Credit: Kaitlin Murray

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News Flash: 'Building The Wall' Is Still A Dumb Idea And Always Will Be

The government is still partially shutdown because of funding for the wall. Really?


A man who is a strong supporter of building the wall told me this metaphor: If you don't want the wrong people walking into your backyard, you put a fence up. We don't want the wrong people coming to America, so we put a wall up. I respect people's political beliefs, and because of this, I want to share mine.

I believe that President Trump demanding money to build a border wall is dumb.

It's hard to believe so many people really think that this "build a wall" has everything to do about border security. It's just inhumane and wrong.

Literally, the most notorious drug lord of Mexico has shed light about how he smuggles the drug into the U.S. They have brought it through fishing boats, trucks going through the legal point of entry, underground tunnel, but not through unwalled parts. The half of million pounds of narcotics that were secured at the border? They were all al legal points of entry.

I'm saying this because I am a proud daughter of immigrants who crossed the border. The media has portrayed immigrants as these horrible people infiltrating our country. They just want somewhere safe to live to raise their kid.

The conditions of Latin American countries are inexplicable. Communist have risen from the ashes dominating these countries letting people rot on the street starving. There are little to no job opportunities. I haven't seen my family in three years because it is dangerous to go.

The media doesn't tell you this. They don't tell you how many people have gone to the border and returned to Mexico because ICE agents tear gas them.

They tell you that they throw babies over fences to distract border patrol agents. They tell you children are dying because of malnutrition of trekking thousands of miles to get the border. They don't tell you that those same children have been eating unmonitored food with thousands of microorganism some mal some good.

Not all immigrants are not bad people. The notions that all immigrants are criminals is "fake news." It has been a hook, line, and sinker for the Republican Party. There are studies such as one from the journal Criminology showing that places with high undocumented immigrant population does not equal high crime.

Should undocumented citizens attempt to become legal residents of the United States? Absolutely, and that is a problem if they are evading taxes and other legal notions with more consequences.

However, we should not lie to ourselves and act as a wall is to help border security against drugs and crime. It's just a physical quota like 1920s immigration laws. There is a better solution then sacrificing 5.7 billion dollars. Let me translate that: 5,700,000,000 dollars. That is our taxes. As a college student, I rather have those 5.7 billion dollars be translated to scholarship, grants, financial aid, and helping us, the future of this country become the best people we can be. Why build a wall when the future of America, who I personally think is more important can be helped.

I don't come from a rich family, and I don't have the means to afford a college education without loans, so when I hear that the Government can afford to give 5.7 billion dollars for a wall, I have the right to be upset. Tell me I'm wrong, and call me dumb, but this is my unpopular opinion.


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