Let me just say how appalled I am at the fact that people are violently protesting President Trump's Inauguration just a few days after Martin Luther King Day. An American federal holiday dedicated to observing the man who advocated peaceful protests during the Civil Rights Movement.
Americans can be angry without having to put other people's lives in danger. Citizens have the right to be angry, mad, terrified, and sad. But they absolutely do not have the right to participate in chaotic and dangerous situations solely because of their feelings.
Martin Luther King, Jr. said "Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problems: it merely creates new and more complicated ones. Violence is impractical because it is a descending spiral ending in destruction for all. It is immoral because it seeks to humiliate the opponent rather than win his understanding: it seeks to annihilate rather than convert. Violence is immoral because it thrives on hatred rather than love. It destroys community and makes brotherhood impossible. It leaves society in monologue rather than dialogue. Violence ends up defeating itself. It creates bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers."
It is imperative to remember King's wisdom today. Violence is never the answer. Those who participate in violent protests achieve nothing other than hurting themselves and the people around them.
During Trump's swearing in on January 20th, riots ensued all over the country and especially in D.C., where over 217 protestors were arrested. Just a few blocks from the White House demonstrators clashed with police officers.
Activists dressed in black clothes and masks ensued violence including throwing rocks and bottles at police officers who reacted with tear gas and stun grenades. Protestors even threw an object through the passenger window of a police van. Many vehicles were set ablaze including a limousine. A red hat with Trump's slogan "Make America great again" was also thrown into the burning fire.
The violence continued when protestors used chunks of pavement and baseball bats to shatter windows of a Bank of America and McDonalds.
My question is, what do these protestors think they're achieving with all of this violence? Seriously? As Desmond Tutu said "Don't raise your voice, improve your argument."
Citizens will always have the right to use their voice and defend their opinions, but destroying property and attacking officers, who put their lives on the line every single day for the safety of the people who are literally attacking them, is neither right nor productive.
Americans who are angry with what is happening to their country should do as former President Barack Obama advised "If you're disappointed by your elected officials, grab a clipboard, get some signatures, and run for office yourself."
However, running for office yourself is not the only solution. Engage in organizations you believe in. Talk with those you disagree with and find a middle ground. Respect other people's opinions and beliefs. Democracy can only be successful when everyone comes together for the common good. Use your voice rather than your fists. Violent protests will not get anyone anywhere or anything.