Peaceful Protest – Religion and Politics

Much has been made, particularly recently, of the First Amendment right to peaceably assemble, and rightly so. It is, doubtless, an indispensable provision, enshrined in our founding documents with obvious and pointed intent.

Frankly, there have been times when the leadership of various entities—including the United States itself—horribly and grievously ignored or otherwise failed to heed the mandate.

I’ve made the argument that the 1st Amendment—unlike the 2nd–was written in such a way that it particularly spoke to the United States Congress. Even so, I think it reasonable to say, that each right found in that first amendment, is one that probably ought to be protected by all levels of government—regardless whether or not the amendment itself applies only on a federal level (which is arguable, but not certain).

Of course, as I’ve stated in other articles, the expression of that right, was not intended to cover rioting, looting, or other mayhem. The result is, anybody attempting to state their Constitutional right to such, is sorely confused.

But then comes the next question, “Does your right to protest, make that against which you protest unreasonable or incorrect?”

The obvious answer to that would be, “Sometimes yes, sometimes no.” It would very definitely depend on context. That is to say, arguing that it’s reasonable to protest that the government should provide a pickle to each American, might be an excellent example of something at least those who were not fans of brine laced or other preserved vegetables would consider unreasonable.

This brings us to protests currently in progress.

To begin with, allow me to state the obvious. In many protests, those demonstrating will have all but completely different opinions of what exactly they’re up in arms for or against. This is particularly true for those assemblies in which people are being paid or at least bused in, fed and to the degree they have housing, accommodated.

There’ve literally been videos in which two things happened:

  1. People were asked by representatives of the press why they were present, only to say they were just supporting folks who asked them to be there, or that they really didn’t know.
  2. Protesters have acted in ways that indicate that peaceful bystanders—some literally sitting to dinner with family members—were guilty of some sort of gross error. Some of the people in question wereeven there as protesters.

I’m not trying to say there’re no legitimate protesters present, just that a good number of the people who are or were at various locations, were not entirely sure why they were there.

Having addressed this beginning concept, allow me to talk about people who seem to be there for cause.

I suppose the first thing we must do is answer a question. For this article, the question needing put is, “What is their purpose?”

Based on the fact the protesters are primary members or supporters of the Black Lives Matter organization—which does not appear to have a charter that can be summed up in the standalone statementBlack lives matter” (a thing with which I concur, without reservation)—I think one might reasonably say that unless those in the media insisting on the charter of BLM are incorrect, the answer might look something like, “To seek to defund or reform policing entities in order to combat the fact that they’re racially biased against black people.

Assuming my statement to be an acceptable encapsulation of the intent of those demonstrating, there are a few problems.

To begin with, based on various data that can be found concerning the treatment by law enforcement of myriad people, it seems that for the most part (there are always instances of valid claims of misbehavior), there’s no sign of systemic or systematic abuse or mistreatment of any group. That includes black folks.

If it existed, we assume various entities outside of the groups being examined would be able to find it. The problem? In general, they can’t. Again, there are certainly specific cases that need dealt with. Though that’s factual, it’s not reasonable to assert small numbers of specific cases are signs of systemic or systematic bias.

To be clear, the groups doing the research often have a vested interest in obtaining a result indicating that bias is occurring.

This brings us to the next important point. I’ve stated in various articles, that the facts surrounding many of the “proof cases” being used to foment protest, are regularly talked about in terms that are in direct contradiction to the actual facts of the situations in question.

I’ve written multiple posts where I explained that, though the initial story looked bad, subsequent investigation proved that the facts were not anything like the tales which were initially promulgated. One of these posts was titled And Justice For All.

Because we’re discussing peaceful dissent, I needn’t even talk about the folks who’ve harmed innocents, since—unless you disagree with me (which is your right)—any such activities were unlawful. Though that’s true, there were those who instead chose to harass, or take action that was causal to the unintentional bedeviling of people who are entirely uninvolved in the things against which those in the streets are talking about or trying to effect change upon.

Forgive me for so saying, but this seems to not be a way to win friends and influence people.

My final point would be that, there are many ways to bring about remedial activities for various wrongs done. It seems to me that instead of taking to the roadways and sidewalks, it would generally make more sense to try to work with people inside the system. This is particularly true reviewing statistical data, that seems to show no crisis or emergency.

The whole point I’m trying to get at here is this. The fact that you can demonstrate, doesn’t necessarily mean you should do so. Further, if you do, you should probably know why you are doing so. Finally, protesting things where what you’re fighting to fix isn’t broken is bound to make you look awfully silly. The summation then would be, if you’re going to protest, make sure your cause is real, and by preference righteous.

Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.

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