“You never change things by fighting the existing reality.
To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” —Buckminster Fuller
Protests! Hardly a day goes by without some form of public protest taking a front-and-center headlines the evening news.
Like most people, I have had a lot of things happening in my life that I can get quite upset about, and I have written letters, both in protest and support, to many community and political leaders, but I’ve never found myself in a position where I felt that joining a demonstration was the best solution to an issue. History has shown exceptions, of course, like Mahatma Gandhi’s peaceful protests that finally freed his country from British rule, and many of the very large American demonstrations that had a great influence in the 1950s and 1960s in helping to end the Vietnamese and Korean wars, but these were big demonstrations that gave politicians little choice but to take notice! I can’t see where very many of the smaller demonstrations and protesters have left much of a permanent mark on social issues.
Another problem I have with most of the demonstrations that I’ve watched on news channels is that they seem to attract characters with a very destructive mindset. They smash storefront windows, upset cars, set tires on fire, and it is usually this type of destructive protest that our news media concentrate on, often leaving us in the dark as to what the demonstration was about in the first place. The drama is the news: not the cause of the event.
Does the public ever ask, who has these small, destructive demonstrators impressed or influenced? Certainly not the shop owners who find their store windows broken and stores looted by the hooligans who use these demonstrations as an avenue to vent their destructive behavior!
“Say what you want but NEVER say it with violence!” —Gerard Way
I once listened to a commentary by a reporter who had been covering some demonstration—I forget which one, now—another argument against the effectiveness of these small, destructive demonstrations: how long are they remembered? Anyway, the reporter had interviewed several of the demonstrators, and with few exceptions, most didn’t even know why they were demonstrating; it was a cool thing to do. Besides, there friends were also here somewhere in the crowd, and they wanted to be with their friends.
On the other hand, there are many protests that have brought about great and lasting change in society, the present—and very effective—MeTo Movement that have brought to justice several high profile sexual molesters and the Parkland Student gun control movement that has actually managed to move the American government closer to placing some regulation on automatic, assault weapons.
So, the question I ask is, what causes some demonstrations to have an effect on the habits of society, and others thankfully forgotten within days of their occurrence? The answer appears to be that, something eternally deep within our evolutionary psych, woke up and said, it’s time for change,—like I already mentioned, the MeToo movement and the Parkland student gun-control movement.
The time has come, in our evolutionary cycle, for women to realize that they were equal to men in all respects, not men’s servants; that our schools are a place of education and freedom: to elevate and magnify the status of man, not be a place of fear and violence to degrade and humiliate us.
Also, the day of violent demonstrations should now be part of our evolutionary past and, hopefully, replaced with a higher standard of communicating our likes, dislikes and differences between ourselves. Change is good! Change is what evolution is all about.
But, change should respect the concerns of all members of society, not just an elite few! Let’s bring change about, as Martin Luther King Jr. suggests: “If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.” Write to your Prime Minister, your President, your Member of Parliament, your Congressman. Form lobby groups; sign petitions. The old cliché still holds true, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the grease, but let’s keep that “squeak” a non-violent squeak, please!
“One man cannot change the world, but one man can communicate the message that can change the world.” —anon