By Quin Hillyer at Yellowhammer News;

When it comes to protests, America has lost its senses.

A previous column of mine provided a single example, from southern Alabama last week, of an overreaction to a silent, respectful protest. That one example is indicative of a larger problem, on both sides of the protest equation.

The overly broad (but accurate) description of the problem is that both protesters and responders get too hyped up about public demonstrations. The overly facile (but still appropriate) correctives to the problems are to better calibrate protest means and ends, to better calibrate responses thereto, and to remember that respectful demonstrations are far more effective at earning support for one’s causes than are abusive or violent ones.

Martin Luther King Jr. had it right when he insisted that demonstrations be non-violent. People quietly clutching their Bibles merit more sympathy than people wielding billy clubs.

The 1950s-60s civil-rights movement did something else right: They targeted their actions to the proximate cause of their distress. If they were disallowed to order from a lunch counter, they sat in at that counter. If they were told not to ride in the front of the bus, they took front-row seats.

But they didn’t otherwise inconvenience, much less threaten or harm, uninvolved innocents. They didn’t use anger at a lunch counter as an excuse to break store windows across the street. They didn’t use separate water fountains as justification for looting. Their supporters didn’t shout down speakers at public forums or try to physically block access to the venues.

In short, they acted like civilized human beings, not like wanton, cowardly, juvenile delinquents worthy of no more respect than plague-bearing sewer rats in heat.

Oh – and when they didn’t immediately get their way, they didn’t go crying for safe rooms with stuffed animals and Play-Doh.

On the flip side, those targeted by non-abusive protests must show some restraint and perhaps a little humor – and they darn well should not turn something non-violent into a physical altercation….

[The full column is here.]

 

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