Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era

Photo by Colin Lloyd on Pexels.com

The world we live in seems to be more connected every day, but as a society we are more disconnected than ever. I have been far too silent for far too long and that ends today. In order to begin a dialogue, I am posing a hypothetical scenario and series of questions to launch the conversation. I am interested in people’s honest opinions on Protesting in America’s New Social Media Era. No, I’m not looking to start a fight, instead I want to hear how people relate to and see the role of protesters in our society, regardless of their cause, as we can be at ground zero and see the frontlines like never before.

Scenario:

You are sitting in your home and you read breaking news that a major injustice has occurred, at the national level. There is also news that civil protests have begun, and a march to demonstrate to the those in power that this injustice will not stand. This injustice strikes near to your heart and you feel the call to join in the march and you do.

Upon arriving at the march you see friends, family or coworkers and many people you don’t know but you are not alone in how you feel about this injustice and happily join the march with them emboldened by the sense of unity and continue to the end of the march where the group peacefully stands to be hear in one loud voice, “This will NOT Stand!” Holding your sign high and joining in the chorus of other like you and continue the chant.

Like most protests the city hall or courthouse or police station in which the organizer choose to focus their message is protected by a line of police in riot gear.

The chanting continues for hours awaiting a response from those in power and listening to speeches by new leaders whom are emerging as this injustice comes to light. You are back a ways and can’t see the front but the chanting and speeches continue. The lack of response from the officials you know are there is frustrating. Out of the corner of your eye you see something fly through the air over the crowd into the police , triggering them to begin an advance on the crowd to push them further from the building. The people at the front didn’t even notice the object hurled from the crowd, simply that the police are suddenly pushing them back, yell something you can’t hear over the din of the crowd and raising their guns. There isn’t far for them to retreat as the mass of the crowd doesn’t know to back up so the front line is trapped between and advancing armed force and a wall of protesters that has yet to notice what’s going on. The first group of protester, trapped, turn with hands up and are smashed against the shields and begin fight back as they are pushed to the ground by police, for not obeying their lawful order to disperse.

Seeing the front line of the protest from 200-300 feet back you can not see much of what is happening, only that there is a commotion going on that at first stops the chanting of the most vocal group and then changes to “No Voice! No Peace!” There has been no response from the government officials inside the building. “Pop, pop, pop”, you here what sounds like firecrackers then, “BAM” a flash bang and seconds later the first wave of tear gas hits you as the wind carries it through the crowd.

You have walked legally from the rally point to stand here and voice your protest but you are now subject to tear gas. You have to make a choice: abandon your right to peacefully protest and begin retreating or stay and continue exercising your right to peacefully protest risking you will get into, as John Lewis said “Good Trouble”.

Questions:

If you abandon your right to protest and retreat to the safety of your home and the injustice stands how do you feel about your decision?

Retreating you are not fast enough to stay clear of the police as they advance. Are you a protester or a rioter?

How would the police label you?

Standing your ground to continue your protest are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If force is used against you because the pepper spray, flash bang, tear gas and rubber bullets you have come in contact with have made it impossible to comply with orders because you can’t, hear, see or breath. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

If one person out of a hundred is violent during the protest and you are present when it happens. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

The following night, if you return and still are peaceful but again someone in the protest is aggressive toward the authorities they are not addressing the grievances. Are you a protester or rioter?

How would the police label you?

Is it better not to protest something you believe in, out of fear and simply hope that the government recognizes its failure and corrects the injustice or is it better to risk being labeled a rioter to show the government that people are willing to stand up and endure the abuse until they right the wrong?

If you are labeled as a “rioter” after peacefully protesting, what are the repercussions of the government adding domestic terrorist to your new label? Does it fit your actions?

Thank you for sticking with me. We are almost done. There are other forms of protest that do not require your presence. For our discussion, I have chosen to focus on active physical protest. Please, understand there is no right or wrong in these answers, as they are extremely personal. There is only your perspective on your role in society and how you view others as they act in accordance with their views. Share your answers if you like or keep them to yourself but either way know, I love each and every one of you and appreciate your participation.

Now, that you have answered the questions based on whatever injustice you inserted, here is the final part of the scenario with which to evaluate your answers.

***Breaking News***

2020 Presidential Election has been postponed indefinitely.

The President has tweeted, “Due to the China Virus keeping people from voting in person and the use of Universal Mail-In Voting, 2020 will be the most FRAUDULENT and RIGGED Election in history. It will be a great embarrassment to the USA. I am Delaying the Election until people can properly, securely and safely vote.”

Does that change any of your answers? Should it?

We don’t have to agree. We don’t have to like each other’s opinions or choices. We do however, have to live, and die in the same world and if we can’t recognize that tyranny rises in the midst of a silent majorities inaction and belief that, “It can’t happen here!” We will finally be in a big boat together, and that tide which rises all boats will come in fast.

Final Question:

If those willing to fight and raise there voices despite the consequences have been silenced, while the country argues over the definition of protester and rioter in this new social media era. Will they be able to help bail the water out of our boat, as the ocean rushes in to fill the void left by our missing democracy?

Blessings and Love to All.

May Truth, Light & Love Guide Our Path, Always

~ Chris Wood

Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s