Have You Ever Protested Something?

0827-colin-kaepernick-twitter-5Today I saw articles and videos about 3 different protests (a small slice of all protests, I’m sure):

  • NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand during the national anthem to protest racial oppression in the US. In his words, “When there’s significant change and I feel like that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”
  • In this video about World Topless Day, there are women protesting for their right to be topless in public, as well as a small group of religious zealots yelling at the topless women, “You’re filthy! You’re dirty!” while holding signs that say “Jesus saves.”
  • In a rerun of Community I watched tonight, several of the characters hold a pinata-themed protest against the beating of a journalist in Guatemala.

As I observed those protests, I realized that I’ve never actively protested anything. I’ve never shown up at a march or a rally. Nor have I held up traffic or stood in front of a tank. I can’t recall a time that I’ve actively campaigned against a law or belief.

I’m trying to figure out if this is good or bad. I certainly don’t believe that the world is perfect, and perhaps protesting is one way to bring about change. It just doesn’t seem like a good fit for me. I don’t want to yell at people, even if they’re saying terrible things like the zealots at the topless parade.

Have you ever protested something? Did you feel like it was an effective vehicle for change?

Sidenote: I’ve seen a number of people speak out against Kaepernick because they said it was disrespectful to the military. I honestly did not know that was the purpose for the national anthem. I thought it was more an emblem of patriotism and freedom (including freedom of expression). Is that incorrect? Perhaps it’s more focused on honoring those in the military who protect those freedoms.