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.

9 thoughts on “Have You Ever Protested Something?”

  1. So many times I’ve lost count! I’m from a very political family, and since I grew up in Baltimore, I even remember going to a march on Washington or two. This has continued in my adult life; my first protest in New Zealand was against the US going to war in Iraq after 9/11.

    Interesting timing with your blog as I’m actually organising my first protest this Saturday, in Auckland. It’s in solidarity with protests scheduled nationwide across Australia against their offshore refugee detention camps, which are privately run and where multiple human rights abuses and cover ups are taking place.

    Maybe you shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it? It’s a very powerful feeling to join in with other like-minded people to demand change. And heaven knows, there is much about this world needing change.

    • Thank you for sharing! It’s definitely something I haven’t tried, so I hope my post didn’t seem like I was knocking it. I’m sure it’s a powerful experience. I hope the protest goes well for you!

  2. 24 years in the army and him not standing for the national anthem is just fine with me. The most fundamental aspect of a free society is the freedom to do what you think is right. I may not agree with his politics but I fully support his actions. Not sure it was a tactical decision based on him impending cut but he is definitely making a new name for himself. As for the boobies, let them fly. I grew up in Spain and they were everywhere in the beach. No big deal.

  3. I served in the military and I am completely fine with these protests, in fact I would encourage them. Things like this is what America is supposed to be about. To many people are selfinterested and never question what they beleive or cant see others perspectives enough to have any thoughtful reaction to something like this. People think patriotism has to look a certain way but thats just their perspective. I have never protested either but I would encourage everyone to express themselves in thoughtful positive ways when doing so. Keep making great games, you rock!


    • Dead on brother. when I was the recruiting company commander here in St. Louis during the war I had a bunch of protesting outside my recruiting stations. I would go around and shake all the protestors hands and thank them for their service. Most were not sure what to do about it. I even bought them lunch a few times. We all play our parts in the body politik.

  4. It’s a really long story how I ended up in the situation but I once protested with the political opposition in Uganda against their president/dictator Yoweri Museveni (he is basically Idi Amin Lite)in Mbale, Uganda. It was awesome but extremely dangerous and probably not my brightest move. I’ve literally never felt more alive than standing with people against an oppressive power, especially as a woman. At this point in time, women in Uganda weren’t allowed to wear anything showing their knees. Gay people to be put to death just for being gay. You could be imprisoned for speaking out in favor of gay marriage. Even now, 2 years later, thinking back to that day gets my heart pumping. I remember being so angry at the injustices, I didn’t even care if I got arrested. I wanted more than anything to show my support for the oppressed and tell as many people as I could that Museveni is a delusional, pathetic excuse for a human being. I can still hear the clapping of gun shots and feel harshness of all the expired tear gas they threw. I somehow ended up in the car of the political opposition leader, so that was an incredible experience to talk to him and I’m still in touch with one of his lawyers. I highly recommend standing up for what you believe in, but maybe don’t throw yourself into situations where you might be detained in a Ugandan prison. Or maybe do. I’m just not a fan of violent protests for obvious reasons. Big fan of peaceful ones though.

    On a less intense note, I am currently and will continue to protest Frida’s (that vegetarian restaurant on North and South). The one time I went in there the lady helping me was super rude, condescending, and unhelpful… Not going to waste my time with bad customer service and mediocre food when I can get great food and great service elsewhere.

    • Wow, that’s quite intense, Nelsy! I admire your bravery for putting yourself out there.

      As for the other kind of protest you mention, I do that too. Not for Frida’s specifically (I haven’t been there), but I try to shop at places and buy things that I want to support, and not buy things from places or companies I don’t support.


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