In recent years more and more widespread protest movements have been popularized in the United States and while there is substantial support for these movements, there are also many who criticize them and even go so far as to call these movements anti-American. What these individuals do not realize is that protest has been remarkably important in United States history and is a patriotic way to bring about change in our country.
Recent protest movements like the Women’s March, the March for Our Lives, the student walkouts, and kneeling during the national anthem have been subject to criticism from various circles and many of our political leaders have been vocal about their disapproval.
Many confuse those who want reform and change as hating and disrespecting both the government and the United States. For example, Donald Trump has called for the firing of the many athletes who protest racism by kneeling during the national anthem multiple times because he claims they are disrespecting our country’s flag.
After almost every single sizable protest there are anti-protest tweets, comments, and posts all over social media. People accuse protesters of being “cry babies” and many people such as Fox News commentator Tomi Lahren even went so far as to call protesters anti-American.
What many critics of these protest movements do not realize is that protest in and of itself is incredibly patriotic. By protesting, Americans are exercising their first amendment right of freedom of speech and trying to drive change in our society. Our nation was built on the belief that the people of our country should have a say in how the country is run and the policies of the country. When citizens protest, they are advocating for the change they want to see.
One of the greatest aspects of living in America is the fact that everyone is able to speak freely and communicate their opinions on matters that often times directly affect them. Protesting is one of the many ways to communicate the change we want. In fact, most of the remarkable events in the history of the United States were the result of nationwide protests just like the ones being held presently.
The Civil Rights movement was one of the greatest social movements in the twentieth century and in the history of the United States as it granted equal rights under the law to African Americans. This incredible progress would not have been possible if not for countless protests like the March on Washington where Martin Luther King Jr. gave the iconic “I Have A Dream” speech or the Selma to Montgomery marches in Alabama that contributed to the passage of the Voting Rights Act.
Women’s suffrage would never have been achieved if not for the many protests like the 1913 Woman Suffrage Procession in Washington, D.C. where thousands of suffragists marched down Pennsylvania Avenue to draw attention to discriminatory voting laws. These large protests continued nationwide until 1920 when women were finally granted the right to vote.
These influential and successful movements were all results of protest. Protesting serves as a tool for citizens to communicate their feelings and opinions on important political and social matters. Protests are only organized because protesters love this country and want to see it improve. There is nothing more patriotic than standing up for one’s beliefs and fighting for the change one wishes to see.