Protesting is a natural way of expressing one’s dissatisfaction, humans begin complaining straight from the womb. One of the first words babies understand is, no. Most children learn early how to protest by saying, “I don’t like that!” As teens, complaining seems to be a right of passage. As adults, one must learn to comport themselves and their dissatisfaction with dignity and clarity.
Inalienable Right to Peaceful Assembly
In the United States, protests are not new. The First Amendment to the Constitution guarantees every American the right to peaceful assembly. Note that the word peaceful is defined as;peace, or disorder, according to Dictionary.com.
Therefore a legal protest does not include, shootings, vandalism, property destruction, blocking traffic on the roads and highways, or preventing entrance to a building. Instead, people with signs, banners, and even bullhorns meeting on a piece of land, public or private is acceptable. A group must take into consideration what time of the night is too late to keep up the noise.
Recalcitrant ‘Not My President’ Protesters
People are complaining about the disruption of their lives due to the infancy of the “not my president” protesters. Today, Dawn Hunt said: “It must be nice to have the freedom to ignore that other people have to make a living. It is ridiculous that protesters have blocked my way to work for five days straight!”
In many cities, protests erupted the day after Donald Trump was elected as the 45th President of the United States. There were five shooting victims in Seattle, Wash., and one in Portland, Ore. Also, in Portland, rioting occurred as a result of the anti-Trump rally. The result was millions of dollars in damage to businesses, and taxpayer’s hard earned money paying for police in riot gear.
Protests Are Misdirected
Americans made it clear that they are dissatisfied with the political status quo. Throughout the election cycle, people made themselves heard. Candidates like Trump, Bernie Sanders, and Gary Johnson each stood up and declared that enough was enough! They listened.
What people should be complaining about is the system. The Founding Fathers established the Electoral College. Their argument for this was the belief that ordinary Americans would lack adequate knowledge to choose wisely among the presidential candidates.
That was intelligent thinking before the country was united by information systems, like the telegraph. Certainly, it is not the case in 2016. Mass media and social forums inundate the globe. If someone were to choose unwisely, it would not be for lack of access to information.
Protest the Electoral College
Americans can thank the Twelfth Amendment, ratified in 1804, for the Electoral College that is still in use today. This amendment indicates that each party would designate one candidate for president. Akil Reed Amar, a professor of constitutional law at Yale University explains:
The amendment’s modifications of the electoral process transformed the Framers’ framework, enabling future presidential elections to be openly populist and partisan affairs featuring two competing tickets.
This is the system in use today. This is an amendment that was ratified over 200 years ago. It is no longer an effective system. Politicians can not continue to claim that voters are not informed.
The Republicans and Democrats like the Electoral College because it ensures there will not be any other parties in the running for the presidency. This is why civics is no longer taught in the schools. Having a populace who understand how the system works would adversely affect the major parties.
If one needs to protest, that is acceptable, even legal. However, placing anger where it belongs would be more efficient. Consider this instead; move toward eliminating the Electoral College, allowing lesser parties access to debates, and teaching civics in the classrooms of America. It is time for a change. It is time for unity.
Opinion by Cathy Milne
Reuters: Anti-Trump protesters gather for third night, one shot in Portland
CNN: Anti-Trump protests stretch into fifth day
Time: The Troubling Reason the Electoral College Exists
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Second Inset Image Courtesy of Adam Engelhart’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License