On Protests and the Power of Anger

The Modern Survival Guide #26

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WE LIKE PROTESTS, YES WE DO! WHY SHOULD I PROTEST, AND WHY SHOULD YOU?

To my mind there are a few times when you are obliged — not encouraged, but obliged — to protest. These are:

  1. When a great injustice has been perpetrated against you without due compensation
  2. When your representatives are not paying attention
  3. When your livelihood is at stake
  4. When your freedoms are at stake

What does it mean to say your opinions are not being captured in the national dialogue?

Quite simply, it means that the news isn’t covering your problem. There is something going on that you don’t like, and it isn’t getting any attention for whatever reason. This should make you angry.¹

What does it mean to say that a great injustice has been perpetrated against you without compensation?

Quite simply, this means that you have been harmed — monetarily, physically, or emotionally — without an inciting cause, and no one has paid you for it. That is to say, you did nothing to bring this harm on yourself, it was damaging to you, and nothing has happened to balance the scales. This should make you angry.

What does it mean to say that your representatives are not paying attention?

Quite simply, we live in a representative democracy, and the deal is that you vote for people who will represent your problems and wishes on the national scene. If they aren’t doing that, there’s a problem with the way democracy is working, and something needs to be done about that. This should make you angry.

What does it mean to say that your livelihood is at stake?

Quite simply, this means that something is happening in the larger political or economic scene that is putting your economic security at risk. This should make you angry. In this sense, “economic security” means your ability to reliably support yourself and (if applicable) your family without reliance on outside support.

What does it mean to say your freedoms are at stake?

Quite simply, this means that core aspects of your rights or privileges are under attack, or that you are demanding new freedoms.

WE LIKE PROTESTS, YES WE DO! HOW CAN I PROTEST, AND HOW CAN YOU?

Once you set your mind to protesting something, there are two paths to take: join or organize.

JOIN

It’s pretty easy to find a protest these days, with our modern social media tools and the Almighty Google on hand to help search. And in the current political climate, there are no shortages of people who are pissed off and looking to show it.

ORGANIZE

Organizing a protest is an art form all to itself. I’ll go over the high-level points in this article, but here’s a much better guide that goes into more detail.

FINAL POINTS

Understand that protesting is an inherently risky activity. You will be outside (wear sunblock!), around strangers (watch your wallet!), and possibly in confrontation with counter-protesters and/or law enforcement (don’t get shot!).

Searching for truth in a world focused on belief.

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