My First and Last Serious Protest

Written 4/6

Today was a difficult day. My eyes close on me. My words must be written.

2:16 AM. I will publish this later.

I stayed in bed because I didn’t do my homework and then I realized I had skipped a quiz and then I realized I had skipped a trip to the art museum and then I realized I could have just done my homework and then I realized there was another assignment I was supposed to submit but I didn’t and then I realized I truly, genuinely don’t care. But I also kind of do, not because of the grade, but because I missed an experience, because I stayed a slave to my bed today when I could have been doing other things.

Eventually I got out of bed. I went to a protest tonight and it was my first protest and maybe my last, not because I had a bad experience, but because I’m not sure if it’s my scene. There are very few things in this world I’m willing to fight for or that I believe passionately in. I see injustice in this world and it angers me but I don’t know the right way to go about doing anything. This organization has tried other ways and been rejected, and tonight, the people were not treated fairly or with compassion.

I do know that compassion is important.

Sometimes I worry that the police believe, and others perpetuate and agree, that it is us vs. them. It doesn’t have to be that way. Often times officers are just following orders and the cause being protested is not their fault, however instead of acting like a neutral force they see themselves as superior and create a dichotomy between citizens and police. They represent an establishment they do not have to. Besides, who is to say they are not citizens as well? They are a part of us. We’re all just human beings with beliefs. Both the protestors and the police begin to forget this. We dehumanize each other. This is not okay. Police end up on the wrong side of history, but does it really have to be like that?

Protestors hide under the guise of exercising their rights, and policemen hide under the blanket of keeping peace and safety. Why use the word “hide” here? In an ideal world, people really ARE just peacefully protesting and the police really ARE there just to make sure everyone is safe and following rules, but in the throes of passion, each side begins to inch across the line. The police get angry and begin to think about their loyalty to their occupation, how prestigious their job is, and how annoying these protestors are being. The people get angry and think about whatever injustice they are fighting for and get caught up in the moment and just want to blame anyone that even partially represents that which they are there for. We create division. We see one another as the enemy. It is not necessary.

Protests are stressful, for the protestors, and for the police. But not for the real issue. Not for the people in charge of or capable of changing an issue that is being protested in the first place. The president of the university probably went home safely and was asleep by the time all the protestors went home. Eventually, the next day, the issue and the people in charge might take some strain and stress as it gets talked about and covered. But the inconveniences of all the people who are there that night don’t matter to them. It’s an event. So, for all the pain and division it causes for protestors and police, is it really worth it?

That’s why, maybe, it was my last protest.


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