Source:The New Democrat
There’s an old American cliche that this is as American as apple pie. Baseball is as American as apple pie. Hot dogs are American as apple pie. Going to church or your house of worship on Sunday is as American as apple pie. Which is all true and I like apple pie as much as the next American, especially with vanilla ice cream and I love baseball and hot dogs especially when they go together. But there’s something even more American than all of those things that is older than all of those things as well and I would argue even more American than all of those things and as liberal democratic as anything you’ll ever find which is our First Amendment and constitutional right to free speech which includes our right to protest.
The phrase American exceptionalism gets thrown around a lot and considered racist by the Far-Left and some now on the Far-Right don’t like it because it’s used to complain about how undemocratic right-wing government’s around the world operate, but this expression not only exists, but is true. Our diversity not just ethnically, racially, culturally, religiously including people who aren’t religious at all such as myself, and our political diversity all makes America very exceptional. And one thing that Americans all have in common is that they believe in the right to protest and are more than willing to express ourselves when we see something in government or is going in the private sector that we don’t like and feel the need to express ourselves about what we don’t like.
To just use the example from The New Yorker about American protest from the last 50 years, but I would take that up to the last 55, 60, 65 years with the civil rights movement that was about expanding civil rights to African-Americans who were being denied their constitutional rights in America simply because of their race and denied access in America simply because of their race. And someone like Dr. Martin Luther King comes along and says this is not only wrong, but needs to stop and that there is not only something that can be done about this racism, but has to be done for the Constitution to mean anything when it says that all American men ( which includes women ) will be treated equally in America with all of us having the exact same basic constitutional rights.
The anti-war movement from the 1960s and 70s with all of those Baby Boomer Americans protesting the Vietnam War, is another great example of liberal democracy in action in America. Americans protesting for a cleaner environment, the women’s movement that said that women shouldn’t be treated inferior to men in America simply because of their gender and should be allowed to pursue their own American dream just like men. The gay rights movement from this era that said that gays shouldn’t be locked up institutionalized or denied access in America simply because they’re gay.
If you want a Republican leaning example at least, I would give the start of the Christian-Right movement in the late 1960s that protested the cultural changing of America with personal freedom on the rise with Christian-Conservatives protesting against what they see as immoral. Like women’s and sexual liberation, homosexuality, pornography, essentially protesting against the 1960s. As well as Conservatives protesting in favor of Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan in the 1960s and then again in the late 1970s which you could at least argue was the start of the early Tea Party movement in America before the Tea Party movement from 10 years ago.
You don’t have to agree with every protest and every political movement that happens in America to believe in free speech and the right to protest, you just have to understand the First Amendment in the Constitution and our constitutional right to free speech which of course includes political speech which is just one thing that it protects. But I think you’ll have a hard time arguing with any credibility whatsoever that you believe in America and love America and are a true American Patriot, if you don’t at the very least acknowledge our right to free speech and to protest. Even if you don’t agree with that fundamental right, because our right to protest and free speech in general is as American as the American flag itself.
The New Yorker: A Hundred Years of American Protest, Then and Now
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