There is a great sense of privilege and entitlement among some in our community. It is reinforced and encouraged by many more. It is based on the idea that Constitutional rights provide a free pass to all other laws.
It is wrong, it should be wrong, and it needs to be unlearned.
Protesting is protected by the 1st Amendment. It ensures that the government cannot sanction people for what they say. It does not, however, allow you to break other laws without suffering the penalties for doing so.
One of the core principals of civil disobedience is the willingness to go to jail in protest of what you consider unjust. If sitting in the middle of the street is illegal, doing so in protest doesn’t make it any less illegal. You can’t be prosecuted for your protest message, but you can be prosecuted for sitting in the street.
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If you are not willing to accept the legal ramifications for what you do in protest, it shows that you don’t really believe that strongly in your stance. Also, if you decide to protest by interfering with the rights of other people or causing injury (bodily, property, or otherwise), you are likewise going to completely lose any message you had. Calling for tolerance while actively silencing people you disagree with – not a smart move. Smashing a local store window because a government employee did something you don’t like – similarly stupid.
Civil disobedience can be powerful, but only when done properly.