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Time to stand up, but much easier just to sit

I can’t recall a time when I have seen so many protests on the evening news. Each night….somebody….. somewhere, is shouting at the top of their lungs, fist raised in the air protesting whatever injustice happens to be located squarely in their lives.

Stan Hall

Some are just loud, some include violence, but all are full of passion that may be newly acquired or the result of festering frustration built up over the years. There seems to be no scarcity of things to stand in the streets and yell about.

There is nothing new about protesting. It has been ongoing since the beginning of time.  Our country was born through protest and has seen all levels of protest over the years of our existence.  Protest sometimes results in change, and sometimes, protest seems to make matters worse. But, in either case, protests require a buy-in and commitment to cause from a group of people who are like-minded in their thoughts.

I have watched in fascination with the most recent rounds of protests throughout the world in the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and down into South America and Venezuela.  I’m certain that all of these people feel like their protests are worthy causes and that changes will not result without their voices being heard. Some efforts achieved remarkable change and some have done nothing. Many continue today and the end result of these ventures is anyone’s guess.

I wonder what it takes to get people so fired up that they are willing to take to the streets, and in certain circumstances, be willing to give their life to their cause.  I have often heard people speak disparagingly towards these people as if they are a lesser level of humanity based on their actions with such comments as, “What a bunch of uncivilized so and sos.” I’m not sure that I agree with every cause that would lead someone to the street, but I always admire their courage and their willingness to fight for change. I wonder how many of us would be willing to do the same for a cause that we saw as a just cause. And, what does it take for that just cause to reach such a level of injustice that it calls for such civil protest?

Few would argue that we have plenty of things currently on going on in our country that could be categorized by some as unjust. These issues can be found on both sides of the political spectrum and seem to be growing in number. Granted, in our country, we will recite our views to anyone who will listen. We will sign a petition, we will stick a bumper sticker on our car, call in to a radio show, and we might even show up for a speech on the Capitol steps as one tired old leader of the “cause,” after another gets up and delivers the same old speeches that we have heard so many times before. Maybe they are worthwhile and are an act of our freedom of speech rights that we enjoy, but for the most part, they are quite boring. Most people are more upset about the potential traffic jam that the “protest” causes than whatever the protest might be about…“Can you move that over in a park or something…you’re blocking the way and I’ve got to get my kids to soccer by 6:00…Hooooooooonk!!! Move it!”

Many countries and their people are fighting for many rights and privileges that we already enjoy. The difference is that we have those rights based on the backs of someone before us. When you see a teenager throwing a stone, in the middle of a full-blown attack by a dictatorial military, it makes our protests for protecting the habitat of the East Appalachian tree mosquito a bit trite. Not to say that they aren’t important, but in the grand scheme…. seriously??

I wonder if we have the stomach, penance, or sheer amount of time for protesting anymore. We are very fortunate in our country. So many of the full blown protests that we see in other countries deal with democracy. We have that. They deal with religious freedom. We have that. They deal with freedom of speech and right of assembly. We have that.  They deal with equal rights. We aren’t completely there yet, but we are closer to that than we have ever been. We even have legalized pot for those who have been downtrodden based on the infringement of their  “right” to light up a joint whenever they want.  We also have good schools, a better than average economy, available healthcare, and the possibility of a pretty doggone good life for anyone who is willing to work for it. Wait that’s it.

We have some folks who don’t think that they should have to work for any of this. Those rights that they already have were given to them so why should they have to work for anything else? This is America. We are entitled to great jobs, great housing, free healthcare, and the ability to achieve great assets without any effort. And, if we don’t have these things, it should be given to us by those who do. That is worth protesting for. Never mind that no one gave it to them. Share the wealth!  Maybe. Some might say that this mindset is worth protesting for, but there are just as many who find that sense of unqualified entitlement worth protesting against.

Both sides will have their chance to protest very soon and all within the comfortable climate controlled confines of a voting booth. You won’t even have to have your thumb stamped with purple ink and, oh yeah, you can get to soccer practice in plenty of time.  But, we have some who won’t even do that.  It’s just too inconvenient. Who says that we don’t know how to protest? There are still many reasons to stand up but it’s just easier to sit down in a comfy chair, nicely upholstered in a choice of inherited rights that someone else gave us. We have started a brand new cause known as the rights of the morbidly complacent.  And, for those who wish to see our country at its knees, they are hoping that this “cause” remains front and center.

Excuse me…Hoooooonk! Move it over!  R2D2 is sitting in the middle of the road mumbling something about astoromech droid abuse. I’m all for the rights of the intergalactic oppressed, but I’m running late.  The Kardashians are on tonight.

Just damn!