In the past months since the inauguration of President Donald Trump, protests have crept up across the U.S. as a reaction to his rhetoric and policies.
In regards to the numerous women’s marches, it has become apparent these marches, despite their ability to rally and have voices be heard, lack the capability of getting anything accomplished to further the cause of social justice. If we are really going to create a following and have change, we need to act.
It’s obvious the women’s marches were advocating for equal rights among all races, sexes and genders. Just discussing it and marching about it, however, is not a way to get change made. I could walk out into the street and say, “Murder is awful and it needs to be stopped!” but that won’t get anything done.
To get a following for equal rights, we need to influence and make an impact, not just have everyone hear us. We could scream all day until people think we are crazy, but no matter how loud we are they would still believe we have no logical argument. If all we do is say what we support and get angry with dissenters, then we won’t have anyone feel like it’s their responsibility.
Protests only unify the people that are a part of them. Anyone that looks on to the protesters marching doesn’t really care nor do they have the drive to do anything. If we are to have people join the cause we need to pertain to the needs of those who aren’t already invested in it.
For example, if I want to have people care about a new cereal I’m putting into stores, I wouldn’t tell them my goals and what is important to me as a manufacturer, I’d tell them it’s cheap and is nutritious to have them want to buy it. We need to logically argue and make those who aren’t already involved care about this.
Martin Luther King Jr. rallied numerous people to his cause of civil rights. His public speaking, sit-ins and the Montgomery bus boycott showed Americans what was happening and eventually the American populace created enough uproar to make change happen, then public policy changed along with it. Most importantly, he did it peacefully.
His efforts, along with his supporters, even managed to get him and many others arrested. The combination of he and his followers breaking the status quo as one, however, created a message and, in turn, change occurred. To create real, lasting change, we need a following and actions that fight the status quo of this oppressive society, rather than just one march on a Saturday afternoon.
Eric Corbett ([email protected]) is a freshman at UW-La Crosse majoring in history.