Chris Johnson

So-called protests amount to whining, hurts those with legitimate causes

Students from several high schools rally after walking out of classes to protest the election of Donald Trump at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 14, 2016.
Students from several high schools rally after walking out of classes to protest the election of Donald Trump at City Hall in downtown Los Angeles Monday, Nov. 14, 2016. Associated Press

When I was a senior in high school, our drama teacher wrote a comical version of “Cinderella” and cast me in a very important role — the anarchist. Actually, she wrote the part just for me. My job was to walk around the stage every now and then with a sign that read “Down with the monarchy” and to occasionally harass the prince.

It made sense. I was not an actor, so I had to play my actual 17-year-old self — a contrarian loner always willing to march alone and oppose authority figures. Today, obviously I’ve changed a great deal — mainly in that I’m not 17 anymore.

But as much as I remain willing to stand up to authority figures now and then, I’m not much for the protest culture. Now, I’m all for protesting when there is a real cause and a goal, but not just for the sake of being part of some movement or whining about something I don’t like.

When folks were protesting Jim Crow laws in the South more than 50 years ago, there was a point. One of the main reasons was to help African-Americans gain access to the ballot box. Ensuring the right of all Americans to vote was an admirable goal and worth the protest. Of course, if they knew then that so few folks today would exercise that right, they might have been a little less determined.

Unfortunately, not only do we have too few folks voting, but we have too many folks protesting the results of the latest presidential election, including a significant portion who didn’t vote. That basically amounts to whining, and it diminishes the power and importance of legitimate protests.

It’s also a tiny fraction of folks unhappy with the election results, but to hear right-wing media outlets tell it, everybody who didn’t vote for Trump is either blocking the interstate right now or curled up in the fetal position in a college classroom where their professor is patting their head and drying their tears. Of course, the same folks insinuating that this crybaby syndrome is reflective of everyone left of center get upset when racists, birthers and redneck militias are cited as wholly representative of their side.

There are many groups out there, including those who have been wrongly denied freedoms through the years, who have legitimate reason to be concerned about what may lie ahead. And there will no doubt be a time to protest over the next four years — and that will be when there is a goal to be achieved or minds that must be swayed.

But for now, these so-called protests amount to whining and hurts those who may have a legitimate protest coming up in the next few years. So, instead of protesting, might I suggest to these few folks that this is merely whining, and if you are determined to whine, here are some appropriate things to whine about:

Those logos constantly superimposed over TV shows. Broadcast news channels that don’t understand what “breaking news” is (It’s not a regularly scheduled meeting.). Restaurants that tell you what sides a dish comes with instead of letting you choose. All-day Christmas music channels. That there’s no Diet Tahitian Treat. And Daylight Saving Time.

Native Americans fighting the pipeline through their sacred grounds — now that’s a real protest. That’s an honorable cause and a clear goal. As for the election whiners, especially the ones who didn’t bother to vote, y’all doth protest too much.

Way too much.

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