Column: Do not lose focus with protesting
February 7, 2017
Filed under Opinion
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Whether I am walking through the halls or surfing my Facebook feed, I cannot go anywhere without someone my age spouting their opinion about the Trump presidency.
As a person who has worked and studied in journalism for the past eight years, I am a strong advocate of students expressing their First Amendment rights on and off campus. As someone who does not support Donald Trump and his presidency, I especially support speaking your mind about him; however, we need to make sure we are doing it for the right reasons and in the right ways.
I thought that the Women’s March on Washington was a very powerful demonstration because it was such a coordinated effort that drew a large crowd. People of all ages gathered together to peacefully protest and speak their opinion about a man who they feel is unqualified to be president.
Throughout the past few years, our country has had issues with non-peaceful protesting, e.g. rioting and looting. I understand the desire to try to attract as much attention as possible, but when you use violence and extremism, your message becomes only about that.
Another growing trend in protesting is people who do so to fish for likes on social media. Again, I believe in fighting the good fight, but when I see people posting about how THEY went to a protest, how THEY enjoyed the experience and how THEY are so proud of themselves, I can’t help but think they did not protest for the right reasons.
Protesting is a right guaranteed under the First Amendment, and I am glad that people are utilizing it. However, if you are vehemently against something, your fight against it should not stop at protesting. On Feb. 6, the vote is due to approve or disapprove Betsy Devos for the Secretary of Education. Judging by the amount of protesting I have seen about this choice, I am happy to see that I am not alone in thinking she is unqualified and downright wrong for the job, but there is more that can be done than protesting. If you are against Devos or any of the other picks, call your senator and encourage others to do the same.
I am happy that our Social Justice Club has made an effort to be part of the protests. Toward the end of January, they organized a group of students to carpool to the protest in Chicago, which is fantastic. Aside from the Social Justice Club, I would like to see more on behalf of the Student Government Association in regards to telling students their options on how to speak out against government when they find it unjust.
I implore students and faculty members of PNW to write a letter to the editor to The Pioneer. The student newspaper is meant to be the voice of the university. We are willing to publish letters to the editor from students and faculty as long as they are civil. Protesting is something we must not give up and something we should always take seriously, but and we must make sure we are keeping our focus not losing sight of why we are protesting and our civility when we are doing so in the first place.