Another week, another protest. Another week and we will see support for the protest and support against it. If you thought the anger would end after the election, you were wrong. Even if Hillary had been elected, the anger and protests would have continued and it may have been worse.
There are three ways to react to a situation, movement or belief. We can protest, support or be apathetic. When we join a side, it is very difficult to see the other side. It goes both ways – that’s why there is very little agreement in today’s political state. All of us are seeing events from “our” side and “our” side only.
Let’s take the Mike Pence speech at Notre Dame. Students walked out quietly to protest his speech. Some of us (me included) blasted them for being snowflakes or hater tots. My side said they were “disrespectful”. The other side declared this a “peaceful protest” and supported the student’s free speech. In their opinion the students carried out a protest in the correct way. President Obama addressed ND students in 2009 and was heckled by anti-abortion activists. Were they disrespectful or were they correct in what they did? Were they disrespectful or exercising free speech?
Who is right and who is wrong? Maybe both and maybe neither. All of us vote by our heart, beliefs, opinions and values. Opinions change and in time, history’s opinion will change as well.
Let’s look at the most famous situation that ended in support and protest:
On a Sunday before Passover, Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem. Crowds gathered to cheer Jesus as he rode into the city. A week later the crowds yelled for Jesus to be crucified. We have always wondered if some of the same people cheered one week and turned the next week. Beside the amazing turn of events in one week, there were two other issues going on: People on the ground at that point really didn’t know what was going on (for real). Many of those cheering in the first week had false expectations that Jesus was coming to be a king and that he was going to free the Jews from Rome. They were cheering but for the wrong reason. A week later the people were paid or told by their leaders that Jesus was a fake and needed to be killed. Those people thought they were right as well. What’s even more amazing is that another group of people sat at home on both of those occasions and were apathetic or ignorant to the whole situation!
If social media and 24 hour news were present in Jerusalem during that week, the city may have been destroyed by protests. On the other hand, the end results probably wouldn’t have changed. There would still be people who thought Jesus was going to save the Jews from Rome and those who wanted him crucified. The only difference would be the amount of hatred, yelling and name calling between the two sides.
Screaming on social media would not have saved Jesus from the cross. The 24 hour media could not have rushed the Crucifixion before God’s timing.
So what is the answer? We study. We learn. We try to be as educated on issues as we can. We have civil debates to compare ideas. We love through differences and we show grace and tolerance. What we don’t do is share hate for hate. We don’t ridicule. We don’t denigrate the other side. We never strike out in violence. I have to confess that I fail at this often. I get too angry and judgmental. I post nasty comments. Friends point it out and I confess and delete and try to do better. Tomorrow is another day. I hope I do better but I won’t promise! Sorry for my offenses and for keeping me in check.