"Well-behaved women rarely make history" --Laurel Thatcher Ulrich
Another thread prompted me to write this. I know that political discussion is verboten here, so I will limit my discussion to politics in the abstract and not mention any specific political hot buttons.
The nature of protest is to create a disruption and make oneself noticed in order to make a point. This is anathema to etiquette, which advocates against creating undue disruption or calling more attention to oneself than is necessary. Does this mean that it is impossible to be socially conscious and polite? Does this mean that we who have an interest in being polite should refrain from social protest?
Thats an interesting topic.
However I believe there is a way to protect without being an absolute jerk. And places where protests often occur (such as where I live in Washington, DC-where I work 2 blocks from the White House) the people there are often not listening to the cause of the protest and instead are just constantly bombarded with it.
Do I care about many political causes? Sure! Will I listen to a reasonable and well thought out arguement? You bet! Will I sympathize with people peacefully protesting in a certain area that is sectioned off? Depending.
But thats not how people chose to "protest" all the time, and there are many many many people who protest as a hobby, an activity, or "professionally" and often don't even care about the cause. These people are simply being rude if their actions affect someone, because they're not even passionate about the cause.
I have encountered protestors doing the follow in my city:
1. Laying down in front of the entrance/exit to the metro (subway). This is incredibly dangerous, as in people get off the escalators and the there are the protestors, laying on the ground completely in the way. No one can go home from work or to do their work on the train. And eventually the police simply instruct us to step on them because we need to get to the transportation. I DO believe they were rude. Someone could have been killed getting off the escalator!
2. The Abortion Bus (and other equally disgusting tacky things) . Around here there is a bus that drive around with pictures of aborted fetuses stuck to it and with a loudspeaker spouting bible quote, anti-choice speak, etc. Its loud, its disgusting and they are completely rude. There are children walking all over the streets, they don't need to see that. And in fact, I don't need to see that eating my lunch either.
3. Traffic Blockers- This happened just last week. I was driving home from work and came upon a group of people IN the road completely blocking a major street to get out of the city. I didn't realize what the hold up was. It usually takes me 5 minutes to get down this street, but that night after 45 minutes of traffic, I come upon this group of "protestors" and they are holding up billboards and screaming and running all over the road. In that case...simply Scr*** you! I have been working for 9-10 hours, I still have a long commute ahead of me, get the heck out of my way. Funny enough they were protesting for PEACE, and the screaming and honking they were evoking was doing nothing but.
So while I do see that people have the right to protest. I feel that people that live in the cities with lots of protests who are the recipients of all the protests simply don't give a fig anymore. I think people who protest should do so within the parameters and maybe even think about how their actions effect those around them. Want the war to stop? FINE. But how is blocking my way to/from work going to help you gain my support?