When it comes to courageous writing, it doesn’t get much better than James Ragland. He constantly serves up a menu of thought-provoking lines that allow for wannabee writers like yours truly to do some free cherry-picking.
“And when did civil protest — of any form, really — become the object of scorn in America, even when it’s not hurting anyone except the guy whose butt is on the line? You may not like what Colin Kaepernick is doing, but fighting for what he believes in is about as American as it gets.”
–James Ragland, Dallas Morning news
Ah, the protest. The art of dropping to a knee, raising (or burning) the flag, the clenched fist, the voice, the bullhorn – them all as American as apple pie. And we don’t have to delve too far into the pages of history to see evidence of the origins of protesting. Just follow me. It won’t take long. Promise.
Take 1773 when protesters gathered in Boston Harbor to reject a shipment of tea from the East India Company. They were speaking out against the Tea Act, which allowed that Company to sell its tea at reduced cost. The colonists stormed the ships and chucked some 46 tons of tea overboard. They “protested,” did they not? Just asking.
Then there was the women’s-suffrage movement. Women’s-rights trailblazers spearheaded the strong push for equal voting rights in the mid-19th century. After the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848, the rallying cry for women’s right to vote became a yell too loud to ignore. They protested, did they not? Just asking.
From the textile factories where the first labor unions were formed to the railroad strikes in the Southwest which thrust unions and their demands into the national spotlight — there have been many turbulent moments in labor movement history. They protested, did they not? Just asking.
During the Stonewall Rebellion, gay folks said enough is enough as they struck back at the mistreatment of their flock. They launched a national movement. They “protested,” did they not? Just asking.
When the World Trade Organization hosted its biannual meeting in Seattle demonstrators took to the streets just outside to decry the widening gap between the rich and poor worldwide. They protested, did they not? Just asking.
In January 2009, before President Barack Obama’s Inauguration conservatives started a Tea Party movement and before long, demonstrations sprang up across the country. They protested, did they not? Just asking.
Or how about the “Occupy Wall Street” movement, when 3,000 people assembled at Battery Park with the intention of occupying Wall Street to protest corruption in government? They “protested.” Did they not? Just asking.
And how about this as an “icing on the cake” – the Republican’s ironclad refusal to take a vote on President Obama’s choice to replace Antonia Scalia on the Supreme Court. They’re “protesting”, are they not? Just asking.
Now am I alone in finding it peculiar that protests against racial injustices is categorized differently? Why is it that some “protests” are classified differently; the ones’ described above are typically met with a ho-hum, whereas the boogey man of all boogey men, the protest against racial injustices is met with outcries and a national nervous breakdown? Does it not? Just asking.
Brother Ragland then slipped in the following line that gets to the core of why Colin Kaepernick is a rare breed; why many high profile entertainers and professional athletes don’t dare protest:
“Separating from the herd often comes with a steep price —public shaming, the loss of endorsements, etc. — which is why many celebrities, particularly modern athletes, run with the pack, never championing a divisive cause. They pick up their big paychecks and go quietly into the night”.
Now that line alone by Ragland is a finger-licking article “desert” for another day.
Is it not? Just asking!