Why I would never protest a peaceful protest

The Women’s March rallied more than one million people at hundreds of rallies – women and men of all walks of life, varying political beliefs – all coming together under one of the core principles of the First Amendment: the right to join with fellow citizens in peaceful assembly. Zero arrests were made because it was just that, a peaceful protest.

Yet it didn’t take long for people to search for something with which they could use to attack this historical event. Women marching for equal rights were quickly labeled as your stereotypical bra-burning, man-hating women. Marchers were critiqued for their signs being too loud. For their signs being left on the ground. For being pro-choice. For being pro-life. For being ungrateful because we get to live in America. For gathering at all – because protesting is allegedly pointless.

Women began taking to social media to protest the march. To protest feminism. To protest protesting. And while I would never force my beliefs upon anyone else, I would also never silence someone else’s right to voice their beliefs that differ than mine.

Protesting a protest on the basis of not being able to relate to the people protesting is an attempt to silence a segment of people under the presumption that your America is their America. It isn’t, and this is why protesters protest – so people will simply listen. When did we become a nation so quick to counter and so slow to listen?

If you believe women in our country have nothing worth fighting for because you didn’t have to fight for your successes, then you are seeing this movement through a fortunate bias.

If you believe that being a woman in America means we should sit down and count our blessings, then I hope you are at least consistent in your logic and that you’ve also stopped fighting for progress in other gaps like unemployment and health care … because America. *sarcasm.

You are entitled to your bias, but you are not entitled to extend your bias onto others. You get to choose the causes you care about, and you get to fight for those causes. But can we be adults here, and leave room for others to fight for causes they they care about, too?

No one forced you to march if you didn’t feel compelled to. No one is demanding that you re-consider your stance on feminism. The women behind this movement just wanted their stories told, their experiences shared and their concerns heard as valid concerns.

So, tell me again, why is this so appalling – so threatening?

When a friend comes to you in tears and tells you that they are hurting, do you use their hurt as an opportunity to tell them how good you feel?

I don’t.

I listen. I lend a shoulder. Even if I have no idea what it is they are going through, I open my door and I open my heart – because sometimes sharing compassion and solidarity is more important than seeking out our differences. 

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