States must protect peaceful protesting

Several states, including our own (Missouri), are involved in the process of submitting bills that would restrict public protests.

One should be very careful concerning such bills because even though public protests can be inconvenient, they are still a peaceful way to demonstrate. One must remember that protests are a part of America’s heritage. Let us not forget the Boston Tea Party.

While many of us become concerned about protecting the Second Amendment, we must be careful to protect the other rights guaranteed under the Constitution, including the right of assembly.

Many people were offended by the act of simply kneeling in protest over equal justice. Kneeling is about as peaceful as one can get in terms of a protest. Some recently became outraged over interrupting traffic flow. It does little good to protest if no one is aware of the protest, whether it is over something with which one agrees or disagrees.

Democracy, when it is working, can and should be a bit messy. Some states are considering even excusing people who injure protesters if they accidentally drive an auto into a protest. I remember even my father protesting with our farm tractor in a farm protest back in the 1970s. Yes, even the farmers interrupted traffic.

Where would we be in terms of the civil rights movement of the 1960s if protesting had been shut down because it interrupted traffic?

It is much harder to reestablish a right than to lose it, especially if peaceful protest becomes restricted.

Ralph Williams


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