I cannot imagine off the top of my head anything more pathetic than several thousand people crowding the streets of a large metropolitan city only to be arrested and carted off to jail.
Add to this the surety of their arrest and the high probability of being beaten in the process of being arrested and one has to wonder about the sanity of those who would deliberately perform such an act.
Protest is not for the faint of heart, but I am beginning to doubt it is for the clear of mind either. Those who wish to stand up and speak out when they see something immoral taking place are rarely the same as those willing to be beaten or even murdered for their beliefs.
Protesters and particularly anarchists have been lauded as this generation's heroes over the past several decades. Not in mainstream media, for sure, but in smaller publications and student papers, protesters have begun to take on a glamour typically afforded those who have actually managed to accomplish something.
Protesters may infect those who witness their acts of self-sacrifice with the strength and courage to finally act on their beliefs...but these actions are largely symbolic, and rarely effect any change whatsoever.
This society, wrongly or rightly, only tends to listen to people who have stable jobs, steady incomes, and significant clout. Standing in the center of a crowd shouting what you are told to say is not the way to go.
Protesters may believe that they are speaking on behalf of the oppressed and silenced of the world, but it would be more effective to permit these people the opportunity to speak for ourselves. We will never be free until we all are, yet what is freedom if not the permission to communicate precisely what we think to the people we wish to communicate this to?
Protest does not accomplish the act of liberation it claims to wish to.
Only art will ever be able to do that.
Protests' gains are shallow victories, its losses tremendous.
Surely for the sake of our children we can think of a better way.