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Gary Hart: Moral Authority (on protest) [View All]

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UrbScotty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Aug-18-05 08:27 PM
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Gary Hart: Moral Authority (on protest)
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http://news.yahoo.com/s/huffpost/20050819/cm_huffpost/0...

In the late 1980s the most respected leaders in the world -- Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Lech Walesa (and earlier Martin Luther King) -- all had one thing in common. They had spent time in jail. More important, they had spent time in jail for their beliefs, beliefs that threatened the power structures of their countries. It seems strange that many Americans idolize protesters in other countries and ridicule them at home.

Equally strange is the tendency of conservatives to revere the protesters of early times -- Tom Paine, the Bostonians who painted themselves like Indians and threw tea in Boston harbor, even the abolitionist John Brown -- and vilify those who protest today. Someone once said that conservatives are the worshipers of dead radicals.

Nevertheless, there is a rich history of protest in America, by laborers, by women, by war opponents, by environmentalists, by African Americans, and in almost every case the protests changed American ideas and policies for the better. Protesters make us think, that is those inclined to think. They stir things up, they rock the boat, they challenge the status quo and the conventional wisdom. They force us to look at reality often in painful ways. Protesters sometimes get themselves thrown in jail.

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