Protests have become a staple of America culture. We protest for issues that matter to us, and we have the right to take a stand against policies we feel are unfair with freedom of speech. However, efforts to fight for change are often in vain when the government cannot listen to the voices of the many.
Protests are widespread because they are the simplest form of political activism that anyone can partake in. Anyone can join to support a cause he/she believes is worth fighting for. Once a protest becomes well known, it becomes easy to continue spreading awareness and gathering supporters. One voice has the power to become thousands of voices.
Politically, however, power remains at the top tiers of politics and, although protests bring the power of change to the hands of the everyday person, the top tier controls the outcome of a call to change. A protest pushes boundaries to catalyze change on a broader scale, yet their ability to bring long lasting change is often ineffective.
The protests against going to war with Iraq in 2003 ended with an outcome that did not coincide with the voices of the majority of Americans. Millions of people across the globe shared their voices, to no avail. The United States was at war with Iraq merely a few weeks later. In this case, the protests urged people to take action in the hopes of them being heard. Their voices were heard, but the people only have a limited amount of power over the government’s eventual decisions.
In the past year, America has seen a rise in the number of protests against gun ownership as a result of an increase in mass school shootings. The victim of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School took it upon themselves to protest against gun violence and fight for the implementation of policies restricting gun ownership. This movement spread in high schools all throughout America. In response to their pleas, private companies have acted and discontinue sales of arms, however the government has failed to hear the voices of survivors and stop such horrors from occurring through a policy. A few companies taking action doesn’t account for guns being sold in other ways.
Through protests, people are able to vocalize their views and advocate for change, but sometimes voices are not enough to push the government to change.
Higher powers have the last say as to whether or not they should heed the words of protesters and reform policies, so we need to change who holds a seat in power. To make our voices heard, we need to take action beyond protest and vote for those who listen the needs of the public, who understand why we demand a change in policies.
Election year is nearing, and political candidates are making themselves known throughout America. Last year, only 58.1 percent of Americans eligible to vote actually voted. As a democracy, that number should be more than 60 or 70 percent. Many high school seniors will be able to vote in the upcoming election; it is crucial to take the opportunity to vote for people who can implement the change called for by protests you support. Change who wields power over policies that matter.