The Post-Election Communication Dilemma


Samantha Denny, Writer

Following the presidential election, a large part of the nation has been in uproar.  People have taken to the streets in protest of the election of Donald Trump as the President of the United States.

While freedom to assemble is protected by the First Amendment, that protection only extends to peaceful assemblies. And some of these recent demonstrations have turned violent.  Some protesters have looted storefronts and set fires in streets, all while shouting their grievances to the world.  While there are plenty of peaceful marches and demonstrations that have been organized to ask for peace, we cannot ignore the growing problems with the collective protests.

The right to protest does not always effectively get the desired message across.  In addition to fomenting violence, protests encourage people to take to the streets instead of sending their voices to their representatives and senators to try and promote change.  It is important to write and call instead of protest because while elected representatives may desire nothing more than to shut off the news and close the blinds to avoid the protesters advocating for change, they cannot continuously ignore letters, emails, and phone calls from the citizens.  If the people who want change were to get together and write and call into the offices of our elected officials rather that protest, the influx of calls for change would force the officials to pay closer attention to the problems that need solving.  

It is also important for people to realize that the presidential election is over, and protesting in the streets will not change the election’s results no matter how peaceful or determined the protesters are.  In fact, accepting the results of a democratic election is key to maintaining stability. If protestors continue to declare that Trump is not their president, it creates wide-ranging problems with other countries about his legitimacy.

 We need to exercise our First Amendment right to free speech not by protesting, but by telling our elected representatives that we want change for the better.  While this election has undeniably roused deep feelings of fear as a result of the prejudice directed towards certain groups, people can use their protected right to free speech to contact their elected representatives.  Sometimes, the direct approach to contact is better at getting the message across than the louder approach, even if the latter does attract more attention from the world.  

While the protests have definitely gained media attention, making the issues and the hate crimes harder and harder to ignore, this does not guarantee change.  These protests are raising awareness and displaying amazing solidarity when they do not turn violent, but the protests that turn violent can provide the lawmakers with reason to dismiss the voices calling for reform.  

Instead, the American people should make their voices heard by writing to their elected officials and calling in, expressing their desire for the country to turn in a different direction.  While there has been historical success with protests advocating for change, success has also been found with people exercising their right to free speech through communication with elected officials.

Some argue that those who oppose the protests intend to silence the voices of the people, but that is not true.  People need to make their voices heard by writing and calling in to their representatives and senators to ask them for change with the passage of laws that promote social justice and equity.  This has been proven by history to be an effective method to get the world to listen.  

Now is not the time to protest in the streets about the election’s results.  Now is the time to take the results to heart and use our voices to make a change in the laws of our country.

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