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Some Things Never Change: Protesting in America

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Written by Joseph Carrick

The weekly protests outside the Capital Building have not been going over well for protesters, which means that their plan is working perfectly. Critically acclaimed actress and life-long protester Jane Fonda was arrested alongside fellow co-stars in order to bring attention to the issue of climate change. Honestly, who else but Jane Fonda would take the bullet (thank god not literally) and risk some minuscule fine and community service in order to bring more attention to the lowkey collapse of Earth’s ecosystems? She began her political activism in the 1960s in support of controversial and politically incorrect causes such as the Civil Rights Movement – a passing fad that receives a brief overview in the American public-school system. 

How we view the Civil Rights Movement has changed since the 1960s. The mass media viewed this pivotal moment in American history in the most predictable way possible – by reporting only the most violent and/or sensational moments without much regard to the underlying causes of these protests. Naturally, the American public reacted the exact same way they do today. Not by investigating police violence nor the discrimination that obviously surrounded protests focused on civil rights. Instead the protesters were accused of insinuating violence and conservatives pushed for protesters to face the full force of law.  

Times have not changed much in the past 50-ish years, although I will give some credit to the police. They have managed to not murder college students, thus successfully avoiding a repeat of the Kent State Massacre, the University of New Mexico stabbings, and the police-incited Hard Hat Riot. We have come so far as a society. Contemporary media typically regards such protests in the most sensational way possible, and true to this maxim headlines mention Fonda’s frequent arrests, but they do not mention the cause thereof. Doing so would be too political and controversial, and god forbid a news organization ever be political in anything it does. Assuming Earth is still inhabitable in 50 years, hopefully a more objective view of protesting can be made from a change in how news is reported.