Peaceful protests and power transitions

After the 2016 presidential election, America seems to be stuck in a battle of emotions. Harsh rhetoric, ads, and more have all contributed to this ember that has grown into an inferno.

Such strong emotions on either side have prompted action after the results of the election were announced. Protesters have taken to the streets in numerous major cities, including Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and more.

This concept of protesting a democratic election is a very interesting paradox in my mind.

In one instance, you have people exercising their first amendment rights of petitioning the government. In simpler words, protesting is a form of petitioning the government. Petitioning the government is a very special amendment in the Bill of Rights, and is talked about with the same reverence of rights such as freedom of religion and speech.

Yet on the other hand of this tricky spectrum, America greatly reveres a peaceful transition of power. This is the concept that, after the campaign is done and the votes are accounted for, the losing side and current party in power will willing and peacefully give up the positions and let the winning side take over.

You must understand, this is actually a very special thing. For those of us that have lived in America most of our lives, we have never known anything but a peaceful transition of power. Consider for a moment the number of countries that have had wars in the last 50 years over a different party trying to take control.

All of this stems from our democratic process.

So today, Americans are living in a strange paradox. On one side, we have displeased Americans who voted and did not like the result using their first amendment rights to reject that outcome, yet on the other hand we live in a country that inherently agrees to a peaceful transition of power.

This conflict of ideals has resulted in many different opinions on the protests that have been happening.

While I am not one to tell anyone what to think or feel, there may be a compromising solution at hand.

If I were to offer any solutions to the protesters who see no foreseeable end to their divergence, I would first say that they have every right to protest as stated. However, I would then encourage them to channel their energies into tangible progress toward their cause. While holding a sign and chanting may satisfy your emotional side of the loss, more practical measures such as reaching out to local government will lead to more effective progress.

By doing this, protesters will not only be using their first amendment rights, but also respecting the system that we put our faith in for nearly 240 years.

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