Protests are happening across the country and within those protests are micro protests. There seems to be zero unifying cause or a clear set of grievances aside from a fragile shared identity. The identity anchoring is mixed with emotional reactions to an event that does not agree with a person’s expectation of reality.
Never judge a book by its cover. Read First. Judge Later.
The media and the majority of the population that did not vote for the current president, are judging events by their remarketed titles. For example, instead of reading the ‘EXECUTIVE ORDER: PROTECTING THE NATION FROM FOREIGN TERRORIST ENTRY INTO THE UNITED STATES’ the headline was twitterized to ‘Muslim Ban.’
The word “Muslim” does not appear once in the executive order; however, the revised, advertised title is more memorable. And dishonest.
It’s easier to share and get behind, or against, “Muslim Ban” than it is to get behind a lengthy house resolution name, or paragraph-long executive order.
Politics aside, our brains love shortcuts, and we seem to be shortcutting our way to anger, fear and outrage.
Before sinking into your preferred emotional trigger to an event sponsored by someone you disagree with, ask yourself: “What part of this bill/executive order/what this person says do I disagree with?”
Overall, how can we possibly build a case for or against any cause without a specific set of incisive examples? We cannot expect to get anywhere if all we do is react by emotional outbursts, rather than intellectually battling laws we disagree with, and providing propositions for change.
MLK Jr, Malcolm X, Ghandi, Jesus – they had very specific grievances that are clear to us. Today, our grievances must be more specific. To provide feelings as a basis for protest makes an unclear movement.
A Bill of Specifics
Imagine if the NSA is bringing a case against you and claims that somewhere within the terabytes of data they’ve collected from your emails, social media accounts, phone records, texts and browser history from the last 15 years is an example of you conspiring against the McDonald’s corporation.
Thankfully, the 6th Amendment protects against broad stroke accusations: “The accused shall enjoy the right…to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusations.”
If the disclosure materials presented to you are too broad in scope, you have the right to demand a bill of particulars.
Read Source Material First
The next time a controversial bill, executive order or damning article arises, read the source material before making a judgement. Ignore the extrapolations of emotional reactions by your judge-a-book-by-its-cover peers and step into a constructive, informed view of reality.
No news source is unbiased, and the source documents will always be the public’s most accessible, pure form of news.
How do you do it? Google it, or check out the links below for source document resources:
Bills in Congress: Congress.gov
Executive Orders: Whitehouse.gov
Over to you
Once I started reading source documents regarding issues that I had a strong emotional reaction toward, I began to better understand where our tax dollars were going, and the media, regardless of outlet, always exaggerates or downplays a bill.
What other sources have you found for source documents? What other areas of our lives could we benefit from reading before reacting? Or, reading source documents about what we are reacting to?
See you in the center.