“You’ve gotta fight (bum bum) for your right (bum bum) to paarrrrrrrrtayy.”
I don't know about you, but this used to be what always popped into my head when I thought of rights. In light of recent protests and riots over the past two years, the thought of fighting for our rights has completely changed. Over the last few years, we have seen violent protests, police brutality, and riots that feed on anger and hatred. This behavior is not acceptable and is not the kind of peaceful protesting that we as Americans have the right to conduct.
Our nation has seen a lot of struggles for human rights over the last century. Racism and sexism have been combatted by organized, peaceful protests and in many cases, has proved to be, at least temporality, effective. Something has changed about the way this country enacts change. No longer do we see MLK conducting peaceful demonstrations. Rather, we see towns being set on fire, cars flipped over and innocent bystanders becoming casualties to the rage.
I do not believe this is a one-sided battle. Both sides of the political spectrum are practicing this bad behavior. We see our students being taught to fight for their rights, but they are not given the tools and wherewithal to enact meaningful change.
This problem starts in our schools. On both ends of the spectrum, we see young people getting fired up about their rights and how they believe others are infringing upon their rights. We see young people demanding what they believe is owed to them. What we do not see as often is young people focusing this effort on a direct and actionable political platform. There are too many people that want to make a sign and scream at Trump Towers, but not enough people who want to run for office with a fair and well-thought-out vision.
As students progress into universities, they are empowered to act up against what they see as wrong in the world. We get them angry about all of the injustice, and we tell them that it is their duty to fight it, all without equipping them with peaceful and effective ways of conducting change. This is a recipe for disaster that is continuously perpetuated in our higher education system.
What we need to do is direct our children towards legitimate paths to better our society. Right now we have created monsters that are just angry and don't have any way to deal with it, so they get violent. The only way to fix this problem is to teach our children a healthy way to deal with their issues.