Right to Protest Critical Reaction, Essay Example
Abbie Hoffman is his closing argument before a district court in Massachusetts argued that democracy only flourishes when citizens are given a right to express themselves and not restricted by the government or the political institutions. Abbie Hoffman claims that people have been losing faith in the democracy because they believe government makes all the decisions by themselves without taking into account the wishes of the public. One could be right or wrong in his opinions but that should not be a reason to prevent him from expressing his views. And more than anything else, citizens do not have an obligation to blindly support the actions of the government in a democratic system but instead they should attempt to influence the government from going in the wrong direction. True democracy only exists when citizens do not fear expressing themselves and they believe in their potential to bring change.
Abbie Hoffman could not have been more right. Democracy in essence only flourishes when citizens believe their voice are heard otherwise it will only be a democracy in name. If citizens are prevented from expressing themselves and fear retaliation from the government, there will not be much difference between the U.S. and other so-called democracies such as Russia. Russians claim that their president and prime minister are elected by the public and, thus, they are true democratic systems but anyone closely watching Russian political affairs knows that the political powers and agencies in Kremlin alone make all decisions without any public input.
It has never been a requirement of democracy that one can only express himself if he is right. There are always two sides of the story and ultimately one side may be correct but the right decisions often involve listening to both sides of the story. In court decisions, there is always one victor but the court does give the right to express and defend themselves to both parties. Similarly, the true democratic system allows everyone to express themselves even if the final decisions may not reflect everyone’s wishes. The government is responsible to protect the rights of every citizen in the country whether that citizen supports or opposes its policies.
Hope also provides strength to people to face difficult circumstances. But if people lose hope in a better future, they lose the spirit to live life. As Abbie Hoffman suggested, hopelessness also contributes towards suicides among young people. Democratic system is the best political system for the very reason that it gives hope to the citizens for a brighter future and increases their self-confidence as well as trust in the government. Citizens are more enthusiastic about participating in the political system because they know their efforts will pay off sooner or later.
Democratic system also sends the message that it is ok to break with the tradition and old customs when it feels right to do so just as Thomas Payne preached. This is why democratic system brings prosperity and improvement in the society because each generation doesn’t feel obliged to preserving the traditions and beliefs of older generations.
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