On Power and Protest
Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is correcting everything that stands against love.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
My family has been diving deep this week into discussions of the first amendment and what a healthy protest looks like. There has been a lot to unpack for all of us, and these aren't straightforward conversations, especially for young people. That makes them all the more important, however. There is so much responsibility in being a good citizen. We need to understand our rights and how our actions affect those around us.
We've spent a lot of time talking about power. Kids spend so much of their young years navigating power dynamics, whether with parents or teachers or peers. From the playground to the bed time routine, they are constantly negotiating and trying to establish themselves in the world, testing limits and gaining understanding about what it is to exist as a member of a society. Watching current events unfold is a stark reminder that these aren't easy questions to answer even as an adult.
Protest is an important part of providing balance to power, but it's not always a comfortable thing to watch or even take part in. With Martin Luther King Day quickly approaching, I thought King's work as a civil rights leader puts a good focus on what healthy democratic protest and civil disobedience looks like, and how these acts of questioning and resistance brought about changes that helped create the country we live in today.
There are ways that we can all work to improve our society and ourselves. I am learning and growing in my own understanding of what it is to be a good human, and I hope that in encouraging young people to question, listen, analyze facts, and stand up for themselves and for others, we can grow a healthier and wiser future as well.