Is Protesting a Patriotic Duty?

The Post argued that young Americans who opposed the Vietnam War were playing a vital role and deserved respect.

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Ribbon with the words, "50 Years Ago"It is very difficult for most Americans to look at a bunch of scruffy men and women marching behind Viet Cong flags and see anything but red. But this does not mean that protest itself is an enemy of the state. Protest is essential to the state, and the freedom to protest is a most vital way of protecting freedom itself. Freedom is not won all at once — it is got bit by bit, dearly, and it is held by an endless succession of fierce, often unpopular fights waged by men who seem at times to be fighting against the good of the nation. The nation must tolerate dissent in the faith that although the majority should and will rule, they should never be cut off from the critical response of the minority.

—“Why Demonstrations?” Editorial, May 20, 1967

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View the editorial, “Why Demonstrations?,” published May 20, 1967, in the Post.

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  1. The writer goes too far in stating that “…protest is essential…” The freedom to protest is essential to our way of life but NOT the protest itself. Protesting is mostly done by malcontents that do not understand the issue for which they are protesting. Most protests are thinly veiled photo opportunities by people wanting publicity – or an excuse to destroy and loot.


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