Protests have notably increased ever since Trump went into office. Marching has been a prominent way of protesting and is a great way to bring awareness to a certain event or situation — however, in this day and age, it is not a productive way to invoke change, especially if it’s a political matter.

As society evolves, we need to change the way we protest. For example, after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, students across the nation participated in school walk-outs to protest against gun violence. I think that a walkout is an appropriate way to honor the victims of the shooting and illustrate public vexation, yet this is not an effective way to enact change on gun policies, which the majority of students think that the walkout is for.

The government is not going to make millions of changes after school shootings. In fact, evidence has shown that there have been few federal laws changed after multiple school shootings. The government does not take action to undertake the issues that are being protested because they essentially view marching as a group of people complaining over something. Marching does not accelerate the law-making process, especially in this case, because gun control is a highly divisive issue between members of Congress, and it is extremely hard to pass a bipartisan bill regarding gun control.

Photo: Backbone Campaign

Additionally, the media plays a significant role in how impacting a protest can be. For example, the Women’s March gets a lot of attention from the media, but I felt that this past march was just group therapy for Trump haters. Many signs were targeted towards Trump, which is not the point of the Women’s March. This high focus on Trump’s presidency part of the march from the media took away from the overall effectiveness of the march

Furthermore, when the FCC was voting on removing Net Neutrality, many people went marching and protesting. Petitions were made, and there was a national outcry. However, the FCC still voted to remove it. Why would they if so many people were against it? Because they don’t care. For the next week after the vote, people were upset and ranting on social media. However now, not a word is spoken about it. It is a forgotten cause, and people have moved on.

To enact change in America, don’t expect it to be as easy as marching around with a sign for a day or two. There are much more effective ways of enacting change, such as talking to your local representatives or going on strike. Additionally, using your vote is critical for achieving change, and it shouldn’t go to waste.

Marching is probably the least effective way to invoke change, though it is a good way to bring attention to something, whether it be a policy or event. You should remember that there is a high chance nothing will happen at a federal level when there is a march. However, that should not discourage you from marching. Bringing awareness to pressing issues is critical for our democracy, and should not be overlooked.

Photo: Jim Kelly

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