Many years ago Virginia, an eight-year-old girl in New York City, wrote a letter to the editor of the newspaper. She asked if there was really a Santa Claus. Those were simpler times. In today’s complex world, children might write and ask if Santa approves of protesters. Letters from children today could be answered like this.
Dear David, Laura, Sam, and Sadie,
You ask, "Does Santa approve of protesters?" – Santa IS a protester. As Santa, he pushes against the unfairness of the world. It is only through dissent and protest that the world can be a safe and loving place for all.
At no time in history has protest been more important, than it is now. It is very important for you to protest any time you see bullying on the playground. Too often nations act as bullies. Sometimes a nation uses military power to impose its will on smaller nations. Sometimes the powerful country uses sanctions. In our recent history, 500,000 Iraqi children – kids just like you and your friends – died because of those sanctions. There should have been more protest about those deaths. We can never allow anything like that to happen again.
Every time you hear about a homeless family, or when you see child without a warm winter coat, or when you see some one being mistreated because of their race, age, or religion – you must speak up. Sometimes people are mistreated because of where they were born – or because their clothes are not nice enough, or because they have a disability. Bullying is wrong. It is always wrong – no exceptions – no excuses. It is wrong when your school mates do it, and it is wrong when our country does it.
Many times citizens ask their government, "Please, stop the killing". When asking ‘please’ fails, protest is the only solution. Dissent is absolutely necessary. The only reason to end protest would be if the government was perfect, fair, and peaceful. No government in history has ever been perfect. If your text book says that our government is perfect, you should protest – speak up. It is very important to learn an accurate history of the United States and the world.
You will study about Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, and Henry David Thoreau. Today there are many other dissenters. There are on-going protests at the Hancock Drone base near Syracuse, NY. Drones that are controlled there kill children in Afghanistan. There are protests at the School of the Assassins at Fort Benning, Georgia. Graduates of that military school have killed many in Central America.
David, in spite of all the sadness, there is reason to rejoice. Every day there are reports of heroic acts of altruism and empathy. Pfc Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are examples of how some can put the welfare of others above their own safety. We have heard the reports of those in the OCCUPY Movement who have been assisting the victims of Super Storm Sandy. The OCCUPY movement is an on-going protest against the unfairness here at home and also the wars we continue around the world. We must follow the example of those who work for peace and justice.
When you see someone acting disrespectful to your teacher, or when you see a student sitting alone in the school lunch room, you can be the special inspiration for others to show love and respect.
There are thousands of reasons to protest – but the most important reason is that it is only through protest and dissent that we can have Peace on Earth and Good Will to All.