The point of demonstrating

Published 6:00 am Saturday, December 15, 2018

Since it isn’t happening in the United States, perhaps this is a good time to review the concept of “political demonstration.”

Wikipedia defines political demonstration as, “A demonstration is action by a mass group or collection of groups of people in favor of a political or other cause or people partaking in a protest against a cause of concern; it often consists of walking in a mass march formation and either beginning with or meeting at a designated endpoint, or rally, to hear speakers. Compare mass meeting. Actions such as blockades and sit-ins may also be referred to as demonstrations.”

How does something that is meant to be a social statement and peaceful gathering turn into something so ugly as what is going on in France? We’ve seen it in our country many times, but most people are too emotionally charged on one side or the other to see the wrongness of the whole thing.

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What causes a peaceful demonstration to turn into a riot in which ordinarily law abiding, peaceful citizens go on a rampage of destruction? I believe it is often caused by agitators sent in to the mix by those on the outside with a political agenda. They use the crowd mentality and a few angry people and loud voices to stir things up to benefit their own prejudices.

Once a crowd is whipped up into a frenzy, destruction begins. Fires have been set, store windows smashed, vehicles burned and flipped over. Demonstrators even began to chip away and centuries old landmarks.

I ask, how does this destruction of property belonging to other private citizens help whatever cause a group is protesting? It makes no sense to me for any group to go into a community and begin to destroy all things in their path out of anger and attention getting behavior. Even if the points of contention are highlighted or brought into focus, how does it justify the destruction of private property?

And how does attacking the police force, the group of individuals who daily put their life on the line to protect a community, make any sense? How does harming these public servants who are only doing their job enhance or promote their cause?

If those creating the hostility and destruction of property had the same things happening in their neighborhoods and to their own personal belongings, how would they feel? Would they consider such behavior justified?

I believe citizens have a right to peaceful demonstration and public gathering to voice their opinions. However, agitating the crowd, stirring up emotions, and provoking violence doesn’t seem right to me at all.

Why, as intelligent adults, can people not sit down and work out their differences without seeing each other as the enemy? I would love to hear and see more gatherings like the Deborah’s Voice Gathering in Washington, D.C. back in September in which women came together to pray FOR the country, FOR our children, FOR our president, FOR Christian liberties. Most gatherings are birthed by people saying what they are against instead of what they are for.

Everyone has a right to an opinion, even when those opinions are in opposition. But no one has a right to destroy another person’s property violently because they are upset about injustices totally unrelated to the owner of the property.

During the season of love and joy, I wish above all that around the world for at least this season, there could be peace on earth, good will toward men.

Reach longtime Enterprise columnist Judith Victoria Hensley at or on Facebook. Check out her blog: One Step Beyond the Door.