There should always be a place for peaceful protests.

In fact, there must be. 

Nothing is more American than a protest. 

Enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the right to peaceably assemble in protest against the actions or inaction of government is part and parcel of American liberty. 

If we cannot speak out against the government, or other issues in our society, we are not free. 

The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects protesters and thereby protects our freedom. 

These are the sacred words of democracy:

“Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The same 45 words of the First Amendment which protect everyone’s rights to practice their own faith and religion, protect the rights of protesters, whether you agree with their cause or not. 

To be clear, protesting is not rioting and rioting is not protesting. 

And, to be even more clear, peaceful protesters should not be maligned or denied their rights because of bad things that others may do in the name of protests, anymore than anyone’s religion should be maligned or denied because of bad things people may do in the name of religion. 

Local authorities should always make sure protesters can protest.

Sometimes protesters may be loud and they may shout things, carry posters and express themselves in ways that you personally find objectionable, but if we only defend and allow the speech we agree with then free speech does not really exist. 

None of us wants to live under a repressive form of government but when we would deny the rights of people to peaceably assemble, to petition the government for a redress of grievances and to exercise their full rights to free speech, we are taking a huge step in that direction. 

Government should never take steps to silence its critics and that is true whether we are talking about federal, state or local government. 

The right to protest is not a Republican right, or a Democrat right, it is a basic American right. 

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