Stonewall Riots Rhetorical Analysis

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John Locke asserted that government must come from the consent of the governed. The Declaration of Independence professed the right of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. The Constitution cemented the paramount prominence of general welfare for all United States citizens. Since our beginning, we the people have been a characteristically empathetic majority. But we have not always been a beacon of equality: the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, the Stonewall Riots, and even current conflicts between the police force and black Americans exemplify the occasional rift between the government and the governed. Civil disobedience is an effective method for fighting injustice by the way it incentivizes conversation and indirectly…show more content…
Intellectual engagement, though it may be on highly sensitive and subjective topics, is an indicator of a free society capable of persuasive reason and absorption of new perspectives. Nonviolent action, such as a calm sit-in demonstration, incites curiosity among observers. Said attention may be either intrigue or disgust, but it is indeed notice towards a cause (the ostensible reason for protest in the first place). From the disobedient party’s angle, approaching an opposing view with a peaceful thesis encourages debate and opens the door to thorough persuasive reasoning. More often than not, people are inclined to listen to their instincts. However, instinct originates from the thinker’s social milieu and the information they have absorbed over time; hence, people often share similar or identical political views with their families due to their environment conditioning their facts and reason to align with certain specific ideals and views. With much dispute over factual reality versus instinctive feeling as of the recent election season, a firm understanding based in logical reason between two opposing viewpoints has the potential to powerfully and intellectually plant the seed of rationality and civil discourse in the minds of citizens. Discourse places the protester in a position of social power; their nonviolent education of a curious onlooker can both display the ignorance of opponents and attest to the validity of the protesters point…show more content…
For example, to an objective viewer, the Kent State University shootings during the Vietnam War clearly dichotomizes the guardsmen and the four students. Selective media coverage tends to show the most radical events in the course of an issue’s arc. Often, broadcast media covers Black Lives Matter and other protests that include or are perpetuated by violent disturbances, while overlooking civil meetings, speeches, and demonstrations. Broadcast media is also often restricted to out-of-context sound bites from certain speeches or conferences when covering them, leaving the public to research for themselves what exactly occurred. To an extent, civil disobedience exposes the bias of the media. When disobeying the law in a peaceable manner, the participants lose out on media coverage (due to their lack of sensationalism and interest level to viewers looking for immediacy and sanitization in the coverage of current events) except when called upon by the court of public opinion. In a free society, censorship of topical media bars citizens from a truly transparent government run by and for the people. By speaking out against such bias through action, civil disobedience itself is an act of resistance against censorship, and therefore a proponent of the values of free press and speech. These are keystones in American
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