Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Death of Revolution and Civil Disobedience

For my upcoming topic, I plan on exploring how the value American culture has placed on revolution has started to die. While this may sound rather dramatic, no less can be said of the current state of the U.S. in its dealing with new "revolutions" concerning the economy, politics, etc.

The United States has historically been very supportive of the revolutionary spirit. From the founding of our country to the Civil Rights movement, the vast majority of Americans are proud to talk about the successes various revolutions have had over the course of American history. Of course, there is no denying that these revolutions were met with strife and conflict. However, American culture has always celebrated the overcoming of these conflicts, reinforcing the idea that standing up for one's beliefs is a noble and respectable act.

Yet, for however much we state that we are in support of the revolutionary spirit, our actions speak otherwise. One needs to look no further than the Occupy movement, arguably the biggest movement in recent American history, to see evidence of our rejection of revolution as an American value. Protesting unfair business and political practices, the Occupy movement has generally been met with strong resistance from authorities.

This movement has consistently striven to defend the American public from unfair practices by the so called "one percent". People of all backgrounds and from all classes (even the wealthy) have shown support for the movement. However, there appears to be an equal, if not greater, group of citizens against the Occupy movement. Many people believe members of the Occupy movement to be unjustified in breaking the law to support their revolution. They believe that, by not following the established system, the protesters are in the wrong. There are also many citizens who don't feel strongly one way or the other about the movement but who believe that the protesters shouldn't break the law in their demonstrations. Why not continue to protest, but do so legally?

A better question to ask: what happened to our value on civil disobedience? We are quick to cite Rosa Parks in the Civil Rights movement or George Washington and the founding fathers when describing American pride, yet we shun the Occupy movement for doing the same thing these spearheads of change did.

My paper will be exploring why this contradiction exists. Ultimately, I believe that the idea of revolution being a part of American values has come under strong attack. In my exploration, I will address what I believe to be the causes of this sudden change in thinking concerning the United States and the American Dream.

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