Thousands of words and hours of video have already been generated about the events on the east side of our great state. A multitude of opinions are readily available and you certainly don’t want my two cents worth added in.
What I can share with you is that on occasion, I have been upset, frustrated and perhaps even outraged by decisions made by some elected officials or by extreme examples of social injustice. There are things that happen that I cannot comprehend, cannot understand and are very difficult for me to accept.
Despite that fact, I have never carried a protest sign nor participated in a sit-in. I have never felt the urge to partake in violence against others or their property. I have never even written a letter to the editor. But I do believe in protest.
I believe that two very effective means of protest are by ballot and by wallet. I still believe in our system of government that allows us to change leadership. The people we elect are not perfect and never will be. Our hope is always that we elect those who care about others and will do the right thing. I know that sounds naïve, but that is the way the system is designed to work.
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There are retailers who have instituted policies that I do not agree with. It wouldn’t do one bit of good for me to march up and down the sidewalk in front of a store with a picket sign. Chances are, no one would pay any attention to me, and no changes in policy would take place. However, if consumers as a group decide to stop patronizing a store due to unacceptable practices, things just might change.
Will violent protests improve conditions for anyone? What good can come from destructive behavior? I simply can’t find a positive here. And I promise you, I don’t have a magic solution for the folks who feel the need to protest in that manner.
All I can do is make a suggestion based upon my observations. We need to be raising up a generation that shows respect for authority, for property, for one another and for one’s self. We have too many parents who have abdicated their responsibilities in child rearing for their own pleasure. They need to be instilling proper values in our young people. That duty does not belong to the government or the school system, and it certainly does not belong to Hollywood.
In this country, we have the right to respectfully disagree. That’s one of the things that make this such a great nation. The ability to disagree while showing proper respect needs to be demonstrated and taught at home. Only then can that right be properly used in public, in school, in business and in government to effect positive change.
David Coffelt is a Harrisonville resident and CEO of Coffelt Land Title, Inc.