Greetings, ladies and gentlemen
Have you noticed how, recently, a lot of people in many countries take to the streets as soon as they got some problem with the government (or someone else)? Examples: Turkey, Brazil, Egypt, the Zimmerman case.
What I’m not so sure about is whether these people actually understand the situation they are complaining about. In the Egypt case, what they just did seems pretty dangerous for democracy. They overthrew a democratically elected government, because some people (about half the country, I gather) decided they didn’t like the policies of the elected.
Also, in the Trayvon Martin/Zimmerman case, there are a lot of people protesting and I really don’t know if they looked closely at the case. From what I’ve read about it on the internet, it’s not at all clear that Zimmerman was guilty. It seems more like the opposite to me, so the decision is probably just. The problem appears to be that this case was much publicized and was claimed to be about race, although the prosecution had a hard time proving that was Zimmerman’s motive. Another thing the protesters seem to be missing is that Zimmerman was not being tried for profiling the guy (I think he actually was, and also that it was wrong for him to get out of the car and follow Trayvon), but for 2nd degree murder. At best, if one reads about the case, the conclusion should be that it was far from beyond the reasonable doubt that Zimmerman was guilty of the crime he was charged with.
The protesters have a right to protest, of course, but it would be better it they were well-informed.
I guess, the fundamental thing in all these cases, is explaining how these movements form. I suspect that the internet and the media have a lot to do with it. I think during the Arab Spring websites like facebook and such helped people to coordinate and share information, which was a good thing in that context. But this can backfire in situations like the ones above. It seems that, now more than before, someone says something on a website or in the media, and a bunch of people are quick to rally, whether or not there is anything to it. This is what I referred to as a culture of protest. The basic concern is how much people can be manipulated by hearsay and inadequate information, and pure opinion (as opposed to knowledge). I think it should matter who you listen to and who you follow. If a group of people on facebook start a campaign against this or that, the ideal citizen should first get more information about the matter and see who these protesters are. This is something that it’s not clear most people who protest do.