Politics, Patriotism, And The Public’s Perception of Protest

Emma Rigaud successfully makes an argument for the defense of public protest through historical perspectives.

Rigaud begins by addressing the increasingly controversial nature of modern protest and discusses the reasons for the many protests seen today, such as the political climate. Many people say that protesting against the actions of one’s government or one’s country is unpatriotic. However, she asserts that the United States was born out of protest and that continuing to protest is a celebration of that tradition and, therefore, patriotic. Rigaud uses the American values of freedom and democracy to show that the right to protest needs to be protected.

 One of her strongest arguments is the way in which she shows that not only is protesting not unpatriotic, but it is actually patriotic. She links protesting and patriotism by showing that the reasons for protesting in the first place are a desire to make one’s country better.

Rigaud uses emotion most effectively when talking about the American history of protest, particularly in reference to the Civil Rights Movement and Civil Rights leaders. Dr. King is venerated in American history so comparing those who disapproved of King’s protests then and those who disapprove of modern protests is particularly compelling.

Rigaud knows that because of the emotional appeal of Martin Luther King, him being called a “troublemaker with ill intentions” in his own time will be upsetting to modern readers.

The author wrote this essay specifically to address the current perception of many recent public protests.

Her use of logic and emotion are especially effective because of the way she concisely dismantles the opposing points and uses well-known figures, movements, and events to invoke an emotional response from the reader. The audience cannot help but listen to the author carefully due to the competent research evident and the sophisticated resources used.

Rigaud appeals to American values and how they need to be protected through protest, a true form of patriotism.


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