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Didn't Vote? Don't Protest

The First Amendment is amazing; it gives us the right to voice any and every opinion we may have, and also protects our ability to peacefully protest. I support and respect this right wholeheartedly, but if you’re going to protest, at least know what it is you’re protesting.

After the election, it was clear that people were upset. But in taking to the streets and protesting the election, it seems like most people were just gathering for the sake of following the herd.

During the protests, I heard multiple people advocating for disbanding the Electoral College, for Hillary Clinton to sue the U.S. and, most commonly, for an electoral “redo.”

Here’s the thing: you don’t get a redo just because something didn’t work out in your favor. Clinton may have won the popular vote, but that’s not how American elections work. We have a system of representation in place to protect us from tyranny.

Trying to bribe Electoral College voters to deny Trump the votes he rightfully won is equivalent to saying that we should throw our democracy out the window.

The presidential election isn’t a UFC fight. There are no rematches if someone doesn’t win the first time around. We hold one election and the victor becomes our president for the following four-year term. Taking to the streets in protest is pointless. It was pointless in 2012 and 2008 when Obama was elected, and it’s pointless in 2016 for Trump.

If you want to see real change, then say it with your vote. If you want to see a difference, look toward midterm elections. Change comes from grassroots movements. You have the power to advocate for your position all you want through lobbying and campaigning.

Taking to the street makes your position heard, but unless you can convince people to go to the polls in favor of your position in the next set of elections, it’s all for nothing.

Most people protesting didn’t even know why they were doing so. All they knew was that they were upset and that they didn’t want to believe the outcome of the election.

Marching through the streets to strip a person of a title they rightfully earned before they even have the chance to take office says that there are hundreds of Americans who would rather demolish our system of government than see somebody other than who they wanted in office.

The fact of the matter is, whether you like it or not, we are going to have a new president come January. You have every right to be upset, worried, nervous or angry. You also have every right to protest. But just know that real change doesn’t come from shouting in the street and disrupting traffic. Real change comes in the form of democracy. We have a government that truly works for the people, even if it doesn’t always necessarily feel that way.

Today is the day to start advocating for the issues that matter most to you. And though it may seem like a difficult feat, if you are truly passionate about something you can convince others to follow suit. If enough people care and cast their votes accordingly, then you will see a difference.

The views and opinions expressed in the Op-Ed section are those of the authors of the articles. They are not an endorsement of the views of The Chronicle or its staff. The Chronicle does not discriminate based on the opinions of the authors.

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