The Constitution specifically guards the right of Americans to peaceably assemble and petition government for redress of grievances. It does not protect against violence, mobs, or riots. 

There’s a reason for this – not just law and order, but also because the founders knew from experience that peaceful protest and civil disobedience are things tyrants fear…and true patriots embrace.

Lawrence Reed reminds us of some of the more effective instances of nonviolent protest and civil disobedience throughout history – from defying a pharaoh’s homicidal edict to the Boston Tea Party, the White Rose Movement, the Civil Rights, Movement, Gandhi’s Salt March, and Eastern Europe’s uprising against communist tyranny:

The Soviet Union’s “Evil Empire” unraveled in the pivotal year of 1989 but leading up to it, citizens from the Baltic states to Romania made life miserable for communist overlords. In Estonia, the “Singing Revolution” put widespread civil disobedience to music. In Poland, a flourishing underground produced massive black markets until the communist regime declared the country “ungovernable” and scheduled free elections. When Romania’s dictator Nicolae Ceausescu sent troops to arrest a pastor in Timisoara, unarmed congregants ringed the church to defend him. The soldiers refused to fire on them, and the Romanian Revolution was underway; the dictator was dead within a month.

Violence begets violence. A principled, peaceful, stand against injustice can get results.

Image Credit: By Cellofellow (Gadsden_flag.svg) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons