I’ve been to a fair share of protests here in Manhattan. For the record, I don’t go there to purposefully troll anyone, I’m just curious as to what rouses people from their homes in order to speak out for what they believe in. A lot of the times, these protests are full of chaotic thoughts with no clear direction. I’m not saying these people shouldn’t protest or anything, but directionless, generic chanting while asking bystanders to join the movement seems more like a waste of time rather than a step toward social change.
I bring this up because the chanting is what interests me the most. If you want to invite people to join you in whatever movement you stand for, parroting the same phrases over and over again isn’t going to accomplish that. If anything, it’s more than likely going to drive people away and let them know you have no real position. There’s something to be said about choosing your words carefully, especially when you find yourself put on the spot.
In this call-out culture, we often hear the voices that are loudest and say the most inflammatory things, since they’re short, punchy, and easily tweetable. These are the people who are also held to the highest regard, at least to fanboys who defend their every action. But we’re learning that we don’t need to say every little thought that pops into our heads right when we think it. That can sometimes lead to misspeaking, incorrect interpretations, and just general ire from those who choose not to understand.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a breath so you can carefully plan out your thoughts. We don’t always have the answer right away. Things take time to develop, as does gaining the insight you need to speak on a subject. So choose your words wisely. Rhetoric dies once the issues are fixed. Eloquence has the staying power.