Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Protesting Events: Effective or Annoying

Following the 1st game of the 2nd set of the semifinals between Coco Gauff & Karslina Muchova the match was interrupted by protestors for 49 minutes.  Some of you may have been watching.  Did you find it Effective or Annoying, or did you even know what the protest was about? 

Suffragettes Protesting for the Vote.

Sometimes protestors appear at events that they oppose, but other times the protests have little or nothing to do with the event or location of the protest.   Where do these protestors get the right to publicly protest?  The answer is that they are protected by the 1st Amendment; however, the right is not without limits.  It is strongest in locations considered "traditional public forums,' such as streets, sidewalks, and parks.  It may also be exercised by permission of the owner of the property where the protest takes place, and the owner can set rules.  Even on public property, there may be particular rules permits.  The right to protest is a valuable right. 

Clearly the US Open was not public property, but in today's world, the management had anticipated the possibility of protestors and had set aside a particular location.  However, the protestors who interrupted the tennis match were inside the arena when they interrupted the match, shouting about Climate Change and wearing shirts that read "End Fossil Fuels."  An environmental activist group "took credit," with their slogan "no tennis on a dead planet."  Their spokesperson said their purpose was to urge the government to stop approving fossil fuel projects. 

Three of the protestors were easily removed, but the fourth protestor chose to glue his bare feet to the floor of the seating area, requiring medical personal to safely remove him.  During that time, those who had paid to attend the match and those watching on television were interrupted, as were the tennis players.  It may or may not have altered the outcome of the match, a significant financial impact for those two women.  Did the protest accomplish anything productive?  Most people did not even know what the protest was about.  I certainly didn't.  Is it likely that those in the government making decisions about fossil fuels were influenced?

Some might say that the fact that I am posting this blog is proof of success, although that is not my intention.  It is true that they aroused my curiosity, but my research did not discover their purpose.  Instead, I found an article online by someone who missed their intended objective, writing instead about the ecological impact of tennis balls!  According to that article, 330 million tennis balls are produced yearly, with 125 million tennis balls discarded into the trash each year.  The three words on the protesters t-shirts, "End Fossil Fuels," seemed insignificant to their purpose.

According to doctors, "Tennis is an excellent cardiovascular exercise that improves muscular strength, endurance, balance, coordination and agility."  It has become a popular sport, in a nation where we need to encourage exercise.  We dispose of far more indestructible and unnecessary trash than the tennis ball, which actually has a beneficial purpose to our health.  My blog may reach more people than the four protestors at the US Open Tennis did, and although I share the protestors' concern about fossil fuels, I conclude that their protest was more annoying than effective.  What do you think? 

1 comment:

The Blog Fodder said...

Protests are sometimes for the benefit of the protesters and those who sympathize with them rather than to persuade others. This may have been the case here.
In Canada for the past couple weeks we have had anti-trans groups protesting Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity similar to and no doubt with input from American anti-trans groups. In particular they want schools to out trans students to their parents which of course is dangerous to the students. They are countered by other groups who also try to bring truth to the lies told by the anti-trans people. Our provincial government, strongly influenced by the religious right, has passed a law mandating that teachers must tell parents.