Here’s to the peaceful protests

Published 5:35 pm Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Peaceful protests, rallies and marches are an integral part of the bedrock of democracy.

We think the activities organized and attended by members of the Longwood and Farmville communities centering around refugees being admitted into the United States and against the controversial executive order signed by President Donald Trump were great.

We think, too, the people who came in support of the refugee ban and in favor of a wall at the Mexican and United States border are to be commended, along with those protesting in opposition.

These protests were peaceful. There was no violence, no burning cars in the streets, no smashing storefront windows and no protesters fighting each other.

Many on social media offered comments that chastised the protestors’ presence. While it’s healthy to disagree and agree on the issues or opinions of those protesting, opposing the presence of a peaceful protest or rally proves as a threat to democracy.

Whether it’s advocating the pro-life agenda, the National Rifle Association, increasing minimum wage, increasing funding for public education, supporting our troops, supporting the rights of same-sex couples or building a wall to keep illegal immigrants out of the country, the right to peaceful protest is one guaranteed by the constitution, and one that should be regarded as an honorable exercise in keeping the freedom of speech alive.

Every protester on Longwood’s campus and on the lawn at the Prince Edward Courthouse — whether for or against Trump’s ban — are to be commended for exercising their rights and strengthening democracy.