There’s Nothing Like a Good Protest

The tweet was liked and retweeted thousands of times. No one remembered who the original tweeter was, but they understood the importance of the message: “We’re protesting outside the White House this Saturday. Bring your signs and loud voices!”

Melissa Diamond, a 30-year-old mother of three, showed the tweet to her husband. “Wanna go?”

Mike Diamond shrugged. “What exactly are we protesting?”

“I’m not sure,” Melissa said. “The usual stuff, I guess.”

The Diamonds took their 16-year-old son, David, along. He wanted to write a report for his school newspaper. He was surprised to see more than 10,000 people gathered in front of the White House gate, coming together through a single tweet.

David heard two young men chanting, “Build the wall! Build the wall!”

“Are you concerned about all the people coming across the border?” David asked.

“No, we just love walls,” said one man. “We’re graffiti artists.”

Added the other man: “We want to set a Guinness World Record for longest work of art.”

“What are you going to draw that’s so long,” David asked.

“I don’t know,” the first man said. “Maybe the president’s nose.”

David spotted a group of women chanting, “No more borders! No more borders!”

“You want to get rid of all borders?” David asked.

“Well, most of them,” one woman said. “You should see the ones on my mother-in-law’s living room wall. They’re hideous. I’ve told her to remove them, but she’s a traditionalist. She loves borders.”

David walked to the other end of the crowd, leaving behind the chants of “Build the wall!” and “No more borders!”

He spotted a man holding a sign that said, “Axis of Evil: Russia, North Korea, Facebook.”

“Are you upset that Facebook is sharing your data with other companies?” David asked.

The man shook his head. “No, I’m upset that Facebook is allowing all my friends to share their vacation photos. Because of that, my wife and I are always miserable.”

“Can’t you just unfriend them?”

“I could, but who would I share all my dog photos with?”

David spotted a bearded man holding a sign that said, “Mr. President, Stop Promoting ‘America First!'”

“Don’t you want America to be first?” David asked.

“I do, but we’re taking it too far,” the man said. “We’re first in school shootings, first in illegal drug use, first in incarceration! It’s not always good to be a world leader.”

David came across a man in a red cap holding a sign that said, “Four More Years!” Next to him was a woman holding a sign that said, “Four More Ears! If you had ’em, you’d listen better.”

David returned to his parents, who were holding signs of their own. Melissa Diamond was holding a sign that said, “Clean up Your Mess!”

Mike Diamond was holding a sign that said, “Stop this madness!”

“What madness are you talking about, Dad?” David asked, hoping to get another good quote for his article. “The president’s tweets?”

“No, your mom is trying to get me to do more cleaning at home.”

“Why are you protesting here, Dad?” David asked.

“So other men can join in. We mow the lawns and take out the trash – we shouldn’t have to do household cleaning too.”

Melissa smiled at David. “Don’t you just love it?”

“Love what, Mom?”

“The freedom to protest. There’s nothing like it.”

“Does that mean Dad’s going to get his way?”

“No, but he’s free to keep protesting.”

If you enjoyed this piece, you'll love Melvin's novel Bala Takes the Plunge, available in North America through Amazon.com and McNallyRobinson.com You can also find it at major bookstores in India and Sri Lanka or online at FlipKart, IndiaPlaza, FriendsofBooks or other sites. A number of readers have written reviews of the novel. An excerpt of the novel can be read here.

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