David Leonhardt’s Feb. 28 column, “Protests are hollow without votes,” left out some key information.
While it is true that votes are an important factor when it comes to political change, protesting is the driving force that brings attention to what changes are needed. Because the news media is attracted to dramatic displays of dissent and is Americans’ primary source of information, protesting is an effective way to gain attention. Protesting also provides people with a way of expressing their disapproval of political matters when politicians fail to act on the behalf of the people.
Leonhardt also failed to recognize the challenges that young, liberal, democratic protesters face when attempting to vote. Not only are some protesters not of voting age, but they also may not have the time due to school or work requirements. While the law allows for time off to vote, it doesn’t consider the missed educational time or dollars that protesters often can’t afford to lose. So, protesting when they have the time or money is often more convenient and plausible.
While protesting may not be the be all and end all in executing change, the efforts cannot be dismissed as unimportant to the democratic process.