“Resistance” always held a bad connotation connected to it. The ones who resist are looked down upon in society. One must submit; conform to the majority, or face the consequences of law and judgement of their peers. And how easy has it become to submit when your rights/life are not affected? Why take a bullet for them, in a war that is not yours? Captain John Brown is a man of great honor and courage. He gave his life fighting for the civil liberties of the African Americans. Yes, he committed murder in doing so. But wasn’t he was justified? The slaveholders who were shot and killed had the easy way out. No pain or suffering; a bullet to the back of the head and their world went dark. The slaves were tortured. All they ever knew was to submit. The Douglass slave narratives highlighted the injustices, torment, and humanitarian violations these slaves were subjected to. A “moral relativist” viewpoint. A viewpoint widely accepted when humanitarian violations are on the line. Just as we freed the Jews from the Nazis, aided the suppressed Somalians in Mogadishu, and worked to liberate the Middle East from terrorist threats such as the Taliban and now ISIS. When there are humanitarian violations taking place, it’s the American way to eliminate these injustices; whether they are foreign or domestic.
Injustice will always be a topic of discussion in our Democratic state. The majority will oppress the minority, whether it’s just or not. One might identify the great injustice right before their eyes, yet silently conforms to the majority as they stand on the side-line with their false sense of security. Soon their card will be pulled; they will face the injustice of the majority, and many will watch as they walk the line.
Malcolm X was a strong advocate for resistance. He knew the Africans Americans have been suppressed and lead on for too long. He notes that slavery was abolished in 1865, however Africans were still fighting for their un-opposed right to vote until 1965! As he stated in his speech Ballot or the Bullet “He made a fool of you. He made you think you were going somewhere and you end up going nowhere between Lincoln and Washington”. The train for liberation for the African Americans was moving very slowly. One can argue that without the civil rights movement in the 1960’s, African Americans might still be oppressed with legal barriers infringing on their right to vote. Malcolm advocated for resisting the majority. If they suppress you then you must resist. As David Thoreau states “A wise man will not leave the right to the mercy of chance, nor wish it to prevail through the power of the majority”.
One great fear of a non-resistant society is the conformity to the majority or government. One of Thoreau greatest objections. He brings up the analogy of “the machine”. Where men are mindlessly controlled by the government. Following the orders of their superiors, without taking into account their own morals or ideals. (Ex: German Troops in Nazi Germany) Thoreau compares these men to that of dogs or horses. They do the work, but are controlled by the authority.
It is up to the American PEOPLE to make decisions when the legal structure unjustly oppresses their people. Just as we did during the civil rights movement, and the revolutionary and civil wars. Today we see many organizations protesting and fighting for their civil liberties such as “Black Lives Matter”, “LGBT”, “Prisoners Union”, “Occupy Wall Street” etc. As Thoreau stated and Malcolm X advocated for “Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine”.