Conflict is both an indicator and a facilitator of changing minds

Modulated conflict draws big crowds at Auburn U

Sign-holding protesters (right side of walkway) draw big crowds at Auburn University. They tried to defend the indefensible, but could not. Having failed that, they called us names or simply tried to change the subject. But all of it focused attention on GAP and abortion.

History is clear on this point: injustice can be defeated only by reformers who confront evil and accept persecution from angry defenders of the status quo.  People who exploit others are enraged when their cruel tyranny is threatened.  When William Wilberforce used pictures to win the debate over slavery, he was attacked in the newspapers, physically assaulted, and even threatened with death.  But he showed the pictures anyway.

Conflict is not only an indicator that the status quo is threatened; it is also a facilitator of change.  It focuses public attention in ways nothing else will.  Dr. Martin Luther King said, “I am not afraid of the word ‘tension.’  I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth.”  This tension created a public forum in which racists were forced to defend segregation.  They could not do it, so the reformers won.

hung and bleeding

Images like this educated the public on the evils of slavery. Additionally, they created the kind of tension/conflict that (a) forced the public to think about slavery and (b) created a public forum that forced slave traders to defend the indefensible.

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