Several students have argued that the most effective way to counter the WBC would be to ignore them completely, rather than to give them attention by angrily responding to their hateful messages. I’d like to point out that the students organizing the silent counter-protests against the WBC have considered this option, but they do have legitimate reasoning for choosing not to ignore the WBC’s visit to Cupertino High School.
By counter-protesting, we’re not expecting the WBC to suddenly change their views and start campaigning for peace; whether we ignore them or not, they will continue on their mission to spread hate. But consider this: if we choose to ignore their protest at CHS, are they going to turn around and fly back to Kansas? No. By ignoring their 8am protest at CHS, we’re simply giving them another hour to relax until their next appointment — their 9am picket against the “Celebration of Life” for Steve Jobs at Apple. Why should we give them this break? If they want to waste their time trying to share their hatred with us, it’s their problem! All it means is that they will have less energy to spend in their protest against Steve Jobs.
Also, remember that this is a silent counter-protest. The WBC wants us to be offended by their hateful messages; they want us to feel worthless and to cry, to get angry and to insult them back, to attack them so they can sue us and get more money. Unfortunately for them, these are not the types of reactions they will receive from us. By being silent, we are sending them a stronger message. We’re letting them know that we are unaffected by their protest, and their ignorant hateful messages are not enough to bring us down.
Silent counter-protesting is the perfect balance between completely ignoring them and angrily reacting to them. It shows them that we have the courage to withstand their offensive comments, yet we have the maturity to keep ourselves composed and indifferent towards their protesting. We are high school students, we are teenagers. They expect us to either hide in our homes and classrooms, or to lose our composure and try to fight them back. Let’s prove to them that we’re better than that.
On their picket schedule, they said that we, the children of Cupertino, “have no hope, no future, no heaven, no God, no peace!”
They are wrong.
Our hope is to come together as a community to prove that we are stronger than this closed-minded hate group, and our future is one without prejudice, one where the indoctrinated children of the WBC grow up to realize that better opportunities lie beyond the hateful teachings of their parents. We don’t all agree on whether or not we have heaven or God, but the beauty of it is that we are tolerant enough to accept the diversity of religions practiced in this city.
We will have to give the WBC acknowledgement; they unknowingly gave our community the chance to become more united than ever. We will not ignore their protests on Wednesday — we will follow through with the silent counter-protests because we, the children of Cupertino, are here to bring peace.