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Storming The Capitol

Civil disobedience is a powerful tool and can be an effective way to enact change around an issue. It is important to know, however, that when people storm Capitol Hill with an intent to disrupt Congress and get arrested, they end up doing harm for their issue than good.  


Although our politics can seem like a circus most of the time, Capitol Hill is a very professional work environment. Most staffers wear suits, work on serious policy issues, have formal meetings throughout the day, and conduct themselves in a respectful, professional manner. The day-to-day work in Congress does not look anything like a campaign rally or stump speech.


When people try to disrupt Congress's day-to-day routine in an unlawful manner like storming offices or disrupting hearings, it can make staffers feel like they are being attacked. As we learned in Chapter 2, human nature dictates that when people feel attacked, they resent the person who is attacking them. Resentment is never a good emotion to elicit from a policy maker, it rarely results in the behavior we are looking for. Instead of forcing Congress into action, unlawful protests at the Capitol have the opposite effect. That is why we ranked storming the Capitol as the least effective way to contact Congress.


Civil disobedience outside of the Capitol, like organizing marches, sanctioned protests, staging walk-outs, or boycotting companies has much more impact. When the protests occur away from the Capitol, staffers and member's of Congress do not feel attacked and they might even have a desire to assist your cause and be a champion for the movement. 

Person gets arrested on the Capitol to protest money in politics. We have ranked this as the least effective way to advocate for your issue and get Congress to act on your behalf
Student get arrested in protest trying to advocate for their cause, they are unsuccessful becaue it is a poor advocacy strategy