Why Protest

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People have asked, what is protesting Trump going to do? The election is over, nothing can be done to change that. Nevertheless, thousands of people are taking to the streets every day in protest. While this might seem pointless to some people, there is definitely a reason for it.

The protests bring awareness to the fact that a large number of people oppose Trump. The popular vote count shows this to be true but if people did not protest, it would largely be ignored. The protests have been covered nationally and internationally by the media. If everyone sat at home and did not express their opposition to Trump’s bigotry, sexism, anti-environmentalism, and fascism, then it would not be noticed. This would in essence condone his platform. Protesting is a way of saying, “No, we will not sit down and allow hate to win.” It is tempting to sit at home, watch Netflix, and pretend that this isn’t my problem. But this isn’t a localized problem – it is a global one. If you live on the earth, Trump’s policies are going to have an effect upon you.

Global warming is a fact. Trump denies this. His appointment for head of his EPA transition team is Myron Ebell. This is a man who wrote, “ Given our obvious preference for living in warmer climates as long as we have air-conditioning, I doubt that we’re going to go on the energy diet that the global warming doomsters urge us to undertake. “ ( See: Forbes ) This is a very narrow minded view of global warming. Scientists agree that global warming exists and presents a clear threat. Trump has tweeted that it is a conspiracy created by the Chinese. The Chinese have now clarified that they did not create this great conspiracy, so perhaps Trump will change his mind and see that science is real. However, this seems unlikely as his environmental policies seem to be aimed at creating as much money for the oil industry as possible.

I have also seen people saying that Trump isn’t actually a racist. His appointment of Steve Bannon as chief strategist and senior counselor would go against this. For those who say, “Give him a chance,” his choice of Steve Bannon shows what he will do if given a chance. Nothing good can come from having an anti-semitic white supremacist from the alt-right (translation of alt-right: neo-nazi racist) in a senior position in Trump’s cabinet. He has also picked Jeff Sessions for attorney general. This is a man who was denied a position as a federal judge because of racist comments. He called the American Civil Liberties Union un-American. This was about 30 years ago, so maybe he has changed his views and become less bigoted and more tolerant. Nevertheless, just having this in his history is a reason to be disturbed.

Another argument is the “stop whining” argument. This completely misses the point of the protests. People who are protesting Trump are not being sore losers. They are standing up for what they believe is right. I’m sure there were people who said the equivalent of “stop whining” to the suffragettes and those who marched with Martin Luther King. The 1st amendment of the constitution protects the right to protest. The protests are not an example of “millenial privilege.” The protest I attended in Denver was people of all ages and varied races/ethnicities, essentially the people who feel most threatened by Trump. The protests have primarily been carried out on weekends and after working hours, so the whole “If I protested for 5 days straight, I’d be fired” argument is also ineffective. I actually heard rumors that some of the businesses in Denver closed early to allow people to get to the protests. I can not substantiate whether that is a fact or not though.

The Civil Rights Movement Veterans describe the effects of a protest in the following, “When people see others saying “No!” through a protest, it (hopefully) awakens in them the realization that they too can say “No” in their own lives. This is one of the most important effects that a demonstration can (and should) have on observers. But in order for that effect to occur, the action has to be designed to encourage sympathy and support rather than fear and opposition. “ I recommend reading the entire page on the Onion Theory of Non Violent Protest.

There have also been some allegations of the protests being violent. Other than the case of an anarchist group using the protests to launch violence in Portland, there is little evidence of any of the anti-Trump protests being at all violent. Yes, the protesters have blocked streets including major freeways. I’m pretty sure this is illegal but it is not violent. The acts of violence that have been carried out since the election have primarily been perpetrated by Trump supporters against minorities. There have been over 700 incidents of racial violence following election day. See Hateful Harassment.

Trump has denounced these acts but considering that it was his rhetoric on the campaign trail that fueled this hate, this does little to his credit.

Protesting is not the only way to oppose Trump but it is a good start. As Bernie Sanders said recently, “ “No, you’re not going to give up. You’re going to fight back and mobilize.” This is only the beginning. This is a fight for the future of America (paraphrasing Bernie because he’s the best) and we are not going to give up. See Sanders

Keep protesting.

~Birrion

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