Given that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote last November by nearly 3 million, I feel safe in saying that I stand with the majority of the country in trepidation over Trump’s inauguration tomorrow. We don’t want this. We don’t deserve this. This shouldn’t be happening.
I look on in horror as the Republicans work to strip away a health care system that got me medical attention that I sorely needed and shudder to think how friends who have worse health will get by. Ethics were never Trump’s strong suit and already the GOP have made an effort to reduce ethical oversight in Washington. I can easily imagine the Republican-led Executive and Legislative branches working to dismantle the EPA, the Department of Education, and worker protections and rights overseen by the Department of Labor. Goodbye, any effort to protect the environment. Today it was made known that Trump intends to cut the National Endowment for the Arts. Foreign affairs don’t look much better as Trump has already been all too willing to shoot his mouth off about military efforts, both on-going and non-existent, and made international faux pas in an effort to aggrandize himself at the cost of decades of carefully crafted American statesmanship. Every day news headlines from the incoming administration have sent chills through me.
This is, of course, to say nothing of Trump’s horrifying comments about women, Mexicans, black people, the disabled, Muslims, etc, and how they’ve emboldened white supremacists, re-branded as “alt-right,” and even put the KKK back in the news.
Talking with friends, all I can say is that I genuinely don’t know what is going to happen.
But I will march against this, because it shouldn’t have happened. Slim margins in several states tipped the electoral college his way. How could that happen unless the electoral college is inherently unfair. In less populated states a single vote carries more weight than in a heavily populated state. How can that be possible in a so-called democratic country? And for the $10million question: How can this have happened twice in the last 16 years?
I will march against this abrogation of democracy because our Declaration of Independence notes that government power comes from consent of the governed. And we did not consent to this.
I’ve been asked why even bother when demonstrating doesn’t do anything. I guess many people are too removed from having to take persistent action to effect change in their country. No, protests aren’t direct action. Direct action is getting right in the way of business as usual and forcing it to deal with you – blocking entry to government buildings, laying down in the road so buses returning undocumented immigrants to Mexico can’t move, etc. The protests that strive to avoid breaking laws are indirect action. They’re about solidarity and about being heard. Anyone who has ever watched their silence get mistaken for agreement knows the value of speaking up, being visible.
The point of protesting is to protest. So you don’t stew in your own home, so you don’t despair that you might be the only who feels like you do, so your community is forced to recognize where you stand.
And with any luck it bolsters those in the halls of power who might present an opposition to the forces being protested. Call it a political gambit, or maybe a drive to be popular with the protesters, but gaining political support is no small matter. I can only imagine right now what it feels like to be a liberal Representative, surrounded by Republican Congressmen who now have a good shot at realizing their dreams of squeezing government services until they pop. How intimidating it must feel. Perhaps millions of people around the country taking to the streets will bolster their will to oppose and counter Republicans.
For people who still want protesting to have utility beyond speaking out in public, the Civil Rights hero and Congressman John Lewis says, “Get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.”
Stepping out, raising your voice, being visible, is a challenge to the status quo. It attracts attention. It attracts trouble. The powers that be would prefer if their power and authority were never challenged; they like to behave as if your silence equals agreement. I will not let them be mistaken as to where I stand.