How to Make Sense of Anti-Trump Protests and Backlash Against Them
A GIFs guide to vocal opposition in a democracy. We do still live in a democracy, right?
Why, hello there, traveller! I see you’ve come for some more whoa. Well, you’re in luck, because after a week of deep depression, the GIF-Meister is feeling more motivated to share my whoa GIFs with you. If you missed last week’s column, I shared some positive ways to respond to the Trump presidency. I know the GIFs were sparse in number, but I just wasn’t feeling up to getting all trippy with you. I hope you’ll understand.
This week I wanted to address recent complaints about protesters who have passionately taken to the streets to voice their fear, anger, and opposition to President-Elect Donald Trump, who expressed a desire to unify the nation but has acted only to divide people so far.
This week, protests continued all across the country. Some even included a focus towards Steven Bannon, the White Supremacist that Trump is eyeing for his Chief of Staff.
Naysayers promptly slammed the concerned citizens. Rudy Giuliani called protesters a “bunch of spoiled cry-babies” on Fox News.
Fake news inciter Paul Horner started the rumor that a protester was paid $3,500 to attend an anti-Trump rally in Portland, Ore. Politifact has since debunked it.
Trump’s pick for Homeland Security chief tweeted that the protests were not “legitimate” and “must be quelled.”
Nebraska Senator Ben Sasse asserted that the anti-Trump rallies were a result of “paid rioting” that “nobody is reporting on.” Because these protests are real and they’re spectacular, Ben.
Conspiracy news site InfoWars shared a “screenshot” of a Facebook comment allegedly from an EMT whose patient died because a Trump protest blocked her ambulance. Snopes qualifies this story as “unproven.” Multiple news outlets have tried to get more info to no avail.
Even Trevor Noah, host of the typically liberal Daily Show, criticized protesters who let “anger consume them.” This show aired a mere 24 hours after election results had been announced.
Trump called the protests “unfair” and labeled the protesters “professionals” on Twitter.
The most common and obvious argument against critics of the protests is the Constitution. The right to protest is, after all, built into the First Amendment.
The second argument is that, historically speaking, protests have a pretty good track record of working.
#BlackLivesMatter’s impact can already be seen in the measures several city police departments have taken towards reform, the decriminalization of marijuana in several states, the ruling that Stop-and-Frisk is unconstitutional, and the implementation of body cameras on police officers.
Those Tea Party protests that began after Obama’s inauguration and continued throughout his presidency? They had a major hand in aiding the Birther movement and creating the Alt-Right base we know today.
So, yes, protests matter. Vocal opposition matters. And if anything, participating in them feels good.
So don’t listen to the naysayers. Go out there and be a part of history, even if they call you a cry-baby. There’s much to lose and no time to waste.
After all, protests work, and even Trump notices.