In class we have focused on injustice in America and ways that the law can be used as a tool to combat many of the issues we spoke on.
Since election day thousands of Americans have used their right to protest to rally against President-elect Donald Trump. The most notable of these protests would be the Women’s March that swept across the United States and even became a global event. It is estimated that a million people marched in Washington DC alone!
Personally I have always been a firm supporter of the will of the people and will always support a movement that can encompass millions and change the lives of Americans for the better. But when it comes to the protests against Donald Trump’s presidency I can’t say I support them.
My first issue with these protests is that many of the participants didn’t even participate in the democratic process. For example, 112 protestors were arrested in Portland following the results of election day. Of these 112 protestors 69 of them either did not turn in a ballot or were not registered to vote. I personally have an issue with this because if you elect to not use your right to vote in an election but then elect to protest the results of the election I would say your priorities are not in order. With how close the vote was in some key states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Florida over 50% of protestors votes could have made the difference. If Secretary Clinton could have flipped Florida and either Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin that would have been enough to win her the presidency. In essence if you stay home on election day, stay home for the protest as well.
I also don’t understand what the protests are about. Yes I understand that you don’t support President Trump and some of his policies but it was still a free and fair election. Just like any other election the people had their opportunity to vote and the candidate to receive at least 270 electoral votes won. You can stand against certain policies or issues but to chant things like “Trump is not my President” is simply ignorant.
I have a similar issue with the women’s march as well. After watching the events unfold on TV I heard many of the activists expressing similar ideas. There was a lot of stress on women’s rights as it appeared to me that many believed that under the new administration these rights will be infringed upon. I can understand abortion rights as Trump has stated that he is pro-life but I wouldn’t say that this is just a Trump stance. In fact, all of the final five candidates running for the Republican nomination were pro-life. Throughout the campaign season Trump advocated for a six-week paid maternity leave program as well as a bigger tax credit to attempt to make childcare more affordable. Trump has also pushed for more opportunities for women in the workforce as well as increasing pay. With all this being said I don’t believe the new administration has given reason to believe that women’s rights are being infringed upon other than maybe abortion rights. Because of this I would have to say that the march may have lacked clarity in my eyes about what exactly they were standing for.
I support protesting and think it’s one of the few ways to truly bring change to our great nation. Bernie Sanders said it best when he said “Real change never occurs from the top on down, [But] always from the bottom on up.” But I believe that in order for a protest to be successful it needs to have a clear focus and must be consistent. I would say the best current example of this would be the protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline.