Donald Trump is officially the 45th President of the United States of America. Protests began when he won the election and have been on going since. To accompany the outrage there has been a patronising tone growing which aims to ridicule protestors for being ‘sore losers’. It’s completely unjust and irrelevant to the cause. After all, the first amendment of the American Constitution (that Trump has taken an oath to protect) states as follows:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
All Americans want a better country: this is the case for citizens of any land in the world. These protests are not about the fact that Clinton lost. It has moved beyond that. These people are protesting the fact that an inexperienced, misogynistic and all-round hateful person now has the job. His values are shocking and his plans for America are frightening: how dare anyone tell those protestors that they aren’t allowed to be angry.
Just like those who voted for Trump, anti-Trump citizens believe that the future of their country needs to be led by someone strong. Yes, maybe Trump isn’t a “typical politician”, but there is a difference between wanting an honest leader and having a leader who will set back societal values from decades of progress. It would be more surprising if this political result had not been met with outrage.
These protestors are globally based, not just in America. Why should dissatisfaction with political systems be silenced? Public figures such as Piers Morgan have no right to resort to petty claims that those speaking out need to “grow up and move on for America”. These people are “grown”: the maturity of speaking out against an institution as solidified as the government is what makes these anti-Trump movements so powerful. The protestors know that they cannot reverse the results of the 2016 election. They don’t want that. All they want is to ensure that their anger and suspicion of the system will not be forgotten in the wake of Trump’s inauguration.
Following from this, what does “moving on” truly mean in this sense? How can it be expected that these people who so actively hate the reality of a Trump administration must now passively put aside their values? It would be equally immature for this to occur. The intended beauty of living in a democracy is having a voice loud enough to be worth using. Standing up for something you don’t believe in, even if you cannot change it yet, shows incredible resilience. This should not be discouraged.
Trump voters would not have suddenly dropped their morals had Hilary Clinton won the election. These people feel betrayed by the system, not because Clinton lost the electoral vote but because a man like Trump was the victor. A man who mocked disability, ridiculed ethnic minorities and trivialised sexual assault. It is not nearly enough justification that all Americans should be working together for the future of the nation. This excuse is insulting to the people that are ensuring their discontent is recorded. They are trying to build the future they believe is worthier of America. That is their right.
The majority of protesting around America – and globally – has been peaceful. Supporting the right to voice your discontent is not advocating violence. Being strong in your views is most significant when you can rise above the backlash and still have your voices heard. The protests on the day of the inauguration were unprecedented and significant. They cannot change President Trump’s victory but they can set an example to any movement that challenges the unchallenged.
It is admirable to stick with strong values in the face of troubling times. The 2016 Presidential election is just the most recent example of such times: there have been and will continue to be many more. But not backing down because there is no immediate solution is what makes movements like this so inspiring. The street protesting will calm soon but the legacy of those thoughts will remain, for Trump’s presidency and beyond.