Trump protests: Keeping it real
February 8, 2017
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Since Trump won the presidential elections in November, hundreds of thousands have hit the streets nationwide protesting him as a president, his rhetoric and the policies he is trying to enforce. Various mainstream media outlets have covered the protests. However, many political pundits have criticized the movement’s lack of goals, leadership, tactics and effectiveness.
> Does the movement need goals?
It is an anti-Trump movement. Its goals, though unspecific, are clear: push back against the hateful, sexist rhetoric that Donald Trump ran on and is now turning into policy.
> Why hit the streets?
When one party controls Congress, Senate and the Presidency; when the President only pays attention to his own supporters and personally attacks journalists who try to criticize him and when his right-hand man asks the media to shut up, protesting becomes the only viable option. In addition, the rest of the world is watching the USA very closely right now, so it is essential to send a message to the world that what Trump says and does does not represent real Americans or American values.
> What about violent protesters?
Throughout history, civil liberties’ movements have had moderates and radicals. Despite the fact that moderates and radicals tend to criticize each other’s tactics, both tactics are viable and useful. In fact, they complete each other by creating a “good cop bad cop” situation where moderates are able to negotiate with the government based on leverage that radicals have created. While MLK was promoting peaceful protest, Malcolm X was promoting “The Ballot or the Bullet.” For every Booker T. Washington willing to compromise there needs to be a W.E.B Du Bois.
Violent protests also serve another goal: to confront this society with its hypocrisy, by asking the following questions.
If you care about a broken window or a burnt police car, why do you not care about your fellow human beings? Why is property more valuable than the health of 20 million Americans that are insured under Obamacare? Why does a Starbucks matter more than the millions of Syrian refugees who have been displaced and those who are dying in Syria every day?
The most valid criticism for the current protests is lack of leadership. Since the anti-Trump movement includes various types of people with different ideologies, it would be hard to find one specific leader for the movement. In fact, if Democrats try to overtake the movement it could lead to divide amongst protesters, many of whom are anti-establishment, Republicans or Independents.