Following the upsetting election of Donald Trump as our next president, a series of anti-Trump protests have erupted across the country and have continued everyday since. Many, however, have condemned the protests as a petty and ineffective cry against our great democratic process, including our President-elect, who declared them “very unfair!” These sentiments appear to be the backlash from the self-righteous “Make America Great Again” clan — the contemptuous individuals who don’t acknowledge the proven power of protest — and those who are simply drained of their passion after a long and disheartening battle, punctuated by an even more disheartening defeat. Yet the protests, fueled by a valid anger and promising togetherness, continue with each passing day in a necessary demonstration of what we the majority refuse to accept as great.
Claiming protest as an invalid form of promoting change is a disregard for the monumental efforts of many strong and capable collectives, including the representatives of the civil rights and women’s suffrage movements. These notably successful protests were not unlike our own in that they fought for the rights and representation of the marginalized and minorities. In the moment, the profound importance and historical significance of a movement can be hard to realize, but the dedication and perseverance required to fight the system makes its tiny victories that much sweeter. We are fighting for reification of the rights won by our predecessors and we are contributing momentum for those that have yet to claim victory.
To accuse the protesters of being baseless and unproductive is to deny the gravity of the bigotry against which we protest. Anger is the critical foundation on which any protest is built, but it must be harvested in a way that solidifies its cause and promotes its agenda peacefully which, so far, has been the case. In order for the anti-Trump demonstration to endure with unwavering intensity, we must continue to be angry and appreciate it as a source for motivation and meaning that inspires the fight.
Those belittling the protests as an amateur gathering of whining losers are overlooking the remarkable display of harmony and hope. Both the congregation of a variety of individuals, each with their own unique angers, and the extensive, prevailing nature of the demonstrations are a comforting reminder that our demand for change is too deeply-rooted and widespread to disappear, even in light of this extreme setback. With such strong unity, there is no doubt the protests will continue in a variety of forms until their causes are addressed. Washington Square Park, among other sites of rallies, has been an encouraging reminder that however many more setbacks we may face, there will always be a unified collective fighting for what’s right.
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