To protest or not to protest?

Well, we made it one full day with Donald Trump as the president elect.

One step at a time.

It was not, however, a peaceful one.

The day was marked by protests in major cities throughout the country, from Oakland to Chicago to Dallas to outside the Trump Tower in New York City, where Donald Trump lives.

It shouldn’t be an unexpected occurrence in the immediate aftermath of the election of one of the most divisive candidates in modern political history, if not ever. When you stoke hatred for a year and a half, it’s going to have its consequences.

And naturally, like all things in this world, people had varying opinions on the protests. Those on the left approved of the peaceful resistance and encouraged the protesters to march on, while those on the right decried them as whiny savages.

As you can see, it will take a little more than a day for our country to unite.

And probably longer until we are “great again.”

 

I will always support people’s rights to assemble. It’s a Constitutional right as equally foundational to Americans as our right to vote.

Election Protests Washington

When I was in high school, a hazing incident involving sexual assault by members of one of our athletic teams actually prompted the Westboro Baptist Church to protest on our school grounds. They’re the most despicable organization this country has to offer, and yet, they had the right to be there to push their agenda. Thankfully, they were met by a significantly larger crowd of counter-protesters and the ordeal went peacefully.

Those who say protests accomplish nothing forget how our country came into existence. Or haven’t brushed up on their recent history in countries like Egypt or Tunisia.

But anyway, we also have to look at these protests in a pragmatic sense. The fundamental question we must first answer is: what exactly are people protesting? And the answer is an election result that was decided democratically.

Putting it in that perspective, the whole thing seems kind of illogical.

Secondly, Donald Trump hasn’t done anything yet as president. I understand that people want to protest the ideologies that he has stood for in the past 18 months, but he still has yet to have the opportunity as president do a single thing that could earn our disapproval.

Yet at the same time, I wrestle with another question. If you’re unhappy with something that’s happening in our country, then what can you productively do to make things better?

That has sort of been a rallying cry among the anti-Trump crowd over the last 36 hours. How can we rise up to make sure this country does not go backwards?

And that’s a difficult thing to answer. Is it donating money to a cause that will do the work for you? Is it volunteering?

Or is it protesting and having your voice heard?

Is that what you should do when something so profound happens that it completely undermines all of your beliefs and principles? When do you hit the point when you can no longer stay silent?

I still stand by my original belief that Trump, however loathsome you may find him, deserves our open minds. But remain as vigilant as ever.

I won’t join any protests right now, but if he actually follows through with some of the poisonous and prejudiced ideas he hinted at on the campaign trail, then next time, I might be outside Trump Tower right there with them.

Let’s see what Day 2 will bring.

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