For decades to come, the prevailing image of Donald Trump’s first week in office will be defined by the thousands of people who came together throughout the country to voice their opposition.
Indeed, his inaugural weekend was deeply overshadowed by the Women’s March, mobilized by social media, which brought millions of people to the streets to advocate for various causes. These demonstrations occurred not only in all 50 states, but in all seven continents. It was a miraculous show of solidarity by people of extremely divergent ethnicities, cultures and religious ideologies.
It was an impactful display of humanity and compassion during a time of worldwide uncertainty. A display that empowered the disenfranchised and showed our nation’s most vulnerable people that they are not alone.
And while these imposing visuals, omnipresent across news stations and computer screens, are giving the indication that they represent the clear majority of Americans, it’s important to keep in mind how many people are not protesting.
Remember that 63 million people voted for Trump. And given that, for the most part, Trump’s executive orders have aligned with his campaign promises (as polarizing as they were), they probably are not too disappointed.
So while the political left has decried Trump’s nascent presidency as tyrannical and inhumane, the right have been voicing their approval of Trump’s stance on national security while taking aim at a new target: the protesters.
Those very same people who have been beacons of hope to one half of the population have been castigated by the other half.
You’ve all seen it. It’s unavoidable.
They’re being called crybabies. Vagrants. ‘Libtards.’ Whatever that last one means.
But you know they’re so mad? Why the protestors are getting under their skin?
Because it’s working. They see the goodwill and the kinship and the amazing sense of unanimity, and they’re pissed off that such a successful demonstration is happening for reasons they disapprove of.
To protest is to evoke your fundamental and Constitutional rights as an American citizen. In cities far and wide throughout the U.S., there have been powerful displays of unity on extravagant scales. For many generations of people, demonstrations of this size are a brand-new sight.
Today’s youth are used to seeing advocacy on social media and nothing more. But to see people mobilize on the streets – and peacefully, with very few instances of violence – hearkens back our country’s most recent successful movements, for civil rights and for feminism.
It’s democracy in action.
And right now, people sure are galvanized.
The effectiveness of protests are certainly up for debate. But there’s also some things that can’t be denied. Courage is contagious. Seeing others on the street standing up for their beliefs will motivate others to do the same, even if they’ve never done it before.
The visuals of protestors standing together in solidarity will resonate across the world, and tell foreign citizens that not everybody supports this president and his xenophobic agenda.
It’s essential for officials of other countries, who have been insulted by this administration and are currently planning their next moves, to see that not all Americans agree with Trump’s actions.
The mass advocacy emboldens politicians and judges. It warms the hearts of the most vulnerable and defenseless people in our society.
Critics could groan. They could complain and ridicule. But they can’t stop the fire that has been lit for millions of people. It’s something they can’t take away, no matter how hard they try.
Alone, we are voiceless.
But together, we are deafening.