We all recognize that peaceful protest is a time-honored American tradition guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution. That said, from what I have read and seen, many of the protesters have crossed the line from peaceful, respectful, legal protest to rioting, damaging property and assaulting Trump supporters. Thus, whatever valid points they are trying to convey to the mainstream public have become obscured.
Most of the protesters appear to be millennials (ages 18-34) who are disappointed and disillusioned by the results of the election. Fair enough, but they are coming across as nothing more than “sore losers.” It’s like, “I played the game, I lost, but I don’t like the result. Like a whiny five year old, “no fair.” I want a “do-over.” Well, there are no “do-overs” in elections.
Some college students even went so far as to tell their professors they were too distraught to take scheduled exams or even attend classes. And, in many cases, they were excused by sympathetic professors or school administrators. What kind of life lesson is that? Boo hoo! Tell me, what are they going to do when they’re out in the real world, and things don’t go their way. They don’t get the job they want. Their girl friend turns down their marriage proposal. Are they going to grab a sign and demonstrate in front of their boss’s or girl friend’s home? When I compare them to the 20-year olds who were fighting the Germans or Japanese in WWII, it’s downright embarrassing.
Statistics denote that approximately one-third of millennials did not even bother to vote, probably either from apathy, laziness or overconfidence. In that case, I say they have no valid complaints. By itself, one vote may not make a difference, but if millions of people all over the country all reach the same conclusion and don’t bother to vote, that becomes significant. If one is displeased with the election result, the appropriate answer is not to sulk, not to riot, but to work within the system to try to win the next election. Traditionally, that is what voters on the losing side have done.
Unfortunately, many of the demonstrators have been infiltrated by “professional agitators,” who, basically, have hijacked the protest. These people are not interested in the issues at hand. Rather, their goal is to undermine the system, create mayhem. They continually seek out situations to exploit for their own aggrandizement. Their goal is not to improve the system but to destroy it. We have seen a lot of this in recent years, for example, “occupy Wall Street” and Ferguson. It would be nice if President Obama could show some leadership and tell these folks that while it is acceptable to demonstrate they should refrain from violence.
When approached by reporters many of these protesters have refused or been unable to articulate their reasons for protesting. Others have stated that they “hate” Mr. Trump and do not want him to be president (“not my president”). My response to them is while it is acceptable to hate the man and not want him to be president, to be fair, don’t protest what you think he may do. Give the man a chance. Anyone who has been paying attention would realize that since the election Mr. Trump has toned down his rhetoric considerably. Moreover, he has repeatedly expressed his desire for “inclusion,” to be the president of all the people. That would be a nice switch from what we have had for the past eight years. Let’s wait and see.
First and foremost, let’s remember that Mr. Trump won the election fair and square. He not only defeated his Democratic opponent, but he also had to overcome a biased media and the antipathy of many professional politicians in his own party. One of the primary reasons why he did so was that there is a “silent majority” (hello, Spiro) of voters who feel disaffected, ignored and lied to by the current administration. They want change, and they want Mr. Trump to bring it about. The protesters, though vociferous, are in the minority.
Dems would do well to realize the extent of Trump’s mandate. Yes, Clinton narrowly won the popular vote, but that is misleading and irrelevant. Also, the distribution of the popular vote is telling. Clinton’s popularity was highly concentrated in a few areas, such as California and various urban areas, for example, NYC, Philadelphia and Chicago. Trump prevailed in most of the rest of the country and won the electoral vote, which is what counts, decisively. Furthermore, the GOP retained control of both Houses of Congress, and 31 states have GOP governors, including 25 in which the GOP controls both houses of the state legislature as well.
The people have spoken. Change is coming. Deal with it. To quote president Obama, “elections have consequences.”