Following Donald Trump’s election to the presidency on November 8th, protests broke out in several cities across the country and are still occurring, as of December 2nd. Chants such as “Dump Trump” and more notably “Not My President” have been heard on the streets of New York, Chicago, and Boston to name a few. Protesters have expressed their belief that the President-elect’s views and the racist, sexist, and xenophobic things said on the campaign trail are not representative of America as a whole, nor are the people who voted for him.
Constitutionally, men and women across our nation have every right to protest; in fact, there are many cases where protests resulted in tremendous achievements for America, including the passage of the 19th Amendment (1920) and the Civil Rights Act (1964). It would be unfair to judge their personal reasons for protesting Trump, as it is impossible to understand the fear and anxiety they are facing. However, it is important to ask how much can really be accomplished through protest at this point. The answer is not much! Our next president has been chosen, and in attacking Trump “the man” and the character of the people who voted for him, they demonize their fellow Americans and further divide us as a nation. The protesters have failed to recognize the anxieties—especially economic ones—Trump’s supporters face and the reasons that factored into their decision. Elizabeth Warren expressed her belief in the good nature of Americans on the Rachel Maddow Show, saying, “People across this country voted for him [Trump] not because of that bigotry, but in spite of that.” They voted against a candidate who was offering more of the same not out of hatred but because they are no better off than they were eight years ago.
Clinton supporters should understand that our country chose significant change, and with good reason, not just as at the top of the ticket, but across the board. Republicans retained the House and Senate, and won appreciably at the gubernatorial and state legislature levels. On a different note, the media has exacerbated tensions through their incessant coverage of the protests. These events make top headlines everyday, when instead they should be covering the President-elect’s, the President’s, and Hillary Clinton’s messages of ending the divisive and contentious campaign rhetoric and coming together. United we stand, divided we fall, and unfortunately, these protests and the way in which they have been covered have brought us closer towards the latter.