As I stood in the dreary rain waiting for the inaugural procession to pass by, I talked with small group of protesters. We were right on the Pennsylvania Ave, just feet from where the new president’s motorcade would pass by. Our backs were to a few hundred people with red MAGA hats, who continued to shout out derogatory statements and taunt the protestors around me:
“Oh, you poor snowflake!”
“We won, you lost!”
“Build the wall! Deport them all!”
The one that really caught my attention, spoken to the young woman next to me, was, “Hey, why don’t I grab you by the pussy!” That garnered a few laughs and several copy cats.
When the taunts failed, most of the Trump supporters fell silent until the parade was over. Then it was open season on the protestors.
I escaped the parade grounds more quickly than I got in.
Since the inauguration, the insults have become ubiquitous and largely symbolic of just where the division in the country lies. I have no illusions that tolerance and open conversation are going to make us come together, as our divisions are fundamental and speak to who we are as people. The other fact is that those who supported Trump, whatever their reasons, feel that this is their moment to rub it in, and rub it in they will.
What could I, or anyone else, say to people who feel this way that would change them? Should we engage them in dispassionate conversation, tirelessly repeating facts and pointing out nuance?
Well, be my guest. You can be the umpteenth person to try; it’s a tactic that’s soundly failed both sides of the divide for at least the past eight years.
What’s more disturbing and insidiously dangerous, though, is the apparent exhaustion people are feeling over the left’s constant outrage, not only toward Donald Trump but everything he’s done since taking office. Everything. It’s hardly been three weeks but the mutual sense of this presidency is that it’s already been years.
To be sure, this pace is exhausting and I wonder if Democrats, liberals, and progressives can keep the protests up and actually sway power in their favor.
But herein lays the true problem: complacency. I don’t mean complacency on the right, as many conservatives have moved passed Donald Trump’s absurd campaign to acceptance of his presidency. Most of the right is willing to give him a shot, nevermind the blatantly divisive campaign he ran or the horrible things he’s said. It’s just locker room talk.
Chances are that if you adhere to this stance on Trump, then very little of what he’s done, and continues to do, bothers you. I have no doubt that my words are going to fall on deaf ears ― just more whining from the left.
My true worry, though, is complacency on the left. I worry that the movements are going to fizzle out due to lack of a coherent message and guidance from leaders. I worry that the rage and well-placed righteous anger on the left’s side will be for naught as acceptance of Trump is continuously billed as a rational stance. I worry that centrist Democrats, who are seeking some kind of bipartisan peace, will give in.
So when the mid-term elections, and eventually election 2020, come around, partisanship will have increased and social progress will have been significantly rolled back.
Why do I say this? Because the new administration has shown that it has both a radical agenda and little willingness to compromise. If this lack of compromise sounds familiar, it should ― our previous president was regularly stonewalled by opposition lawmakers. They wouldn’t even compromise on things they originally agreed with, like Merrick Garland, so why stop now? They have all the power.
However, let me preach to the choir for the left and offer an accurate picture to those on the right who feel exhausted, complacent, or accepting.
Have you not seen the sort of protests that have erupted over the last few weeks? Do you not get it? It’s not going to end, and not just because the left is angry at losing or that they disagree with Trump’s policies. This sort of outrage doesn’t come from simple disagreements over policy agendas ― there are serious existential threats to human rights, civil liberties, and, yes, our fucking democracy, with this administration.
Within less than two weeks, the new administration has made good on its promise to restrict access to abortion and other healthcare services by enacting HR7, which will primarily defund Planned Parenthood, an organization many people rely on for health care services. It will also prevent DC from using its own local tax dollars to support these programs.
If you think it a bit far-fetched that Republicans could strip away and possibly reverse Roe v Wade, consider this: Trump has surrounded himself with pro-life zealots (yes, there are zealots on both sides but we’re not talking about liberal administrations), who now have the power to strip away provisions made under Roe v Wade.
Many of these people are white conservative men, by the way.
Where is the liberal representation? Where are the women? Minorities? Both Bush and Obama made concessions on that end by appointing those from the opposing party to vital roles. Trump, however, has shown that he will continue partisan politics by appointing friends, family, and sympathetic far-right conservatives.
Let’s not forget the Affordable Care Act (ACA), also known as Obamacare, which republicans have been salivating over repealing since it was signed into law. This on its surface isn’t so troubling except that there’s no plan yet to replace it. For the almost 30 million people who now rely on it, there’s a very real existential threat to them losing this health care.
There’s also the Muslim Ban, which actually is a ban despite the careful language of the executive order. Anyone who makes the argument that it isn’t the promised ban needs to ask themselves who it was meant to keep out?
Let me answer: Muslims.
Not even taking into account the disastrous rollout of this executive order, the evidence supporting its existence is at best flimsy. The United States already has one of the most extreme and lengthy vetting processes in the world and there have been no successful foreign bread terrorist attacks on our soil since 9/11.
In fact, American born white men have perpetrated most of the mass shootings and terrorist attacks we’ve endured.
I could go on, but I won’t. Maybe you get the picture or don’t, but have been inspired to do a little more digging, or not.
Either way, it doesn’t matter, as the protests will continue. The side that’s been labeled as fragile little snowflakes will continue to fight and push back against a regime they can factually point to being both authoritarian and oppressive.
In this effort, may their vigilance never become exhausted or complacent.
(Originally posted here)