Why I won't be attending any Anti-Trump Protests
I have been strongly and opposed to Donald Trump, but I won't be attending any protests against him. Why so? He was legitimately elected by the American people through the time honored constitutional process. Protesting this election is protesting the process.
Secondly, I do not like the tone of the protests. There appear to be many nihilistic radical types and flag desecrations at these protests - angry bigots of the left. While I accept that flag burning is a form of symbolic free speech, I find it both obnoxious and remarkably stupid. I find it offensive as an American and a veteran. I think it is stupid because if the far right wraps itself in the flag, the logical response should be to say "you don't own that symbol, it belongs to all Americans, and we are taking it back." Instead, the protesters are gratuitously alienating possible allies and effectively confirming the opinion that they are un-American. Don't like militarism? Fine. Doesn't the flag represent community, too?
Few of the protesters would approve of signs that have appeared like "Rape Melania," or "Kill Trump," but these vile sentiments provide visual images that are circulating widely and I won't march behind such obscenity or be part of a crowd that is starting to look like a mob.
Thirdly, the left needs to pause and reflect on its contributions to this disastrous election result. Sure, the GOP gets the lion's share of the blame, but there is a great deal to be said for the critique that much of the left has been elitist, if not downright snobs, and while certainly ethnically diverse, has developed its own ideological orthodoxies and hasn't listened terribly well. How many of us even know more than a handful Trump supporters? If you don't, you have been living in a cocoon. There are obviously plenty of them. Sure, many really are "deplorables" - racists, misogynists, etc - but most aren't. This is the same country that elected Barak Obama. Want to "bring America together"? Listen better. Try harder not to belittle people who are different. You don't have to agree with them - but check the contempt. It doesn't help.
I think we need to model ourselves after the restraint, disciplined, tactful and mature model of President Obama. Regrettably, too many on the left act out in an impulsive manner, protesting Donald Trump while acting like him.
Lastly, we need to be philosophical. Tremendous progress has been made on social issues over the last six decades. Social progress is never linear. Think of it like the stock market. Stocks will surge ahead and then there will be "market corrections." Sometimes the market will plummet. There will be recessions. But if one stays the course, doesn't panic and has realistic expectations, one will end a winner.
We have reason to be optimistic. The same America that elected Donald Trump, elected Barak Obama. If Trump proves to be as irresponsible, the pendulum will swing back, and it won't take long for America to realize its mistake.
When the Roman Republic fell, at least they got Julius Caesar in its place. Will we get Nero? I doubt it. The political culture of America is to strong for that to happen. The American Republic hasn't fallen and isn't likely to. But an hysterical response on our part to this election won't strengthen our democracy. We need to be strategic.
I am profoundly disappointed in this election, but I have enough faith in our political culture to believe that we will survive this set back. Together, we will, truly, make America great again.