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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Something's Happening Here ... Reality and Induced Reactions

 

Here we are in the post-presidential-election days still divided, still unsure of just exactly what it means to face the reality of a Donald Trump presidency. All across the nation leaders are calling for acceptance and unity in spite of protesters in many cities all around the country hitting the streets and chanting “Not my president!” and “Love trumps hate!”

Many of the protesters say they do not harbor illusions about reversing the outcome of the election. They claim they are speaking out in hopes that Trump and his supporters will ease their hardline rhetoric on many issues including immigration and possible mass deportations, Muslim bans, and LGBTQ rights. Others seek changes in the electoral college: At last count, Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in popular vote by more than 1.1 million.

On the other side, Trump, himself, claimed some of participants were “professional protesters” planted to cause disruption. Others opposed to the protests have accused dissidents of being sore losers and have slammed students for skipping classes to voice their opposition to the results of the election.

One Iowa lawmaker, Rep. Bobby Kaufmann (R-Wilton), plans to introduce a piece of legislation he’s calling the “Suck It Up, Buttercup Bill” when the Legislature resumes in January to target state universities that use taxpayer dollars to fund election-related sit-ins and grief counseling above and beyond what is normally available to students. His bill would also establish new criminal penalties for protesters who shut down highways. Students and faculty at Iowa State and the University of Iowa deny that they spent extra money on those events.

(Brianne Pfannenstiel. “Iowa lawmaker's 'suck it up, buttercup' bill targets protests.” The Des Moines Register. November 14, 2016.)

So there, in a nutshell, you have it. Fallout over the election of Donald Trump is occurring, and no one should be surprised that the dissent is so prevalent. The contentious, belligerent Trump campaign is reaping its just rewards in a divided, distrustful, nervous America.

Many are calling the protesters “thugs” and “selfish babies” for voicing their opinions. It is true, some violent and criminal outbursts have occurred during the unrest. No one should tolerate or support such unlawful behavior. However, as one protester, Daniel Hayman, 31, or Seattle said of his peaceful actions ...

"The flag means freedom of speech, freedom of religion, equal protection under the law and other values like diversity, respecting differences, freedom of assembly and freedom of the press. We're trying to reclaim the flag and push forward those values."

(Alexander Besant. “U.S. protesters march against Trump presidency for fifth day.” Reuters. November 14, 2016.)

Kellyanne Conway, Trump's campaign manager, echoed Trump on Fox News saying that she was sure many of the protesters were paid professionals, although she offered no proof.

And, suggesting a double standard, Conway said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that if Clinton had won the election and Trump supporters had protested, "people would be freaking out that his supporters were not accepting election results."

"It's time really for President Obama and Secretary Clinton to say to these protesters: 'This man is our president,'" she said.

To Kellyanne I say: “Wake up yourself, 'buttercup.' Your candidate told his constituency that the 2016 election was rigged and called upon people to 'march on Washington' after President Obama won re-election in 2012.”

And, who should speak to the protesters in a non-threatening, understanding manner? The President-elect Donald Trump. He needs to make mea culpa after mea culpa for his childish, nasty rhetoric.

After all, this is the same Donald Trump who in November 2015 said of a protester in Birmingham, Alabama:

"Maybe he should have been roughed up, because it was absolutely disgusting what he was doing." 

This is the same Trump who called out a protester being escorted out of his rally before the Nevada caucuses in Las Vegas on February 23, 2016, saying …

"I love the old days – you know what they used to do to guys like that when they were in a place like this? They'd be carried out on a stretcher, folks. I'd like to punch him in the face.”

Although Republican House of Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan told CNN on Sunday that protests were protected by the First Amendment as long as they were peaceful, some have been critical of Democrat leaders who haven't begged Americans to stop voicing their dissent.

I would ask these people: “Why would President Obama or Hillary Clinton plead with people to end the protests immediately after the election when Trump bashed them like a two-headed monster every day?” Their silence supports the freedom of expression in a nation frightened by a Trump administration full of questionable people like Steve Bannon and Rudy Giuliani.

 

I am sure many will remain convinced that the protesters have no right to express a preference without having to endure scorn. To them I say: “I have already endured month after month of scorn by emotional Trump supporters who insist my liberal views are retarded and even criminal.” I have been called a “libtard” and a “baby killer” on social media for my opposition of Trump and my disagreement on issues like the freedom of choice. Perhaps peaceful public protest is not just sour grapes. Touche'. 

The protests after the election have occurred in cities and on college campuses too numerous to mention including the cities of Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York, Portland, Winston-Salem, and the universities of Arizona State, Illinois State, the University of California, the University of Georgia, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Michigan.

Also, international protests have occurred in cities such as Melbourne and Perth, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand.

No one can deny the separation that the Election of 2016 has caused. One result of the divide is that a large number of people have more closely examined their own views and the views of others with many claiming that they now possess greater self-realization and an improved transparency of their community, their state, and their nation. What remains to be achieved is a satisfactory feeling of inclusion in the workings of the democratic government. Trump has done nothing to endear himself to those who suffered his wrath. He is a man whose apologies are littered by vain excuses.

To have a president refer to the District of Columbia as a “swamp” that now must be “drained” of its bureaucracy is frightening because the chief executive does not legally have the power to reorganize the government at his discretion. It is simply nonsensical to believe Trump will do so … unless he plans to act with malice toward the institution of the federal government itself.

Just who supports the whims of a businessman who would be king has yet to be revealed. Special interests that hold up his position will surely be spared any expulsion from the arena. But, even conservative activists say they are unsure of what to expect from the new president-elect. Given his stormy character and his lack of experience, Donald Trump may soon find that it takes more than bluff and bluster to operate in the boggy environment of the nation's capital.

In the meantime, protesters fill the streets to express their individual concerns over what is yet to come. The First Amendment lives.

Americans tend to think that the only way one can participate in politics, the only possible way to take political action, is to vote. And yet in recent years – in particular since the 2008 financial crisis – Americans have been rediscovering the power of protest.”

— Sarah Jaffe writing in Rolling Stone, November 15, 2016

 

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