"Uncivil obedience": why we need to protest
Trump won. It’s important that everyone accepts that fact. He beat Hillary even though we might think she’d have been better. He’s the most powerful man in the world. That much is an objective fact. But that doesn’t mean we lie down and accept everything he does, every executive order he signs.
Quite the opposite is true. Now, more than ever before, is the time for protest. Showing our disapproval of his policies and actions in a visual, profound way is the best way to make sure his power is kept within the bounds of logic and sense. We can’t just trust the checks and balances built into the system, because he’s loaded his administration with docile big-business functionaries that are only out for themselves anyway.
They cannot be trusted to keep an objective mind and do what’s right for the majority rather than manipulating policy to add to their already substantial pile of cash. And let’s be honest with ourselves: Paul Ryan and the Congress Republicans will do whatever they have to do to stay in power (see various pro-gun votes ignoring the massive harms of the gun show loophole just to keep the NRA’s whip from strangling them). No one who has any power in Washington can keep Trump logical.
So we’ve got to do it. But how? And why is protest the best way to do it?
Rather than being violent (though that does attract lots of media attention) and lowering Trump supporters to “racists” or “idiots”, we need first of all to accept that they did not all vote for the Republican because they are bigoted or misogynistic. Rather, we must give their views the same moral and philosophical grounding as our own. If we just minimise them by saying they don’t understand the facts, we lose any opportunity that we might otherwise have to debate them and enhance their understanding.
How we debate them is very key here: our arguments must be measured, gentle, and rationally based, not ideological and alienating. We are trying to heal the scars of 20 years of Liberalism triumphant, screaming that they are inherently wrong as humans. It doesn’t work if we tear off the scab. Being understanding is the most important foundation to fixing the political rift.
Next comes how we protest. This is also vital. Things to stay away from are violence and the already-mentioned minimising of Trump supporters: focus our signs on the man himself. Humour is a useful tool in helping ridicule Trump and keep the collective ego held by his supporters as small as possible. Original and gentle works best - everyone’s fed up of the tiny hands jokes by now. Jokes keep the perceptions of Trump down-to-Earth.
Why is protest the most effective way to show out disapproval with Trump? It’s a profoundly visual act: thousands of people streaming down streets as one human river, where all differences between one another become both irrelevant and invisible. It gets media attention, especially when it causes disruption. Not violent disruption: that gives opponents ground to suggest we’re not rational or logical. Armando Iannucci put it best: “Uncivil obedience”.
Marching on whatever city is nearest you needs to provide a powerful yet measured and logical message to the rest of the world.
We can get through this together. We heal. We understand. We resist. We think.