Monday, January 23, 2017

Trump's Victory has Spawned Unprecedented Opposition

The inauguration of Donald Trump marks the start of a very dark time in the history of the world. However, it has also given birth to a movement that gives us reason to hope.

The scale of the protests against Trump is unprecedented. The protests started even before inauguration day and they steadily grew. These protests culminated in the Women's March in Washington D.C., across the US and throughout much of the world. This was not your average protest. It was the largest March in US history with almost three million Americans participating in every state in the union. This protest was larger than even the biggest civil rights protests, there were more people present to protest Trump than there were at protests against the Vietnam war, this event even dwarfed the Million Man March.

People were protesting disparate issues and ideologies but they were all unified in their contempt for Trump. Democrats who were once bitterly divided came together with a common purpose. Republicans and independents that cannot bring themselves to support such a vile human being as the new commander and chief were also present. Many are protesting for the first time in their lives and some people who were previously apolitical vowed to get more involved in politics.

Widespread disdain for Trump is also borne out by the polls which show he has the lowest approval rating of any incoming president.

Rather than represent a resurgence of conservatism Trump's victory may actually signal the end of an era. The movement that now opposes Trump may eventually sweep away the last vestiges of irrational right wing conservatism. Although it may be difficult to see from the dark hole we are
in today, the Trump administration's denial may augur the end of political resistance to science. It may even force anti-science Republicans to accept the veracity of climate change.

Even if these hopes materialize, we are still in for an unimaginably horrible four years. Trump (or Pence if Trump is impeached) will do a lot of damage over the next four years. However, the unprecedented self interest of this administration suggests that even the under-educated racists that voted for Trump may realize that their leader is not working in their interests.

It is entirely plausible that this is the last hurrah of white people concerned about their loss of privilege. It will soon become obvious, even to learning disabled bigots, that Trump is not helping them he is hurting them.

The intolerant vitriol of modern day conservatism may signal the end rather than the beginning. The demise of conservatism being envisioned here is analogous to one of the explanations offered for the rise of religious fundamentalism. The savage manifestations of religious extremism or political conservatism can be construed as the last gasps of dying traditions.

The significance of the anti-trump movement was explored by Los Angeles Times reporter Cathleen Decker. She penned an article titled, "huge rallies may signal an emerging anti-Trump movement..." While protestors spoke of creating a lasting movement, Decker wonders if the movement can last. Trump is Trump and he will continue to give people reasons that drive them to protest.

While many men also showed their support, given Trump's overt misogyny, it was poetic justice to see women at the helm of this massive protest. "This is the moment of the beginning of the revival
of the women's movement," New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand told the crowd.

If we are to change the tides of our political misfortune we must collectively challenge Trump's lies. Given their frequency, this is no small feat. However, together we can counter the cacophony of lies from this disturbing new government.

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