Anger. Grief. Sorrow. Disgust. Pure bewilderment. Rage. Determination. Resistance. Helplessness. Despondence. All of these feelings (and a plentiful amount more) have been ones that seem to be permeating not only my Facebook wall as of late, but most other peoples’s social media feeds as well (at least the ones who have a majority of liberal (or at the very least, reasonable friends). I do have, believe it or not, some pro-Trump people in a few friend/family circles; but by and large the feeling around my world (and the rest of the country) is a potent mix of horror, outrage, and severe depression by what our fledgling-Dear Leader Trump and his anti-women, anti-non-white people, anti-Non-Christian, anti-immigrant, anti-LBGTQ gang of legislative thugs has been doing to our country lately. It isn’t pretty. I suggest looking away, because it’s basically political rape. He is trying to force his ridiculous ideas (and the GOP’s, who are very much guilty of not only enabling this dangerous, unstable, egomaniacal douchebag to rule unfettered, but are taking advantage of his lunacy to get their own insane legislature passed) on the country, and making us feel helpless in the process. We have to stand and watch while he grabs our metaphorical pussies with his pint-sized hands and insists we have to just take it and accept that nothing can stop him.
Here’s the thing though; that isn’t entirely true. We can’t impeach him, no. Nor will the shameless, morally bankrupt Republicans who clearly sold their soul to align themselves with this nutcase. And the Democrats, bless their people-pleasing hearts, have the spine of a bowl of Jell-O. But we the people? We CAN #Resist. We CAN fight back. We CAN protest. And the truth is, protesting DOES work when it’s done in a consistent (non-riotous) manner, and frequently. Trump may not entirely LISTEN to the protesters, but he sure as hell cannot ignore them. He is unable to resist the ability to tune out when people are chanting his name, even when the chanting they are doing is making his name rhyme with DUMP.
Protests are what made the Civil Rights movement so effective. Protests help get women the right to vote. Protests helped get Abortion legalized. Protests helped put the pressure on the White House to end the Vietnam War. Marches and Parades helped inspire people to become more accepting of the LGBTQ community which led to the slow, but eventual legalization of Gay Marriage. We cannot give up on the idea of protesting simply because the payoff is not instantaneous. I know that’s a tough concept in an age where EVERYTHING is fast, instantaneous, and required to be at least borderline entertaining. Protesting is not about having fun (although the feelings of camaraderie, and the cleverness of people’s protest signs often can be). It is about making yourself heard as one group, citing the demands of a common cause. It is about showing that you will not only NOT back down, Tom Petty-style, it is about a show of peaceful force. It is about saying that we will not lie down and let oppression become law. But in order to do that, we have to be willing to do it over and over and over again.
I recently went to Washington D.C. for the #WomensMarch. I went with my husband and my Mother, and some friends. I knew at least 25 people who were at the very same march, but we couldn’t meet up, it was almost impossible. You know why? Because there were SO MANY PEOPLE there! It was wall-to-wall. And the vibe was incredibly chill. No one was fighting or screaming. No one was fucking shit up. No one was punching Nazis (though admittedly, while I am anti-violence, sympathy for the Nazi who WAS punched the day before is hard to scrounge up). The overwhelming feeling, at least to me, that day was one of solidarity. There were folks there for varying different causes: #BlackLivesMatter, #Immigration, #MuslimAmericans, #JewishAmericans, #AnimalRights, #EdcuatorsAgainstDevos, and #LGBTQ rights, as well as #WomensRights. But that didn’t really seem to matter as much as the resounding feeling that we were ALL groups that are being marginalized and legally oppressed by the President of the United States. I cannot think of a time in recent history that a U.S. President had imposed such a feeling of hatred, racism, and discrimination towards most of the population of the country. Nixon was before my time, but I suppose that was the closest time to where we stand now. Reagan was horrible to the LGBTQ community. George W. Bush upset many Americans with his awful foreign policy and eagerness to go to war whenever Dick Cheney moved his hand up his ass. But President Putin Jr. is a whole other can of White Supremacist Dirtbag.
I am proud I marched. I am even prouder that my husband, who is an introvert, who hates crowds with the fire of a thousand suns, and who is mildly claustrophobic, went with me to march because he felt the injustices as strongly as I do. I am proud my Mother, who has always instilled in both of her children a sense of social justice and feminism, was there with me. I am proud that my religion, which is Judaism, has instilled in me the sense of ‘Tikkun Olam’, which means that it is our duty as Jews, and as human beings to help repair the world. And for one day, we made the world stand up and take notice. There were over half a million people in D.C. alone. Over a million WORLDWIDE! But we have got to keep doing it, and doing it in a well-organized, peaceful, but strong-in-numbers way. Occupy Wall Street started out as a very strong, conscience movement, but it eventually diminished over time because not only did the strength in numbers shrink fairly rapidly; they didn’t appear to have much of a clear message. They were deeply disorganized, and their demonstrations sometimes turned into scuffles and would occasionally (I visited the Occupy movement by Zucotti Park several times in its heyday) turn into more of a camping session for homeless drug dealers. By not organizing better, unifying their message, and allowing the movement to become a muddled mess, they were not able to really make anyone take notice and take them seriously. We have to be better than that if we are to effectively stand up to a fascist like Donald Trump (and make no mistake, Mike Pence is skin-crawlingly scary in his own right) and his oil-loving, billionaire racist/misogynist cronies.
This has to be more than making a stand once. If the Women’s March proved anything, it was that we CAN come together as the beautiful melting pot we are, and peacefully get our leader’s attention when we are being hurt by what he does. But if we want to make any kind of legitimate change, to prove we will not take Trump razing rights of the marginalized left and right and using the scraps to flush down the toilet, we have to KEEP DOING IT. Make it impossible for him to ignore us. Make it impossible for him to not see how much we hate what he is doing to our country, to US. Fuck “giving him a chance”. He has had a cornucopia of chances to prove he can be a decent human being and not a goddamned Despot, and he has shown zero interest in proving us wrong about him. Fuck his fascist bullshit, and fuck the people in our government who are allowing him to run amok with the Constitution as if it was his personal snot rag simply so they can suck at his teats of power. (Oh, I’m sorry, am I being too disrespectful? Well perhaps the President would earn my respect more if he didn’t talk about sexually assaulting women and banning entire communities of people based on their religion from entering the country).
As Aziz Ansari noted in his SNL monologue recently about the Women’s March: “If you’re scared about Trump and you’re very worried, you’re going to be O.K., too. Because if you look at our country’s history, change doesn’t come from presidents. Change comes from large groups of angry people. And if Day 1 is any indication, you are part of the largest group of angry people I have ever seen.”