Thousands of people took to the streets of various American cities — including New York, L.A. and Chicago — on Saturday to protest against president-elect Donald Trump. It was the fourth day of such protests after his surprising — and astonishing — election victory on Tuesday, Nov. 11.
I’m guessing the protesters want to send a message to Trump and co., as in they don’t want any part of plans to restrict immigration and put restrictions on Muslims or anyone else.
If that is why they are demonstrating in the streets, I applaud them. And I applaud them for speaking out against what they perceive as his threats to civil and human rights. And his misogyny. They’re letting him know that they won’t quietly accept that sort of behaviour from the president.
But if they think they can derail Trump’s presidency, that they can change the outcome of the election, they are very sadly deluded. Even if Trump decided to throw in the towel — as in, “Screw this. I don’t need this grief. I’m outta here” — it would not make Hillary Clinton president. Mike Pence would become the president of the United States, and as many are pointing out, that would be worse than having Trump in the White House.
You gotta hope the protesters understand this. And you gotta hope they will soon realize they are disrupting the lives of a lot of people when they take to the streets.
As one frustrated driver, whose car was among many blocked on a Florida highway by protesters, told a CBC News reporter: “Trump will be our president. There is no way around that, and the sooner people grasp that, the better off we will be. There is a difference between a peaceful protest and standing in a major highway backing up traffic for five miles. This is wrong.”
You can understand the driver’s frustration. Many Montrealers can relate to it. Student protests in that city — infiltrated by anarchists and hoodlums — disrupted traffic daily and nightly for months. There were riots, looting, injuries and arrests, lots of arrests.
And that is what is developing in the United States, with at least one non-life-threatening shooting — so far. But you gotta know it will get uglier, and in a land where “there is a gun beneath every blade of grass,” people are going to die in these riots.
You can blame the anarchists. You can blame the hotheads. You can blame the young, peace-loving kids who are trying to make a difference.
They made a difference the first night. And maybe the second night.
But the third and fourth nights are too much. Now they are becoming enablers of increasing violence — and when the first person dies in one of these demos-turned-riots, they will have to live with the guilt that they are partially responsible.
The demonstrators have to face the facts: Trump won, fair and square — under the voting system in place. There are other ways to get their message across to the White House. Like the White House petition process, found on its web site.
This is a time when young people should be on their computers, launching social media campaigns to rein in plans by Trump. This is not the time to become an unruly mob on the street — no better than the very forces they are protesting against.
Photo credit: Top photo of a Protest March – Washington Square Park to Trump Tower via 6th Avenue – Nov. 11, 2016. (Source: Anthony Albright, Wikimedia Commons)