There will be plenty of legitimate reasons to protest President Trump, so save your energy.
Protesters upset about Donald Trump’s election should save their energy.
There will be plenty of legitimate reasons to march and protest besides the outcome of an election.
Yes, the country elected an unqualified boor. This is horrifying to many, but it’s not the end of the republic. We still don’t know how Trump will govern, and he seems likely to flip and flop on all sorts of positions.
So what’s the best strategy as his administration coalesces: appealing to his better nature and preparing to defend our values when he goes the wrong direction? Or marching in the street and shouting, “We hate and reject you”?
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The latter reminds me of kids who stomp off the field and won’t shake the other team’s hands when they lose a soccer match.
They’ve lost sight of what’s important and are disrespecting the game and themselves, not the winning team.
Appealing to Trump’s better nature is hard since he’s offended most of the country, including many who voted for him.
This poses a test to cities like Seattle: Are they truly better than Trump and his minions? They fail by rejecting the outcome of a legitimate election — that process is something to cherish, Hillary Clinton said in her concession speech. The best advice was Michelle Obama’s: “When they go low, we go high.”
Mass protests of the vote destabilize and undermine democracy, which is more important than this year’s election, and how America will get through and beyond Trump’s presidency.
Another challenge for Seattle and West Coast hubs is living up to their stated values. Are they really places of tolerance where diversity is celebrated? Tolerance is hard when you don’t like what others do and don’t know them.
Do these cities really accept and respect those with different perspectives, lifestyles and economic circumstances? If so, Midwesterners feeling abandoned by the establishment deserve as much sympathy as vagabonds camping in parks.
To get them to a better place, we must try to understand their plight and why they make seemingly terrible decisions.
Similarly, those in the heartland should see what’s actually happening on the coasts, where cities are thriving, not in turmoil as Trump said during his campaign. It’s painful that urban Clinton supporters are now protesting and burning effigies, providing images and video supporting Trump’s falsehood.
Security experts warned that Trump’s demonization of Muslims helped terrorists recruit — it gave evidence that America’s promise was false, and Westerners hate and reject Islamic culture. Now mass protests are giving evidence to Trump supporters that their culture is under siege and affirming that someone like Trump is needed to restore balance and give them respect.
Trump may have spoofed them. His choice of a transition team and potential cabinet suggests he’ll operate like a skeezy mayor: surrounded with sycophantic idealogues, doling favors to cronies and supporters.
As I said, there will be many reasons to protest, so save your sick days for when they’re really needed. Here are a few places that will need support en masse:
• Federal lands, including wildlife areas: The new president is a real-estate mogul, so there will be “grand bargains” made behind closed doors to allow development in places where it’s been off-limits. This is familiar to Seattleites. Instead of “affordability,” the mythical selling point will be “job creation,” though it’s mostly about making a few people richer at the expense of everyone else.
• Detention centers: If Trump follows through with threats of mass deportation, symbols of his demagoguery will include private prisons like the Northwest Detention Center in Tacoma. Marching there makes a clear point.
• Fuel-export terminals: Trump may boost efforts to build fossil-fuel-export facilities in Washington, increasing shipments of coal and oil through critical habitat and population centers. If Trump diminishes local jurisdiction and safety measures, please protest.
• Newspapers: Yes, “the media” failed to gauge dissent that led to Trump’s election. It gave Trump too much play and too little scrutiny and gave too much faith and ink to “data” guesstimating a Clinton victory.
Even so, the press is needed more than ever to watchdog the most unqualified, mercurial and ethically challenged president in history.
I’m biased here. But the best way to hold Trump accountable and get better outcomes in the next election is for Americans to be more informed by the press.
There’s lots of evidence newspaper readers are more civically engaged, and this election may have gone differently if more than half the country participated.
America under Trump will need your support and action. Consider getting your marching boots ready by walking to the newsstand.