This Is The Wrong Response To The Donald Trump Protests
Protests following Donald Trump's election carried on into Thursday across the country as political opponents rallied against the racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, and Islamophobic campaign that helped propel him into the highest office in the land. With signs reading "Not My President," and "Stop Trump," the protesters took to the street in big cities, primarily in blue states, but also in places like Atlanta and Texas. In Los Angeles, the march took place in Downtown L.A., and the march moved onto the 101 Freeway, blocking traffic — something that upset Twitter users who must love to drive more than equality.
One can debate the utility of the protests, their affect on the Democratic process or the respect for a peaceful transfer of power. But that was not the debate playing out on Twitter. A number of users pointed out that the protestors should not have the indecency to block a road because "ruining people's lives" is not OK. That's absurd. Ruining people's live is definitely not OK, but how does cutting off a freeway do that? It's an inconvenience maybe, but it pales in comparison to the potential ways that a Trump presidency could literally ruin, or end, people's lives.
Take, for example, other things that he could cut off, like access to healthcare. Trump said that in his first 100 days he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare. But with what? Will it guarantee an expansion of Medicaid that poor people across the country utilize to pay for doctors visits and medicine? Probably not. That's 73 million Americans we're talking about here. Kaiser Health News quoted a conservative research fellow, Brian Blase, saying: "If we do not have fewer people in Medicaid in four years, then we have not reformed health policy in a good direction."
Or what about access to a safe learning environment — regardless of your gender identity. Without progressives at the helm of the Department of Justice and Department of Education (will that even be around for long now?) there's no guarantee that Title IX will be used to protect the right of transgender students to use the bathroom they feel safest in. Schools could very well be allowed to discriminate, because only federal Justice Department action has ensured this nationwide. Now the current case set to be heard by the Supreme Court on the matter could land on the side of discrimination in the Republicans are able to steal Obama's appointment.
Not to mention just being safe in your community. American Muslims are already under attack at increasing numbers. In July, CBS News covered reports of Muslims being beaten and even shot entering mosques for prayer. In August a New York imam and his assistant were killed. These kinds of aggressions will continue with someone spewing hate from the Oval Office.
The fear among undocumented Americans has also skyrocketed as Trump promises to start deportations of a massive scale. Even if he starts with people who have a criminal record, the possible disregard for civil liberties is unbelievable. Then there's Trump's promise of more "law and order," which likely translates into more black Americans dead at the hands of the police. Black Lives Matter supporters do not have an ally in a president endorsed by the KKK.
These ways, and more, are the way that you ruin people's lives. In the big scheme of things, blocking a highway doesn't even hold a candle to the real difficulties that many Americans will face under a Trump presidency (and these are just a few). Maybe protesting his election is not appropriate, maybe the protestors should focus on the unfair system of the Electoral College, or pressure electors to vote for the winner of the popular vote. Those are all valid opinions to have. But putting a highway above the lives of our fellow Americans is not acceptable.