In the lead-up to the November election, polls indicated that Americans were not happy about the options they'd been given. Both Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton set records for their abysmal approval ratings; some voters felt it was a matter of choosing the lesser of two evils. Enthusiasm hit basement-level low. But it seems that the move from candidate Trump to President Trump has ignited a grassroots activism for a growing number of Americans. Indeed, since his swearing-in on Jan. 20, Trump has single-handedly set off a wave of protests and solidarity movements across the nation.
It seems that Trump himself is as gifted at mobilizing liberals as the 2016 candidacy of Bernie Sanders. Perhaps Trump will one day even match the sweeping engagement for Democrats brought on by the revelation of 2008's then-Sen. Barrack Obama. As the past four weeks have demonstrated, the current POTUS has an extraordinary ability to bring people together, united against... him, and his policies.
The diverse range of opposition to Trump — both in terms of the people he brings together and the span of ideas they reject — strikes this writer as somewhat staggering. It isn't just opposition to government spending and Obamacare, or a fierce disapproval of the Iraq War. It's widespread disapproval of Trump in toto. These are just a few of the ways people have come together during the first four weeks of Trump's presidency.
1The Women's March
Comprised of millions of women, children, and men, and stretching all around the globe, the Women's March came just one day into the Trump administration. The poetic justice of such timing speaks for itself, and it remains to be seen if any subsequent outcry will reach the sheer numbers that distinguished the 2017 Women's March. But for innumerable humans the world over, this first demonstration of solidarity against some of the rhetoric and policies supported by the current president functioned as a kind of launching pad for healing and empowerment.
2The Airport Protest
Spontaneous demonstrations are sometimes the best kind, and the thousands of protesters who flocked with homemade signs to airports across the country in response to Trump's travel ban were the epitome of grassroots resistance.
The above photo from Chicago went viral due to its capacity to inspire unity, which stands in stark contrast to much of Trump's language about immigrants in general, and Muslim immigrants in particular.
3The New York Yemeni Bodega Owners Peacefully Protesting
New York City is home to roughly 80,000 Yemeni immigrants, over 2,000 of whom turned out in Brooklyn's Borough Hall after Trump signed his initial executive order barring the entry of travelers from Yemen. (The order has since been blocked, and Trump has sworn to issue another.)
The peaceful gathering was marked by a profusion of American flags, signaling their support for the country most of them now call home.
4Churches, Mosques, And Synagogues Joining Together
According to Religion News Service, "More than 800 U.S. congregations have joined the sanctuary movement — a promise by churches, synagogues and now, mosques, to shield undocumented immigrants from deportation and other government actions..." And unfortunately, it's not a strictly symbolic gesture. On Feb. 15, Jeannette Vizguerra became the first known immigrant to seek refuge in a Colorado church out of fear of being deported.
5Jewish-Muslim Solidarity Grows
Muslim Americans pull together to fund the repairs of nearly 200 headstones that were damaged in Jewish cemetery https://t.co/LRXPrdDbST— CNN (@CNN) February 22, 2017
The presidency of Trump has coincided (probably not coincidentally) with a rise in solidarity between Jewish and Muslim Americans. And that's as powerful a display as any of the unique divisiveness of Trump's policies and rhetoric. It's not a regular feature of any government to have the person at the helm making remarks viewed by many as both anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim.
6"Indivisible" Becomes A Resistance Movement
The Indivisible movement started out in Austin, Texas as a conversation between married couple Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg about how to navigate a Trump as POTUS world. In just a few short months, their brainchild has grown into a national movement with 7,000 affiliates. If you're looking to find the best ways to resist against Trump and his policies, the Indivisible online guide is quickly becoming every anti-Trumper's go-to handbook.
7Donations To The ACLU
The amount of money flowing to the A.C.L.U. in the era of President Trump is enormous. Just one full day after he tried to put a ban on travelers from seven majority-Muslim countries, donations hit $24 million. To put that in perspective, online donations to the A.C.L.U. in 2015 were just $3.5 million. The A.C.L.U. has also experienced a huge jump in members, with 150,00 - 200,000 joining the organization since Trump's election.
As these seven examples illustrate, there is a great range of opposition to President Trump. Protesters are joining up around the Indivisible guidelines to advocate for policy goals such as keeping healthcare, Muslims and Jews have joined up to push back against bigotry in all its iterations, religious institutions are together decrying deportation, not to mention women getting together on an international scale the day after Trump's election. It's been four weeks marked by protests, which just goes to show the power of a motivated and involved public.