Editorial: Does protesting really make a difference?

Why Not Protest

Protesting against America’s President-elect Donald Trump simply can’t change anything. Trump has already won based on election results taken from ballots placed by Americans across the United States. Because of how our democracy has been set up for more than 200 years, there is no way to change the outcome of the election unless the electors vote against their state’s election results. But don’t count on that. It’s highly unlikely to happen, according to CNN.

It would’ve made more sense to protest against Trump before it was determined that he was going to be president, back when Trump was saying he would build a wall to prevent people from illegally coming to America. Where were protesters when Trump shouted that he would bring back “stop-and-frisk?” Or when he promised to deport 11 million undocumented immigrants? Even though he was just a Republican presidential candidate back then, he was only one step away from being president. If the thought of a Trump presidency alarmed current anti-Trump protesters so much, then steps should have been taken way before now to stop him from getting into power.

We understand that this last-minute protesting feels good for those who feel like Trump’s presidency puts them and their loved ones in danger. A Trump protester might revel at the feeling of carrying a “Fuck Trump” sign or lighting the American flag on fire. These protests are giving those who are angry a chance to let off some steam and congregate with people who share the same sentiments.

It is true that there are power in numbers. The nation should instead look to the future to see how they can help influence public policy through our political system. Get into contact with your state’s legislators and follow what your local government is doing. Vote in the next House of Representative’s election in two years to help put someone in power that can advocate for what you stand for. Protest against or rally for something that can actually be influenced, like current or pending legislation. And prepare for the next presidential election in 2020.

Why protest

Here’s the problem with condemning the protesters about their actions being too late. Americans are trained to live and breathe by the system, and go according to what has been “set up for more than 200 years.” And the system has taught us that we get justice by following the rules (AKA going out and voting), but once that failed us, people had no choice but to take to the streets.

Is it too late? No. Expecting protests before results are in just doesn’t make sense. How are they going to protest Trump being president… before he’s president? How can you expect people to go out and protest and reject someone who’s not even in power (And someone who – let’s face it- no one ever thought would be in power)?

The fact is this is a very original phenomenon. Sure, the other side has always been frustrated when their candidate loses an election, but fact-check yourselves Republicans, there’s never been crowds this size determined not to accept the results. Determined not to take in a president (read: former reality-star) that threatens their rights, and their stay in the country. That’s because the difference has always solely been on political beliefs. Muslims never felt threatened because of a president’s foreign policy stance. LGBT folks never feared of losing their rights (which they were still vigorously fighting for, until Obama came around) because of a president’s remarks. This isn’t just a bad presidential decision. Trump’s a whole different mountain. Not only does he not know anything about economy (remember the four bankruptcies? Or was it six?), he doesn’t know a thing about diplomacy (his form of talking things out is him talking, badly about people. On twitter). So there’s a lot more at stake with someone like Trump having his little fingers over the nuclear power buttons.

And finally, you can’t say the protests are pointless. Think of all the progress this country has gone through – and hopefully it’ll be clear to see it wasn’t always peaceful and lawful. Change and progress is messy but always starts with thousands of people being unhappy. Protesting is the best it’s going to get.