Peaceful Protest Can Be Powerful, but Will It Hold?
Donald Trump is the President of the United States, and the past three weeks have been absolutely disastrous. Two months ago, though, the idea of compromise between Democrats and Republicans was still a probable one. But that idyllic vision is evidently no longer possible. The new wave of alt-right Republicans have decided they would rather live in an alternate reality in which they define what’s true and what’s false, rather than having to interact with Democrats. And Democrats have instead gravitated toward something much more impactful: resistance.
Post-election sadness has turned to anger, and from the nationwide women’s marches to relentless protesters occupying airports in response to Trump’s travel ban, Democrats are firm in their resolve to resist President Trump at all costs. History has proven time and time again that anger and motivation channeled into the form of peaceful protest can be a powerful thing, and now is no different. Since his election, President Trump has back-tracked or compromised on a number of his brazen, thoughtless declarations the minute any kind of sizeable opposition emerges, whether it be ordinary people or lawmakers telling him he “can’t do” whatever it is he wants to do.
Most recently, federal Judge James Robart temporarily blocked the entire travel ban. And a couple of weeks ago, when news broke that the Trump administration planned to remove all mentions of climate change from the EPA website, those plans were halted overnight. A formidable backlash hit the administration from many Americans, who insisted the information remain up. Resistance works. But the question is, for how long will Trump’s opponents remain willing to fight for their cause? Democrats are said to have found their leftist version of the Tea Party movement, but will they sustain this level of passion in resisting the new president and his policies?
While on a college-visit trip to New York, I found myself dead center in one of the women’s marches. As I walked through Times Square that day, I was moved to tears. Being surrounded by all different types of people fighting for a common cause made me realize that Trump’s presidency is temporary, but the overflowing light, life, and power brought out by unity and togetherness is forever. But not everyone had similar epiphanies, and for that reason I am worried.
Observing the behavior of some young people after Trump’s inauguration, it is clear that hating on Donald Trump has become the trendy thing to do. For each person who attended the women’s marches with passion for the resistance effort, another attended purely on the basis of bandwagon appeal. Sadly, some seemed to want nothing more than a good photo-op. Once the act of rebelling is no longer glamorous, will young people, the driving force, abandon it?
Listen close. I’m here to tell you to never fade away. There will be times when hard work and dedication does not succeed. There’s the demoralizing Army Corps eviction notice to a Dakota Access Pipeline protest camp last week. Efforts fail sometimes, but we must keep fighting. Do not lose hope; this is the next four years of our lives.
It is each and every one of us who must do everything we can to resist, and resistance can take many forms. Get the word out on social media. Educate those around you. Take to the streets, and be a part of a peaceful protest. Call your elected officials, your senators, urging them to vote against the new administration’s legislation.
Do something, and do it with dedication. Because it’s truly all we’ve got.
Odessa Stork, 16, is a senior at Carpinteria High School and proud student athlete. She dreams of becoming a political journalist and will be attending Hofstra University in the fall, majoring in journalism and playing NCAA Division 1 tennis.