Only two days have passed since Donald Trump was elected to be the next president of the United States. And almost immediately, protests over his election began all over the country. Opposition to Trump was so vehement throughout the campaign that these organic, immediate protests are not surprising.
Also unsurprising is the reaction to these protests from Trump supporters.
A few of my friends shared a post on Facebook today that read, “Protests only work if human rights have been violated. Protesting for not getting your way is just crying.”
Other posts urged the protestors to get jobs, stop crying, get over it, or run home to mommy and daddy.
I understand that people who voted for Donald Trump probably don’t agree with the protestors. However, I’m surprised at their angry, mocking reaction to the protests and the protestors for a variety of reasons.
First, I would think that given the number of un-American policies that Mr. Trump has endorsed, his supporters might relish the chance to show that they support something so basic to American history, rights, and values as the mass protest.
Trump voters balk at being called racists or haters, even though they’re supporting a candidate who wants to ban an entire religion from entering the country, stated that Mexican illegal immigrants are rapists, and didn’t immediately distance himself from an endorsement by the KKK.
Of course Trump voters support the Second Amendment. According to many of them, the Second Amendment is all that keeps this country from being overrun by a tyrannical government.
So if they reject being called un-American for the policies they endorse, and they’ve shown an intrinsic love of the Second Amendment, then why not extend that love to the First Amendment? Freedom of speech, religion and the press are well known, but that amendment also protects the right of the people to peaceably assemble.
Surely we can’t pick and choose which Constitutional amendments, or even which parts of amendments, we want to endorse, can we? Surely they’re not implying that there are no exceptions to the Second Amendment, but there is an exception to the First Amendment, namely, that there is no right to protest the result of an election.
The first part of the graphic shared on Facebook, the part the reads, “Protests only work if human rights have been violated,” also interests me. What is the Black Lives Matter movement if not a human rights movement? By that definition, will Trump supporters admit that they were wrong to mock the Black Lives Matter protests?
Another reason that I’m surprised by how much Trump’s supporters dislike the protests is that before the election Trump himself didn’t guarantee he’d accept the results unless he won. How many times did we hear him talk about a rigged election, even before the election took place?
And let’s not forget the numerous calls for armed revolt if Clinton won the election. Former GOP Congressman Joe Walsh suggested he’d grab his musket if Clinton won. Lunatic Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke said that if Clinton won it would be “pitchforks and torches time.” Trump voters themselves discussed the possibility of marching on the capitol with arms to remove Hillary Clinton from office if she won.
So those who complain about the peaceful, non-violent protests taking place in reaction to Trump’s election are arguing that these Constitutionally-protected actions should not take place, yet if Trump lost, some of his supporters vowed to undertake an armed rebellion.
Trump supporters must have also forgotten about the Tea Party protests that began in February 2009, barely a month into Obama’s first term. Much of Trump’s support comes from Tea Party sympathizers, yet they don’t recall that they organized their own protests of the new president.
I can also point out the way that Senate Republicans refused to do their Constitutional duty to consider President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, which is a protest that actually flies in the face of the Constitution.
It’s true that elections have consequences. However, silence from the opposition is not one of those consequences.
One last point about the Constitution. It’s particularly interesting to note that the only reason Trump is president is because of the electoral college system devised in the Constitution. Clinton received more votes than Trump. So when Trump supporters talk about Trump being president because it’s the “will of the people,” I hope they realize that it’s the will of the people who lived in 1788 that is being honored.
Because the will of the people in 2016—as measured strictly according to the number of votes received nationwide—is for Hillary Clinton to be president. (Note: This is the sixth time in the past seven presidential elections that the Democratic candidate won the popular vote.)
This is the perfect place to add the famous Margaret Mead quote: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”
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