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Protesting For The Future

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St. Louis Women's March

St. Louis Women's March

St. Louis Women's March

Emmett Klinghammer, Co-Editor in Chief

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When we look back at 2017 in twenty years, what will we remember? Most would say President Trump’s inauguration. Others would say the protests that followed the inauguration. For most high school students, they would say both.

Most high school seniors were ten years old when president Obama was inaugurated for the first time. Looking back at it now as eighteen year-olds, we see all of the things that passed over our heads. Most didn’t understand how historic the event would be. This was the first African-American president in American history. This was the first time we had an African-American first family. What surprised me most were the protests that broke out after Obama had been elected.

Protests built on the results of the election. Racism ran rampant amongst the protesters. Plush versions of Obama were hung in a mock lynching form, then burned. Signs declared that the president was not American, and insisted that Kenya was missing an “idiot.” Along with these other acts of protests, participants wore shirts with profanity and racist slurs.

Most of the people who were involved in these protests have turned to hypocrisy as they condemn the protests against Trump. They turn their noses up in shame as they tell us to respect our new president. What annoys me the most about this, is that these are the people who blatantly blocked President Obama in every aspect of the government that they could. They say that destruction of property makes a protest illegitimate, but if you look at history, you will see that the greatest lessons started with some damaged property.

As a whole, we don’t condone vandalism or destruction of any kind. It doesn’t matter what the situation is. Deliberately destroying something because you are mad is childish, and in most cases quite immature. However, it does not take away a protest’s legitimacy.

In school, the first revolutionary lesson you learn is the Boston Tea Party. The citizens didn’t like what the British were doing, so they rebelled. They protested. They didn’t like the tax on tea, so they threw the incoming shipment of it in the harbor. They didn’t like that the British soldiers were forced into their homes, so they protested. Why is it okay then, but not okay now?

Within one day of Trump’s inauguration, the world united to stand up to his misogynistic and xenophobic views. The Women’s March gathered approximately five million participants worldwide. These weren’t just women either. They were men, non binary people, transgender men, transgender women, children, women of color, and men of color. This event attracted everyone who feared for their rights, and to those who don’t conform to society’s idea of perfection.

While the Women’s March held the world as a captive audience, another protest was slowly starting to bud. On Friday, January 27th, President Trump put a travel ban on the countries of Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Sudan. The ban states that American citizens are not permitted to enter those countries for a period of 120 days, and refugees from the countries are barred from entering the United States for 90 days.

The ban was targeted at countries whose populations are majority Muslim. This ban has since been challenged in a legal fight by the state of Washington, and also has a temporary restraining order taken out by Judge James Robart of the Federal District Courts in Seattle. In total, there are seven states legally challenging the ban. Those states are: Hawaii, Washington, New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, Virginia, and California.

The fight has come down to whether this ban is constitutional or not. In total honesty, this ban is unconstitutional. It seems that the president has deliberately targeted countries that practice the Muslim faith. These countries have not harmed the United States in anyway. These countries are war torn and its populace are just seeking a fresh start, and refuge from their past.

Protests against the travel ban emerged immediately after the executive order was signed. Large groups began protesting in airports where refugees were to be brought in. Anytime there has been a protest, there are politicians that claim the protesters to be paid for their protesting. Sean Spicer, White House Press Secretary, said in an interview with ‘Fox and Friends’ that, “Protesting has become a profession now.” He also went on to say, “They have every right to do that, don’t get me wrong, but I think that we need to call it what it is. It’s not these organic uprisings that we’ve seen through the last several decades. The tea party was a very organic movement. This has become a very paid, Astroturf-type movement.”

Maybe he can elaborate on what he defines as an Astroturf-type movement. Would he consider the civil rights movement to be an Astroturf-type movement? How about the women’s suffrage movement? What about the LGBT rights movement?

The Press Secretary seems to not have an understanding of how humans rebel. If history has taught us anything, it’s that humans rebel at what is seen as injustice. Without protesting and rebelling, we wouldn’t have any of the rights we have today. Separate is not equal. Don’t ask, don’t tell is not equal. Women being bound to the kitchen because of them being women is not equal. Protesting is how we get things done.

 

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Protesting For The Future