Protests: two weeks in review

The fanatical attitude many Americans have toward their political party have blurred the line between reality and fantasy in their protests.


Cameron Cook

Protesters march through the ped-mall.

It’s been two weeks since that fateful night, when the world was turned upside down. Two weeks since the moment in which everything most of us in Iowa City were so sure about was swept out from under us and left us grasping for answers. In other words, it’s been two weeks since Donald Trump pulled a shocking upset over Hillary Clinton in the race for the White House. The time since then has been filled with chaotic protests, with both sides of the political spectrum continuing to sling mud at each other as if the election cycle had never ended. As a fiscal conservative but a social liberal, these protests have left me especially conflicted. When seeing people out protesting, I was torn between my beliefs and my practicality. However, by now, it’s become apparent that some protests have virtually no chance of success, while others could be the catalyst for social change. So for both Democrats and Republicans, here’s an analysis of what’s working and what’s not in this post-election mess.


What’s working: Protests out to influence local institutions are looking positive. I found the downtown march to City Hall particularly effective in communicating the students’ anti-discriminatory message to the school district. I also find community gatherings in support of women, minorities and LGBTQ+ communities particularly heartwarming. Women, Hispanics and Muslims all have been the unwarranted targets of Trump’s discriminatory rhetoric throughout his campaign. With Trump as President-Elect, it is now especially important to reinforce the fact that people of all backgrounds are welcome in America.

What’s not: It is fruitless to protest Trump’s future presidency. For Clinton to be president, 52 electors will have to go against the wishes of their state and switch their votes from Trump, which is not going to happen. Equally impossible is the chance of Trump denouncing the divisive things he has said during his campaign. He doesn’t think he went too far with his rhetoric and is unlikely to change his mind anytime in the near future. In general, liberals have chosen the worst time to impact national policy with their protests. It’s particularly funny to me that people are protesting Trump policies when he hasn’t even taken office yet, nor has announced his clear intention to follow through with the policies that are being protested. Save your breath until the specific policies have been proposed by the Republicans, policies such as building a wall along the Mexican border. Johnson County, especially is a very weak place to influence Congressional action. Dave Loebsack will almost always oppose Republican policies, so all we really can do is threaten Joni Ernst when she is up for reelection in 2020, along with President-Elect Trump. Lastly, rioting and blocking interstate highways is a definite no-no. All you are doing are disrupting innocent people’s lives and creating an unsafe environment in your community. It’s pointless to preach your views to an audience who already hates you. It doesn’t matter what their personal beliefs may be on the subject you conveniently interrupted their rush hour commute to broadcast, they will not listen to you.


What’s working: Conservatives have been pretty good at shaking off the protests directed at them by liberals and keeping the counter-protesting minimal. They obviously accept the fact that Trump will be the next President and aren’t inciting partisan conflicts as much as they used to, with a few exceptions. I would also like to commend the numerous local communities and the North Carolina Republican Party for readily condemning KKK activities in their area. Racist and white supremacist movements should not be tolerated in any of part of the U.S. and all residents of America should be accepted as equal to everyone else.

What’s not: Really think things through before starting select social media protests. Let’s start with #TrumpCup. Forcing Starbucks baristas to shout Donald Trump’s name by buying coffee from their employer is not what I would call an effective movement. Half the time the baristas don’t even care whose name they are hollering and Starbucks is merely happy that Trump supporters are boosting their sales of pumpkin spice lattes. Also, good luck with #BoycottHamilton. It will be difficult to boycott a Broadway musical that will be sold out for the next few years, but I guess what Trump says, goes.

All in all, it has been an interesting two weeks, filled with its own highs and lows. I hope that this column has either made you reconsider your choices, or simply reaffirmed your decision to commit yourself to the cause you feel passionate about. Remember that in the end, we are all Americans and after the last throat has been yelled hoarse and the last sign has been put down, we will come together just in time for the next election to divide us all over again. Have fun in the American mosh pit!