My college granddaughter is in town with some Kenyon friends for Thanksgiving, and in a couple of days they will be out at the start of the Thanksgiving parade, protesting. The goal is to remind Trump that he has no mandate and should treat all Americans with respect, and to protest the Dakota pipeline.
I support them , of course, but it got me thinking about other anti-Trump protests I’ve seen. What exactly are they protesting? Like it or not (not!), Donald Trump will be our president in January, and even though he lost the popular vote by well over a million, he “won” fair and square given our antiquated, anachronistic system. “Not my President” signs are unhelpful and downright harmful. We need him to be our President as well. We have seen too many instances where Republicans regard any Democratic President as somehow illegitimate even if they won overwhelmingly. Ask President Obama. For the sake of the country, we have to consider the winner of an election as legitimate, however repugnant.
So let’s vigorously protest the system that gives us Presidents who haven’t earned a majority of the votes cast and work to change it. Let’s also hold the new President’s feet to the fire as best we can and insist that he recognize that he is in fact the President of all Americans and that he must act in the national interest, not his own, even though that may go against his grain. We can protest, yes, absolutely—but we also need to ensure that we send representatives to Congress who will serve as our conduit to convey that message. That means voting, not sulking in the corner because a candidate isn’t somehow “pure.” It is disgraceful that fewer than half of eligible voters actually performed that important duty. Protest that!
All that said, do I think Trump will in fact be good for the country? Not at all. He’s a corrupt, mendacious sociopath and, as Paul Krugman and others have asserted, he will usher in an era of corruption not seen in our lifetimes. But we’re stuck with him, so let’s all do what we can to retain some moral sense and sanity. It’s going to be a rough ride.