Protest the World
President Trump’s inauguration this Friday was overshadowed by the hundreds of protests worldwide regarding women’s rights. The Women’s March, organized by dozens of feminist and anti-Trump movements, took place in several cities, drawing huge crowds in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, Seattle, Detroit, and even places like Melbourne, London, and Paris. The protests in D.C. obviously garnered attention due to its proximity to the inauguration and the President himself. But one of the main points of interest was the size and energy of the crowds in the protests to inauguration versus the crowd of supporters who were at the inauguration themselves. It was estimated that a quarter of a million people attended Donald Trump’s inauguration speech. In comparison, it was estimated that more half a million (some reports have the tally as high as 600,000) attended the protests the next day. The inauguration numbers are also stark in comparison to Trump predecessor, Barack Obama, who was suspected to have 1 million people at his inauguration in 2013 and 1.8 million people at his inauguration in 2009; although to be fair, that inauguration was the most well attended in history.
While the protest themselves have not been addressed by President Trump, the newly sworn-in leader did take aim at the media by claiming that several news organizations were unfairly reporting on the inauguration and misleading the public about photos regarding the size of the crowd. Donald Trump’s Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, rejected the claims from the media regarding the "smaller than usual" crowd size for the inauguration, stating that if you include the television and mobile device streams, the event was the most watched inauguration ever broadcast. The President tweeted that there were 31 million watching the inaguaration, which is 11 million more than the number who watched the inauguration 4 years ago. While it is true that 30.6 million people estimated by several different groups to have watched the inauguration, and that there were only 20.8 million people who watched Obama’s inauguration in 2013, it is not the most watched in history, with Obama’s first inauguration getting an estimated 38 million views and Ronald Regan receiving the most viewership for his inauguration, with 42 million views on television.
Through My Eyes:
The Women’s March on Washington was a massive movement that will go down in history as one of the biggest worldwide marches/protests in the name of gender equality. It is probably the largest display poised against a particular official in the history of the United States. While I feel Trump himself has not caused the division in the United States, it is tough not to see a figure as divisive, or at the bare minimum, inflammatory, with an approval rating of 37%. While the approval rating is not indicative of how a President will do and large protests do not automatically translate to the change the disgruntled party is looking for, but these facts paint a picture moving forward. You put the most unpopular President in history coupled with political activism (at least symbolic activism) and I believe you are sowing the seeds of revolution. This is one popular argument I hear from liberals who look at the silver lining in Trump being elected over Hilary. They say that if Hilary were nominated, politicians and citizens alike would continue with the status quo and because we felt safe and comfortable with who we had elected, we would have never sought the change we so desperately need. The change Obama called for in 2008.
It is with this that I am optimistic for the future. Donald Trump is a figure that craves acceptance and positive reinforcement. He will continue to get heat from the community and the media if he works to undermine extremely popular programs like the ACA, or Affordable Care Act. But if he starts receiving praise for things that we want to see from him, he will be more likely to do those things. His most recent action to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership is also an action that proves that he is not in lock step with his Republican counterparts, although many were against it due Obama’s involvement.
I believe this along with grassroots organizing and rallying around a combined set of causes, paired with non-violent and well-planned protest, we can be the change we want to see in the world.