Democracy starts with activism

In Opinion
(Photo by Micah Augimeri-Lee / Daily Titan)

Update: The number of demonstrators at the LA Women’s March was updated from 500,000 to 750,000 on Jan. 24.

Update: This article was updated on Jan. 23 to include the approximate number of demonstrators at the LA Women’s March. 

President Donald J. Trump’s inauguration has left some Americans ecstatic while the others resist, responding with one of the largest protests in U.S. history. Some conservative Americans label the movements as “counterproductive,” but a more apt observation would recognize them as having the potential for revolution.

The people around the nation who attended the historic Women’s March Saturday are not going to let Trump off easy. With over 750,000 turning out for the Los Angeles demonstration alone, according to march organizer Ellen Crafts, the series of marches all around the world easily set this atop the list of largest single-day marches in history, said

“In the spirit of democracy and honoring the champions of human rights, dignity and justice who have come before us, we join in diversity to show our presence in numbers too great to ignore,” according to the Women’s March website.

The website claims that “women’s rights are human rights,” so although it is called the “Women’s March,” the people in attendance were advocating for issues such as LGBTQ, immigrant, Muslim, disabled, environmental and black rights in addition to women’s rights.

If one looks past the Anarchist stragglers who smashed windows of businesses and set things on fire in Washington, as reported by the Washington Post, the multitude of Women’s Marches across the globe this past Saturday set an example for future demonstrations to come.

If people keep up the momentum brought on by this historic event, then real change could be enacted.

While protesting isn’t going to get Trump out of the Oval Office, it will make him aware of his responsibility to all the people. These protests will hopefully curtail any future policy decisions that may have negative effects on the public sphere. If Trumps cabinet picks are any indicator, there could be significant cause for concern.

It’s clear to see that the likes of Betsy DeVos, Rick Perry and Vincent Viola don’t have the proper concern, let alone experience, for the programs they’ll be serving.

Without protesting and voicing the public’s opinion, our educational systems could suffer at the hands of DeVos, a known opponent of public schools. 

Utilizing the First Amendment right to assemble is the essence of being a patriot in America. The American Civil Liberties Union says “Dissent is patriotic,” and this statement seems to resonate with the people of this country.

The halt of the Dakota Access Pipeline in December is a clear success for the effectiveness of protest. Thousands of protesters from different backgrounds came together, persevering through sprays of rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons in the fight to preserve sacred Sioux burial grounds.

And if a country like Poland, who has a dominant conservative party leading their nation, can turn back a strict abortion bill due to massive protests, then the American public should stand in solace, knowing that their efforts are not wasted.

The Women’s March has the potential for enacting the change these other protests have seen. Moments like these are important for democracy to live on.

Individuals are quick to forget that the millennial generation holds a unified anger and a strong need for change, which happens to be the same exact motivator that propelled the country through the Civil Rights Movement about 50 years ago.

After the march in Washington ended, a four-hour long rally was held where a wide array of issues were discussed with the organizers and participants, such as reproductive rights, mass incarceration and environmental issues, according to the New York Times.

“This is not about Trump, we obviously had a huge gap in our discourse after this election as citizens, we have to all work together to close that gap. One group is not going to survive over the other, we have to work together,” Crafts told the Daily Titan.

It’s easy to say that the march didn’t change anything, but protesting is really just the beginning of effecting change. It does not stop at flooding the streets. With awareness, voting will happen and people will hopefully get involved in politics at the local level.

Through activism outside of a computer screen, the American people can control their government, instead of letting it control them.

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