Not My President’s Presidents’ Day Rally

The cerulean skies covered the masses chanting at Columbus Circle. February 20, 2017 The Not My President’s Presidents’ Day Rally was celebrated by supporters and haters of the new President Trump. It was truly a beautiful day, and although I felt under the weather, I entered the hustle and bustle like I was there for a reason. As I started taking photos of the signs help proudly, I tried to tie in different scenarios happening within the scene.

This photo was a representation of Trump denying refugees into America. Adam Luedtke, a Queensborough College Professor, compares Trump having a rally in Florida as a sitting president to that of a dictator like Fidel Castro. I asked Luedke what he thought it would take to get President Trump impeached to which he referenced Nixon’s actions in The Watergate Scandal. “He [Trump]’s shady, he would need to burglarize information or do something drastic that would cause both parties to move towards an impeachment.” Luedtke also states that, “Bannon wants totalitarianism.”

Throughout the rally, I saw many indicators that people fear the government taking over their freedom of expression. Opposers of fascism and social justice leaders unite to voice their concerns. However, this event was supposed to clear out by 4pm. I spoke with Jane Martin-Lavaud, a public school band teacher. She told me, “Betsy Devos is dangerous. She may be taking out Common Core but what will she replace it with? What they are trying to do is promote magnet schools and defund arts programs throughout the country.” Both of her daughters participate in a photography program in New York City. She describes Trump as a “con artist, businessman creating a family dynasty.” With new reforms, I’m left wondering will any type of education become obsolete and only available to the economically elite? The fake news is not the only problem the mediated environment faces, Luedtke says what’s scary is the “truth distortion.”

Martin-Lavaud says, “fake news is leading to more restricted information. Textbooks made in Texas by Pearson and McGraw Hill may distort historical facts with this new administration.” President Trump refused to condemn the KKK, making a lot of the rally attenders fearful that he will deny genocide and minimize the involuntariness of slavery. The education of our children occurs not just in the classroom, but it is our duty to show them what is socially acceptable and not. If only Trump’s actions as President were more like Tony Stark. He already has the whole arrogant, rich part going for him. I spoke with Nicole George, a comic book artist and student from Brooklyn. Her favorite superhero is Santana, a magician, and she agrees, “Trump is like Tony Stark with money and power.” The very heroes our society emulates are the frames that allowed for President Trump to come into power. George stands strong for social justice and says, “Trump is evil and malicious and needs to be stopped.” She suggested that it would help if he looked into protecting women’s rights and funding Planned Parenthood because “why not they have billions.” Martin La-Vaud suggests that we focus on food, water, air, land, public education, healthcare, and funding arts. She made a sign with artwork from 1977 that she held high at The Women’s March last month. Before 4 o’clock, people started dispersing throughout Central Park West. An NYPD Officer, who will remain anonymous, said that if people stay after 4 they will be considered loitering. This is a public sidewalk and using the police to shut and lock people up is an obstruction of justice. He said that the police don’t want to be here, they have to pay bills like everyone else and acknowledges that everyone has a voice it’s just they want to make sure everyone is safe. He says, “It’s all political. Negativity spreads.” I asked George if she thought the rally was overwhelmingly positive or negative, she responded, “a little bit of both.”

With a Trump fan waving his flag next to the hovering globe, this attracted many angry debaters. Martin-Lavaud said to me, “Those people are the reason we need the police.” With a feverish political climate, the people are sick and disgusted easily. Opposing opinions and racism rattles them to the core, understandably this is New York. Whoever the aggressor be, people give attention to both ideologies and this comes at a price. The cost is our opinion of fact; our common sense discerning between what is true and a result of propagated generalizations. Regardless, people who are in the public discourse should not have their freedom taken away. If we did not have different ways of viewing the world, this event would not be nearly as passionate.

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