Protesting Donald Trump
As I watched the election results roll in on November 8th 2016, my emotions went from hopeful, to optimistic, to completely speechless and horrified. A thick sense of dread came over me when it was announced that Donald Trump was officially our new President-elect. It seemed nearly impossible that this could happen, yet it had. America had elected a reality TV clown over someone classy, poised and experienced. I sadly watched on T.V. as Hillary’s supporters streamed out of the NYC Javits Center, glass ceiling still intact. They all looked like I was feeling. Stunned beyond words. I tried to sleep that night but it was hard to come by. I kept refreshing my Twitter feed hoping that a miracle would happen and sanity would be restored to my country. It felt like I was watching the death of the America I love. Instead of the joyous celebrations that had erupted in the streets of NYC with Obama’s victorys, it was so quiet outside you could hear a pin drop.
I woke up the next morning blearly eyed and still hoping this might all have been a nightmare. But that wasn’t the case. My fears about this inexperienced moron who had done nothing but lie, incite fear, racism, sexism, violence and hatred came crashing at me like a ton of bricks. I felt physically ill. I didn’t know what was ahead for America, but I knew it sure as hell wasn’t going to make us “great.”
When I heard about the first anti Trump protest being held in NYC later that evening, I knew I had to be there. I pulled myself away from the news coverage and ripped up a cardboard box that was lying around to hastily make a sign. I wrote “Love Trumps Hate” on one side and “Not My President” on the other. I had never been to a protest before & I was the farthest from being a “professional protestor” that I kept hearing the Trump trolls talk about. With everything I loved about America at stake and my heart breaking, it was the only thing I could think to do. I needed to be with other people who felt as devastated as I did. So I put on the “i’m with her” pin that I had worn hopefully just 24 hours prior, tied an American flag scarf in my hair, and rode the subway to Central Park with my sign in hand.
As I got to the meeting area outside of Trump Hotel it was lightly raining. Through the rain’s soft pitter pater I could vaguly hear hundreds of voices echoing in the distance, chanting their hearts out. I followed the voices until they grew louder and louder. I walked until I was surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of like minded people. A vast sea of faces from every ethnicity were shouting exactly what I was feeling in my heart. Their brave voices united and rose up as one into the night sky. It was such a beautiful thing to witness. It took my breath away.
As we began to march through the streets of NYC to Trump Tower with rain falling all around us, it felt like the universe was crying. We marched our way down to Times Square and over to Fifth Avenue. New Yorkers stopped what they were doing and came outside on balconies, fire escapes and sidewalks to cheer us on. Many chanted with us. Cars pulled over to beep their horns and give thumbs up. Some of the people watching from buildings even cried. The emotion and energy of the crowd was contagious and palpable.
I walked for almost five miles, chanting my heart out until I was soaking wet and had nearly lost my voice. As we approached Trump Tower the march came to a halt. So many people had joined that we shut down Fifth Avenue. Our protest that night was extremely peaceful and I saw no violence or arrests whatsoever. There was a mutual respect between the police and crowd. Though media often likes to portray protests as violent, that was anything but the case.
Attending my first protest gave me hope that the majority of Americans will fight for good over evil. It restored the faith in humanity I had lost the night before. When I headed home that night I was still grieving over the results, but all the yelling had sure as hell made me feel better. I felt proud to have used my first amendment right of freedom of speech to stand up for what I believe in. A freedom that my own father served to protect in the military.
George Washington once wrote in a letter, “May the children of the stock of Abraham who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other inhabitants; while everyone shall sit in safety under own his own vine and fig tree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” Donald Trump has already succeeded at doing just the opposite of that. He has made Americans fear and hate each other. Donald Trump’s America is not great. America may never be the same, but I still have faith that we will overcome this dark period. I’ll proudly continue to use my right to peacefully protest as long as this national nightmare continues.