Nearly a month ago the United States of America elected its 45th President, Donald Trump. Since his inauguration, a week has not gone by where the public hasn’t witnessed news coverage of a grassroots protest.
Protests have spring up in places such as the Phillipines, where 300 people protested Trump outside a US embassy following the inauguration, and even London where reports indicate 10,000 people came out to object to the Muslim immigration ban. Dissenters around the world are joining millions of Americans in taking a stand against not just President Trump, but his administration and what they represent: corruption, sexism, xenophobia, and a basic disregard for inherently American ideals.
In just one month alone, there have been two major protests. The first was the Women’s March which officially took place in Washington D.C. a day after the inauguration with sister marches occurring simultaneously across the country. It was the largest one-day protest in modern U.S. history. While it was formally called the Women’s March, the demonstration was in light of a range of issues and not just women’s rights. At the sister march in Helena, Montana, supporters came from across the region to express solidarity with the LGBTQ community, the Standing Rock Sioux, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Then after Trump’s signing of an executive order which blocked entry into the United States from several predominantly Muslim countries, protests spontaneously arose to combat what came to be known as the Muslim ban. Thousands of people were meeting at airports to protest officials not allowing immigrants, including refugees fleeing Syria, to enter the United States. These two protests are in addition to the millions of people who protested Trump after election night, before he was even sworn into office.
America is in a new era of social turmoil the likes of which the country has not seen for some time. More and more citizens are empowering themselves to stand up for what they believe and challenge the authority of an administration that actively seeks to squash dissent under a wall of politics and “alternative facts.”
There are so many different movements going on right now in the country. There’s the Black Lives Matter movement, designed for the purpose of empowering millions of Americans to shine a light on the systematic racism that has plagued police departments and the judicial system. Then there’s the millions of people who have stood with the Standing Rock Sioux, who object to the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a project President Trump signed an executive order to resume. There are also the aforementioned Muslim ban protests and people protesting for equality.
Elected officials in government are even protesting. Some have resigned from their posts in protest, refusing to serve the Trump administration. Others, like former attorney general Sally Yates, were red for taking a stand against what were deemed unlawful orders issued by the President.
Due to the growing number of American protests and unrest in recent years, some are questioning the idea of whether all of these movements are converging into a modern iteration of the Progressive Movement. According to US History.com, progressivism has had three main goals over the years: to fight corruption in government, include more citizens in the political process, and hold government accountable for establishing fairness and helping to alleviate social problems.
What all these movements have in common is an underlying belief that America stands for something greater, something better, that the way things are right now in the country are not where they should be. People are exercising their right to protest and will continue to do so until things change. That’s how you make a difference in the world.
I believe things are already starting to change. In addition to making the Trump administration sweat, the protests are bringing people together under a singular purpose. Americans are assembling everywhere to fight for a common good. Whether black or white, Asian or Indian, Muslim or American, everybody is coming out together.
The commonality people share as human beings is greater than any single ethnicity or na- tionality. Case in point, there’s a picture circulating online wherein two dads are holding up their chil- dren. One man is Jewish and the other is Muslim, both of their chil- dren are holding signs. One sign says “Love, Love” while the oth- er says “Hate has no home here.” Historically, Jews and Muslims have hated each other and fought for generations; that’s part of the reason there has been so much con ict in the Middle East. But in that one moment in an airport protest, a Muslim and Jew put aside their ideology and stood in solidarity together. It goes to show that when people put aside their differences there is no challenge that cannot be met, no obstacle that cannot be conquered.