Against the Trump Protest

trumpTo see the other side of the article “For the Trump Protest” click here.

Protest are a key tool in the democratic system when wielded right. They can put pressure on leaders to pursue legislative change, or to address injustice. Trump is a self-serving, vindictive, narcissistic, racist, but these protests were misplaced.

What was the goal? What were they trying to achieve? When asked this, the activist Leo Murray (who brought the giant baby Trump balloon into the mix) said this; “[it’s] not a protest against America or Americans, but against what Donald Trump is turning America into”. But that misses the crux of the issue, Trump is not a cause in himself, he is a symptom.

Trump has appeared due to a polarisation of an electorate that hasn’t been allowed to address the issues each side are feeling, and his policies extend from the mandate he was given by his election success two years back. This isn’t about that though. This is about how protest are just becoming a façade.


Look at the protesters, look who gets picked up by the media, both social and traditional. It isn’t the one who is targeting a specific issue but the one with the funniest placard, or the one with the best gimmick.

Last month a thousand women marched through Washington with a clear message, “Abolish the current ICE system”, the system that Trump used to rip children away from parents along the borders and place them into different camps. The protesters sat with emergency blankets on the floor of the Senate building and demanded an end to these barbaric policies. Five-hundred and seventy-five of the activists were arrested, on the grounds they were illegally demonstrating. The arrests were largely peaceful with no handcuffs being used.

This was a protest, it had a clear message and was actively trying to push for change. The London protest where not. For many it was a vanity project. You do it just because it’s the in thing to do. You go out, you protest without actually thinking or targeting the issues at hand, get your photo taken with your witty sign to upload it to Instagram, and make sure not to forget that clever hashtag to rack up the likes.

Globally, the march on the Senate received only a fraction of the attention that the protests in London got. There is a particular reason the media eats up protests like the one in London, but not the rest, and that’s because it is a general interest story whereas the other are political stories. It was similar in comparison to the march against Brexit that occurred last month. The anti-Brexit march received a minuscule amount of media attention, because it was a “dull, one-issue” protest. The media likes it either when protests go off the rails and become violent, or when it’s a feel-good protest with fun stunts and all.

trump1I am not saying everyone in London was missing the point, there were folks like those from amnesty international in the march, who had a clear message to end the human rights abuses at the borders. But these folks were never picked up by the media, because the Trump baby balloon was just too d*** funny.

I am by no means saying protest are bad, in fact, funny signs are great for helping lift spirits when standing up against cruelty. But when they become the main image of the protest, the main message, then we have a problem. The protest loses legitimacy, and those who actually are determined on making a change are overlooked. We need protest, but we need distinct messages about what we are protesting, and what we want. Then we we will start to see change.

-Owain Campton, Co. Editor-in-Chief

To see the other side of the article “For the Trump Protest” click here.

The views expressed are that of the author and not those of the G.U.U.

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