Mindless Demonstrations Against Trump

This Friday Donald Trump will be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States. And there are numerous plans in place for counter demonstrations. I really don’t understand their purpose. Of course, anyone has the right to demonstrate peacefully, just as anyone has a perfect right to make a fool of himself. But what exactly do they hope to accomplish? Has anyone among the organizers sat down and thought through what they are trying to do, other than making noise?

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I can understand demonstrations intended to force a change of policy or those intended to raise social consciousness about some injustice. These demonstrators dislike his policies, as best as they can perceive them, but this is how our system works. The people vote for the policies they prefer, someone wins, and many don’t like this result one bit. Jumping up and down in anger about losing seems profitless and – let me say it – ill-mannered to boot.

As to raising social consciousness, my guess is that the real consequences of their disturbances will be quite the opposite. Believers may sing hosannas, but the rest of us will recoil in dismay. This inauguration is not a celebration of Donald Trump’s victory. The Clintons will be attending and surely you don’t believe this is their purpose. Rather, a Presidential inauguration is a proud celebration of a peaceful transition from one set of leaders to the next. Few other countries can boast of a similar long history of democracy working in practice. No minds will be changed by marchers chanting slogans because there is, as yet, no common sense of injustice in the election of Donald Trump. When he begins to act on his promises, however, then demonstrations might be in order and might even be effective.

I have listened to a few interviews of demonstrators, but all I heard was anger, fear and intense dislike. There seemed to be no positive goals at all. I suppose it is cathartic to vent like this but everything has consequences, and my guess is that none will be good for those involved.

Basically, it seems a bit like saying to the incoming President, “F*** you! And by the way, please listen to my concerns.” When has this approach ever worked? Would it work with you? And directed at this particularly thin-skinned egotist, would this be the course of action any sensible person would choose?

Civil rights demonstrations at least have a purpose and moral authority. Positive action in response is conceivable. This just seems like a childish tantrum of thwarted desires and dashed hopes. Even impartial observers will watch this the way you do when a child at a neighboring table in your restaurant has a screaming fit. Do you feel compassion for the kid or just wish the parents would take the brat off somewhere and leave you in peace?

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