Donald J. Trump is officially the President of the United States and I have never been more afraid. Not only for myself as a woman, but for the countless groups of people in this country that will be targeted under his administration such as Muslims, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, people of color and countless other marginalized groups. I fear for their livelihoods. Trump's ascension to power puts their lives at risk. By protesting his inauguration I am choosing not to accept this fear as normal. People within this country should not be afraid for their lives because of a racist, sexist, misogynistic leader. Our government is supposed to protect us, not scare us. This is not normal by any means.
On Friday night, I attended a rally in Downtown Chicago. It was not violent or spiteful; rather, it was attended by people of all ages and races who felt compelled to stand up for the rights of those who are being threatened. Some wanted to express love, fear, frustration or any of the multitude of emotions that were present in the variety of signs. For me, this event provided some solace. Seeing so many people who are on the same side as me helped me to realize that I'm not alone and that the resistance is much bigger than I imagined. The fact that so many people are protesting the inauguration proves to me that the majority of the American people do not want this man as our president, as indicated in the polls (over three million more people voted for Hillary Clinton than Donald Trump). We did not gather to spread negativity or violence — we gathered to oppose the media's normalization of President Trump.
Another reason I protested is because I'm frustrated. People keep asking me "Why don't you want the President to succeed?" and my answer is this: if he succeeds, the consequences are endless. Thousands of Americans will die without access to healthcare, families will be torn apart due to deportations, the climate will digress even further, hate crimes will increase (more than they already have), widespread disapproval of our leader will weaken our standing on an international level and the list goes on. The success of Trump's presidency is not something I want to see and that's why I'm on the streets making my voice heard.
I'm tired of people telling me I'm being unpatriotic. My problem isn't with America, it's with the man who has been put in charge of it. I love this country as much as anyone else, but I truly believe that with Trump as our leader, it will no longer be the America that I know. If people's fundamental human rights are denied, how can America still be "the land of the free?" It's simple: it can't and it won't. In order to preserve our country as we know it, something needs to change. Although I know that most people believe that nonviolent resistance doesn't actually make any real changes, the recent success of the NoDAPL movement proves otherwise. Using nonviolence within a movement has been proven over and over again to be more successful than any other method of resistance.
Even if you don't agree, it's important to respect those who are making sacrifices to stand up and fight back against injustices. It's also important to realize that the vast majority of people resisting the inauguration are not doing so violently. Characterizing an entire movement by a small, radical group isn't an accurate representation of the movement. Simple because your rights aren't being threatened doesn't mean that other people's aren't. Although people will continually tell me that what I'm doing is ridiculous, I'm proud to stand with a movement that doesn't accept injustices and is willing to stand up and fight back.
Lead Image Credit: Aggie Kallinicou