Less than 24 hours after Donald Trump’s victory early Wednesday morning, protests in several major cities and on many college campuses began. Opposed to Trump’s victory, the aims of the protests were not immediately clear. In cities where Trump buildings are located, like Chicago and New York, the protests were at or near the buildings.
Chants like “Not My President” and “F*** Donald Trump” can be heard in the many videos documenting the protests. Oddly enough, the “Not My President” saying that was used after President Obama’s first election in 2008 has been rolled out again to protest Trump’s victory. Protestors at most of the demonstrations were non-violent, but unfortunately, there were several instances of violence and property damage at few demonstrations.
Collegiate institutions across the country have held events to discuss the outcome of the election (including a Vox Populi event here at Hope College) and to assist distressed students with their emotions. These “safe space” events are an explicit granting of legitimacy to largely outrageous student concerns. Postponing an exam or canceling class due to the results of an election only further damages a collegiate institution’s reputation in America today. Although the concerns of those who have been harassed are entirely valid and should not be taken lightly, stating that Trump is “not your president” does not change the fact that he won the electoral college.
Attacks by supporters of both candidates have been widely publicized on the internet. Pictures of racist remarks on individual’s cars following the election and sayings that will not be repeated here were seen on school walls across the country. On the other hand, there is one video of a man being beaten in the middle of a Chicago street because he “voted for Trump,” while another video shows bricks being thrown at the cars of Trump supporters in Portland, Oregon, the site of violent protests and numerous arrests as a result.
Supporters of both candidates have expressed stories of unprovoked generalizations following the election, most likely coming from supporters of the opposing candidate. Racist remarks by alleged-Trump supporters and vast generalizations by Trump opponents do nothing but continue the malicious election cycle name calling. Regardless of the candidates comments, they were chosen by supporters (in theory) because of their stance policy and ideals.
Concerns about Trump’s campaign rhetoric have been voiced and are not totally unfounded but possibly unbeknownst to the protesters and vocal opponents of Trump is that his actions seem to say otherwise. Trump has already scaled back his promise to deport all 11 million illegal aliens in the country, arguing instead for those who have committed crimes to be deported and stating that those who do not commit crimes are “terrific people.” Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, became the first woman to manage a victorious presidential campaign when Trump won. In his first post-election interview with 60 Minutes, Trump told viewers that he was “fine with” same sex marriage, as it has been “settled” by the Supreme Court.
In the future we expect Trump to lay out more details for his time in office, most notably his Supreme Court nominations, whom he has stated will likely be against Roe v. Wade. The Trump administration will enjoy both Republican control of Congress and likely a conservative leaning Supreme Court. It still remains to be seen whether or not Republicans will rally around the politically untested Trump in Congress or fight his policies to the bitter end.
Protesting a candidate’s position is one thing, calling for him not to be officially elected into office following the results of an election is an entirely different issue. Clinton supporters, prior to the election, alleged that Trump supporters may not accept the results of the election if Clinton were to win. In an almost ironic twist of events, it seems to be the Clinton supporters who are unwilling to accepting the results of the divisive race. Supporters and especially voters for each candidate must have known that there was a chance, however minuscule, that the other candidate could be named the victor late Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning.
Regardless of your political views following any election, especially one as divisive as this years, it is imperative for the nation, as the new Presidential-Elect Donald Trump said in his acceptance speech, to “come together as one united people.”