Peaceful Anti-Trump Protesting in Denver
Ever since the results of the 2016 election came in -- that Donald Trump had defeated Hillary Clinton for President of the United States -- people have taken to the streets in protest. It started on election night, and it has been continuing ever since then.
You may have heard the stories about the violent, or at least disruptive, protests taking place. The protests in Portland, Oregon comes to mind.
According to NBC News, the Thursday night protest devolved into a riot when some of the protesters used bats to smash storefronts and cars while others lit fires. The police arrested 26 people and implemented the use of pepper spray and rubber bullets.
During the Saturday night the march in Portland, protesters again became destructive. According to Oregon Live, protesters were throwing items such as glass bottles and road flares at police officers. The police arrested 71 people.
Thousands of people have been gathering in Denver as well. However, the gatherings have been entirely peaceful.
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Community for Unity
The center of the Denver-area gatherings are the Community for Unity. A Facebook construct, the stated intentions of the group are to promote love and tolerance. This comes as a direct reaction to the hateful, race- and gender-biased rhetoric that Donald Trump used as a platform for his presidential campaign.
The first event was held on Thursday, November 10. More than 5,000 people met in front of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver. While many carried signs and chanted in protest, this was an entirely peaceful march.
The protesters marched from the Capitol up the nearby pedestrian mall, the 16th Street Mall. According to organizer Dezy Saint, who organized the protest for the Community of Unity, law enforcement officials were helpful to the marchers at every step of the way, even protecting them from traffic.
An offshoot of the marchers did make their way to I-25 and shut it down. However, the Community for Unity responded with peace, and the marchers cleared the highway without incident.
On Sunday, November 20, the Community for Unity hosted a gathering in Civic Center Park right in front of the Capitol. Several speakers spread their messages of love and peace. There were protest signs and chanting here as well, but the overall ambience was one of a sit-in.
The group is planning another rally at Cheesman Park on Sunday, November 20, at 4:30 pm. Called Love Trumps Hate, the event is billed as a candlelight gathering. Attendees will gather inside a heart and light candles at dusk.
During last Sunday's gathering, Dezy did state that the group would organize more marches as well. Indeed, many group members have expressed a desire to focus at least some of the meetings on fomenting political change.
One reason these gatherings have not devolved as the Portland ones did is because the organizers have emphasized peace and love at every step of the way.
Focus of the Gatherings
The organizers of Community for Unity have been very careful to not label these gatherings as anti-Trump protests. I'm sure that's at least partially to prevent them from becoming destructive and violent as the ones in Portland have.
That said, make no mistake that many of the participants are only there as a reaction to the election of Donald Trump as President. That's clear in many of the signs, including ones that declare the sign holder is "Still with Her," or still supporting Hillary Clinton. Other signs carry variations of the message that "Trump is not MY President."
In fact, the Community for Unity has focused itself on the following six points, as explained by Moshe Kashe on Twitter:
- No one believes they will effectively stop a Trump inauguration.
- They are large-scale disruptions meant to send a message that the people will not allow bigotry to become normalized.
- If Trump governs from that place, he will have a huge number of voters who resist him -- in fact, a majority.
- It is meant to send a message of solidarity to the targeted groups that are frightened right now. "We are with you."
- Doing nothing always nets nothing. It sends a message that the people are docile and passive and will accept what is to come.
- Let the new administration imagine a world where 51% of the country is taking advantage of the 2nd Amendment that the other 49% love so much.
Interestingly, that last point relates to the Second Amendment:
"A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
Having attended the Sunday rally -- and seeing what's planned for next Sunday -- I don't think that's a main focus for the Community for Unity.
As far as my own reasons for protesting, they're not completely aligned with the above either.
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Personal Impetus for Protesting
I'm not ashamed to admit this: I voted for Hillary Clinton eight years ago over Barrack Obama. I've been excited to vote for her for President of the United States for the last four years. I went to the Democratic Caucus specifically so I could vote her as the party's candidate over Bernie Sanders.
I know what the arguments against Hillary Clinton are: She did nothing to stop Benghazi. She sent classified emails over a personal server. She's corrupt.
To my mind, anyone who makes it to the highest levels of power must have skeletons in their closet, at least in this day and age. The homey times of Honest Abe Lincoln are long past. Losg, long past. Plus, I've always felt you have to have teeth to deal with some of the nasty leaders in the world.
However, I'm going to be stone-cold honest: I want to see a female president in my lifetime, and I genuinely thought Clinton was the best candidate for that.
During the Sunday rally, Dezi remarked that she didn't think Hillary Clinton would have properly represented her interests either. Dezi is a Berne Sanders supporter. I respect that. However, it runs counter to my own opinion. That makes my reason for protesting different than the Community for Unity.
I don't mind spreading love and tolerance -- I think that should be our goal no matter who is president. I want to effect change.
I want to fly in the face of that first point Moeshe made. I do want to stop a Trump inauguration. I want to compel the Electoral College to follow the will of the people as indicated by the popular vote.
Recently I wrote an article called the Fallacy of the Electoral College. Turns out the historical purpose of this system was two-fold -- to ensure proper representation for less-populated states and to prevent the public from electing a charismatic demagogue to office.
As we've seen from every presidential election in memory, candidates already focus their energies on states that can win them the election -- more populous states. What's more, those states are more likely to receive presidentially-mandated aid and other concessions. Less-populated states are still somewhat overlooked by presidents who have to go up for re-election.
More to the point, what is a better example of a charismatic demagogue than a billionaire reality TV star whose campaign platform was based on racism and xenophobia?
That's the tragic irony of this situation: The Electoral College was devised to stop the populace from voting in someone like Donald Trump. And on December 19, 2016, the Electoral College is going to supersede the popular vote to put Donald Trump in office.
Therefore, while I think stopping Donald Trump from being inaugurated is the longest of shots, it is absolutely my goal. After all, as hockey legend Wayne Gretzky once said, you miss 100% of the shots you don't take.
© 2016 Nadia Archuleta
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The fallacy of the Electoral College is that it is the method for choosing the US President. In fact, it's supposed to serve as insurance against electing an unsuitable candidate.