Trump Election Victory Protests Continue
The Democratic Way to let off Steam, While Coming to Grips with an Unexpected Outcome
Like most folks, I had seen and heard the protests that sprung up around the city and country in defiance of the Trump election victory. On Saturday I received an email about the one of the upcoming protests from a number of small, civic-minded non-profit groups that wanted to make a statement in favor of respecting women and minorities, and immigrant rights. The protest was being held on Sunday at 2 pm at the Trump International Hotel on Columbus Circle near the Upper West Side, so I decided to attend it to get a closer look as to what was going on.
I came up from the subway in Midtown Manhattan and began making my way toward the Trump Hotel at 57th and 5th Avenue. At the Tiffany’s corner there were marchers and protesters chanting and singing, while waving signs with slogans, and encouraging passing pedestrians to join in the effort.
The NYPD seemed to have everything under control. They had their hands full with gnarly traffic and gated walkways, which herded holiday visitors and New Yorkers alike through snake-like pedestrian paths in Midtown. I asked one officer how things were going and he said they were going well enough. I asked him how long things had been this tied up and he said since Tuesday, the night of the election. I asked him how long he thought this would continue and he said until the protesters had let off enough steam.
On election night I had visited both the Trump campaign at the Hilton Hotel Ballroom in Midtown, and the Clinton campaign at the Javits Center. Trump appeared fully prepared for defeat, given the space he booked only accommodates about 1,000 or more guests; while Clinton appeared to be counting her chickens before they had hatched given she’d booked the Javits Convention Center where thousands had gathered in anticipation of seeing her announce to the world that females had finally broken through the ultimate glass ceiling. Clinton’s expectations were dashed and Trump’s never came to pass, as he is now destined to become the 45th President of the United States of America.
Trump Defeats Clinton - a Brief Explanation of What Happened
While plenty of pundits have weighed in on what happened, I’ll give you a short snapshot from a man on the street. While more people voted AGAINST Trump than Clinton, it was by only a very narrow margin. And enough of those voters were from the more sparsely populated white rural and manufacturing states, which is what enabled Trump to claim the electoral college win and the presidency.
On my way out of the Javits Center election night, I spoke with a young man who was dumbfounded that Clinton had lost. He could not imagine what those who voted for Trump were thinking. I suggested he take a look at Michael Moore’s video piece, created early this year, predicting a Trump win. In the piece Moore comments on the huge jobs losses and the general disenfranchisement felt by large swaths of the middle class. These were sentiments that both the Clintons and the national broadcast & print media, had largely ignored.
- Click here to view more photos of the protests in NYC of the Trump election victory, as well as snippets from several conversations I had with people on the street.
Trump Election Victory Protests Continue
The Democratic Way to let off Steam While Coming to Grips with an Unsavory Outcome
Past Trade Deals Appear to have Cost Clinton the Presidency
Michael Moore is an independent filmmaker who hails from Michigan. The people of the once booming industrial states - like Michigan - felt betrayed by the Clintons and the Bushes in the two trade deals they, collectively had marshaled through Congress. The deals were the NAFTA [North American Free Trade Agreement] deal negotiated by George Bush Sr. and signed by Clinton, and the WTO [World Trade Organization] Deal negotiated by Clinton and signed by George Bush Jr.
Both major political parties had a hand in where we stand today. The electorates’ frustration with both parties’ establishments made possible the successful candidacy of Donald J. Trump. People were just plain fed up with losing ground economically, and neither party appeared to be listening to them. So voters chose what to many seemed like the ‘nuclear option’ and voted a ‘f_ck you’ wake up call those who seem to be serving themselves, instead of serving the public.
It appears the same phenomenon was at work with the TOTALLY MISLEADING POLLS. The pollsters appeared to have undercounted the white rural and manufacturing populace, and thus didn't sufficiently detect this sentiment in their polling. There was an early warning of this phenomenon when Bernie Sander upset Clinton in Michigan by a significant margin, despite the polls having shown Clinton with a measurable lead.
Hillary Clinton won the Popular Vote, so Sexism didn't Cost her the Presidency
I was born and raised in one of the purple states that went for Trump. And I can say that to depict all of these voters as racist or sexist is not only unfair - it's a denial of reality ... a denial which has been going on for far too long. The reality is that these people just DIDN'T TRUST THE CLINTONS because they felt they had been betrayed by them far too many times.
And women should note that CLINTON DID WIN THE POPULAR VOTE. So the notion that sexism is what stopped Hillary Clinton from becoming the first female president does not appear to be the case, any more than racism prevented Barack Obama from becoming the first African American president. It appears it was Bill & Hillary Clinton’s record - not her gender - that stopped her from winning the presidency.
Women, Immigrants & Minorities Feel Threatened by Trump Presidency
At the Trump protest in Midtown and Columbus Circle, some signs contained angry epithets, but most contained important messages. The messages were from people who are concerned – and maybe even fearful - that Trump won’t do right by them.
Women communicated that they fear a Donald Trump role model will encourage young men to behave disrespectfully to women. Immigrants fear Trump will tear apart their families, their communities and their lives in America. And many of the protesters were concerned that some of Trump’s harsh campaign rhetoric is going to incite people to treat minorities of all colors badly.
One thing Trump must include in his calculations in deporting illegal immigrants is who is going to take care of funding and caring for the American citizens / families / children, that the deported immigrants will leave behind. That could add to our nation’s problems, not help solve them.
I headed west along Central Park South, stopping to ask one of the carriage hack drivers if the protest was good or bad for business. He said that the carriage drivers had been blocked in for about a half hour as the protesters marched through the street, but otherwise it was a normal busy day, as Sundays generally are.
Conversation with a Thoughtful Woman about the Checks & Balances of American Democracy
I walked over to the Trump International Hotel off Columbus Circle leading to the Upper West Side. There I found an lithe, young woman standing alone on the sidewalk, contemplatively staring up at the Trump building. She had a dejected look on her face and seemed lost in her own pensive thoughts. I asked her what she was thinking.
She said she was wondering how this could have happened. I told her what my father used to tell me, when I questioned the efficacy of our democracy. He would tell me and I'm paraphrasing,
“Democracy isn’t a perfect system. It takes time to correct its mistakes. But it’s the best system we have found so far. Keep your faith in the system. It was created by our thoughtful, visionary Founding Fathers and it has worked pretty well these last 225 years. It's one of the longest lasting, continuous systems of government on the planet.”
I’m not sure that helped her, but it did provide her with something fresh to think about.
She went on [FYI I’m paraphrasing her quotes too],
“ He’s going to set us back so far. He’s going to roll back Roe v. Wade [women’s right to choose / abortions] and gender equality.”
I reminded her that our government system is comprised of checks and balances. And while those checks and balances may not look very functional right now, given president-elect Trump has majorities in both the Senate and Congress, the Democrats are only three votes shy of a Senate majority.
I suggested she consider that Independent Bernie Sanders was likely to caucus with the Democrats, that Senator Susan Collins of Maine - while a Republican - openly opposed Trump’s candidacy, and that Senator John McCain – like Bernie Sanders – is a maverick who is also no fan of Donald Trump. So there’s a glimmer of hope in the Senate, for a moderating check on Trump’s power.
She went on with her line of inquiry, “What about the Supreme Court?”. I replied that even there, there’s room for optimism in a check on Trump’s power, as Trump will be nominating a replacement for Anthony Scalia who was a Conservative, and even with him on the Supreme Court, it has voted to uphold Roe v. Wade.
The Constitutional Check on Tyranny Can Help Those Who Lost, Grieve an Electoral Defeat
She was still full of contemplation, but I’d given her my father’s American democracy pep talk. It’s an old philosophical remedy that was designed to help both Liberals and Conservatives alike come to grips with an upsetting election loss.
Generally the philosophical remedy works, because it was built into and derived from the Constitution of the United States of America. The Constitution was designed to ensure a check on all people’s power, because our Founding Fathers knew that the human race is intrinsically flawed. They knew that many politicians are ambitious, greedy and corrupt. And they knew that over the long haul that if those entrusted with power didn’t do right by the people, that the people had the power to peacefully throw them out of power by going to the polls to vote. One might surmise that that is what happened to the Clintons.
As I stood with the woman in front of the Trump International Hotel, I also thought to myself, remember this is politics, not religion. Some folks can forget that. But thankfully the separation of Church and State is also embedded in the Constitution.
As I was exiting the protest route I stopped to talk to a couple of police officers. I inquired as to whether it had been a peaceful protest. They told me that it had been thus far, but that it wasn’t over, because the protest route circled back around, terminating here.
The Seven Steps of Grieving ... or go out with Friends to Eat Dumplings in Flushing
On my way home I met a couple of young women on the subway. We began talking about the election. One of them suggested I check out the Saturday Night Live skit from yesterday, while the other mentioned that the ‘Joe Biden memes’ on Facebook are worth a look.
Both said they were still in a state of shock, but had decided to go out with friends this evening to eat their way through the seven stages of grieving at a dumpling place in Flushing.
Well the year and a half long reality TV presidential election cycle is over. It’s been good for the four broadcast TV network ratings, and we’ll soon find out whether it's going to be good for the nation.
Congratulations Donald Trump on your unusual election victory. I can only hope you will govern wisely.
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