People take to the streets to protest the Trump presidency

By Bruce A. Smith

Protest marches and rallies have sprung up across our nation in response to the election of Donald Trump. People are angry, and I am too. I applaud the protests and wish I had the means to join them.

Simply, Trump is not my president. His stated policies and views are not mine. He seeks to harm people I care about, such as gays and lesbians. Hence,  I will work in every way I know to peacefully and legally oppose the implementation of his policies.

I want people to know that I do not support violence or rioting. So far, the protests have been peaceful. Most protesters have been behaving responsibly, and Trump supporters have had the good sense to stay away, thus keeping provocations to a minimum. But that could change quickly.

What I do support is peaceful, non-violent opposition to the Trump presidency. As models, I invoke the legacy of Gandhi, who overturned the power of the British Empire in 1947 to give India it’s independence. Similarly, Martin Luther King, Jr. and his non-violent approach to civil rights brought down the barriers of segregation and gave racial equality full legal standing.

Not only do I feel we must protest Trump and his bigotry, but more importantly I feel we must challenge Trump because he is dangerous. His stated policies will deny people needed healthcare, and that will kill and injure our people. Further, his intention to withdraw from international treaties will destabilize the world and cause geopolitical and economic turmoil. As a result, people will lose jobs and income. More lands will become unsafe.

Also, Trump says he wants to cancel the Paris climate accords, but as the global weather becomes increasingly volatile it will amplify the refugee crisis, threaten food supplies, and destroy coastal areas. Already, Miami Beach has had to build dikes, install pumping stations, and raise the mains roads three feet to beat the rising waters.

Nor can we fully predict what a Trump presidency will unleash from the wing nuts on the right. Will the Sons of Anarchy rule the highways? Will Alt-Right militias storm our streets looking for illegals? Will brown-skinned folks with head scarves be rounded up by ICE? Will guys like me get interred in some FEMA camp as a danger to Homeland Security. Remember Joe Stalin captured 30,000 dissidents in one-night during one of his purges in the 1930s, long before the advent of ubiquitous surveillance.

The current Democratic party leadership does not seem to appreciate the Trump threat. President Obama and Hillary Clinton are wrong in calling for an “open mind,” or encouraging us to work for Trump’s success. That casts a false blanket of calm over the impending calamity coming our way. We must prepare for very dark days.

I DO NOT and WILL NOT keep an “open mind.” I detest Donald Trump and will fight his presidency with everything I’ve got. Not only are Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama not speaking to me right now, many journalists are not either. Columnists at the New York Times, such as Nickolas Kristoff, want us to make the best of it. They claim that our democracy requires us to be good citizens and accept Trump as our president. I do not. I am fully committed to resistance.

In addition, I have had it with the people who elected Trump and champion his victory. Trump’s victory is the straw that has broken my soul’s back. For me, it goes back decadesVietnam, Nixon, Kent State, “America Love it of Leave It” bumper stickers, Reagan and his October Surprise, W. Bush’s stupidity and the needless wars. Sarah Palin. And little things, like the absolute trashing of the Dixie Chicks for dissing W, even though the DCX were and are the best-selling female Country Music group.

Trump is just the latest version of conservative, repressive, hateful thinking that only lives to serve the interests of whites who have little imagination. Don’t have a good job? Then move to where the good jobs are. Or go back to school and get trained for a good jobbut shut up and stop whining! The Rust Belt has been rusting for decades! Get on with life, please!

Trump is publicly proud that he has never read a book? Way to go, Bubba. I rebuke your steadfast ignorance, sir.

Am I condescending to the great masses of poor white workers who feel forgotten and left behind? Yup. But what have they done for me lately? Given me and my countryand cultureDuck Dynasty and Honey Boo-Boo? So, for that I should care about them? Remember, I have lived in the South, and worked there for many years. There are parts of me that love the South deeply. I have wept at Cajun music festivals. I love the bayous. I love New Orleans. I love the Great Smokies. I love Asheville, NC and hammered dulcimer music. I play a banjo and fiddle. I love southern-style smoked meats, and even started a business called Bruce’s Big Apple BBQ featuring smoked chicken. I know what “sweet tea” is. I’ve loved the “Kiss my Grits” attitude of Southerners.

But that only goes so far, and does not excuse or alleviate their destructive behaviors, like dismantling Obamacare, banning Muslims from our country, or accepting endless deprivation. When I lived in Nashville I grew to detest being asked if I was a Christian on job applications or in social gatherings. I ached in pain when I was told that my storytelling gigs in after-school programs were funded by the federal government because the State of Tennessee or the City of Nashville didn’t care about the kids because they were African-Americans. I shuddered realizing that Tennessee, Mississippi and Alabama were always going to score last in national rankings for academic achievement.

“Well, at least we made the top fifty,” I used to joke with my Nashvillian neighbors when test scores for students were published in local newspapers. But my love of the South’s gutsy authenticity and its music helped me hang in despite all their mishigas.

But now I turn my back on the South, Rednecks, and the blind stupidity of the so-called Biblical World View. I will never, ever go to Dixie. I have begun removing country music tunes from my web stream. I can’t stand anything that reminds me of Trump and the ugliness of southern thinking.

To “keep an open mind” is to be naive. Trump is dangerous in his own right and the Republicans make him exceptionally potent since they have control of everything in government. As a result, people will die as their health and social benefits are withdrawn. Many will be injured in the days to come as food stamps allotments are reduced and then terminated. Subsidies for medications will be tougher to maintain as federal contributions are diminished. Canceling the federal “Extended Medicaid” plan implemented under Obamacare will increase the deaths of the sick on those roles by 10% per year, according to governmental estimates released during the Obamacare congressional discussions and reported in the New York Times.

Everyone who voted for Trump has to realize that the blood of these people will be on their hands. I know that is difficult to accept, and many will accuse me of gross journalistic negligence. But how is it not true? American will get sicker and die faster because they can’t get the healthcare that they have been getting under Obama. Other programs are at risk as well as social welfare as a national priority is discounted by the Trumpers.

Personally, I feel very threatened, as I depend on many governmental benefits. For me and forty percent of all Americans my age, our social security check is the only income we have. With my benefit I pay the rent, phone, and utilities, and have a little left over for other necessities. My healthcare is paid by Medicare and Medicaid. For those not 65 years of age and savvy to the terminology of federal health programs, all Americans over 65 get Medicare, which covers most hospital bills, but leaves open the question of payment for doctors and medications. For me, those bills are paid for by Medicaid, which is a state-run but federally financed health program for poor people. As part of that program my meds are subsidized. My co-pay is $1.20 per prescription. In addition, I can get free Paratransit rides to my doctor’s appointments, and a ride three-times-a-month to the grocery store where I can spend my $90 per month food stamp allotment. I am very grateful for all of these benefits, and I thank every American taxpayer for keeping me alive, healthy, and fed.

But, I also have personal concerns about the international impacts of Trump’s foreign policy, as I have family at risk in Europe. I understand that Trump wants to pull out of NATO, which will destabilize the whole continent. Specifically, it will put the Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia at risk because they have ethnic Russians living within their borders, just like the Crimea, and they can feel the hot breath of Vladimir Putin breathing down their necks. As a result, NATO has sent in thousands of Rapid-Reaction-type troops to these countries. The ground forces come from Poland, France and Germany, with Americans pledging medical and logistical support. But if Trump pulls the US out, will the NATO forces be forced to withdraw as well? Where will that leave my many cousins who live in Lithuania, who just a few years ago broke free of the Russian yoke they’ve endured since WW II. Will Trump abandon my family? It appears he will. If my relatives are tortured or killed in a resistance effort against Putin, who do I hold responsible? The Trump supporter proudly wearing his “Make America Great Again” hat? I will.

For those of you who say that you had a constitutional right to vote for Trump and were simply exercising it, I say you still need to take responsibility for what your vote will trigger. I do not approve, accept, or tolerate your actions. If my family members are killed by Russian forces in Lithuanian, or people I care about here in America die from a lack of medical care or attacks by white power thugs, I will expect an apology from you, and I will seek it, too. You don’t get a free ride from me.

So, I applaud fellow journalists like Charles M. Blow in the New York Times who is openly declaring that he stands with the resistance against Trump. I applaud film maker Michael Moore who calls Trump a fascist. I applaud journalist Andrew Sullivan who calls Trump a tyrant. I applaud news-comedian Bill Maher who said two nights ago on Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show that we should be prepared that Trump might refuse to relinquish his office at the end of his term and could declare himself president-for-life. “Fascists like him don’t like to let go of their power,” Maher said.

We must stand up to Trump. We must be ready for every form of demagoguery that he might present.

Count me as part of the resistance.

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12 Responses to People take to the streets to protest the Trump presidency

  1. rthurs666 says:

    Thank you, Chicken Little. I was also opposed to Trump and did not vote for him. But he was elected by a democratic process under the rules established by the Constitution. If you want to start a movement to create a new Constitutional Convention and change the rules, go for it. The demonstrations started as peaceful but are now turning violent. How far will your “resistance” go? Sabotage? Assassination? Barricades in the streets? Or just the usual whining of losers?

    But if you do propose a “resistance” please bear in mind that I, like every military member, have taken an oath to “Preserve, Protect and Defend the Constitution of the United States. We do not swear allegiance to a President, Congress or a party. Unless and until Trump violates the Constitution, the men and women of the military will stand against those who try to overthrow it. So when your buddies on the barricades start escalating from rocks and bottles to bombs and Molotov Cocktails, don’t be surprised when bullets come back at them.

    Obama and his gang have trampled the Constitution at every opportunity. The Second Amendment and the Tenth Amendment are almost entirely gone. The First Amendment is dead on college campuses. The Fourth Amendment has been overthrown by executive action. The latest Iran treaty was signed, but never ratified by the Senate as required by Article II, Section 2 of the Constitution. The Paris initiative was also not ratified by the Senate and is, therefore null and void.

    You might try reading the Constitution some time. You might be surprised.

    Dick Thurston

  2. brucesmith49 says:

    A couple of things, Dick.

    1. I said I will oppose the implementation of Trump’s policies in peaceful and legal ways.

    2. Yes, I am not a constitutional scholar. But my question still stands: Whom do I hold responsible when the Trump policies start killing people.

    That question “Trumps” all other constitutional concerns in my book. What say you? Or do you think killing Americans is okay when it fixes a budgetary problem?

  3. Bob Knoss says:

    Bruce:

    I am sorry things didn’t go as you expected. Your feelings are typical and expected, but unfortunately I feel, a rush to judgement. What you perceive as policies were campaign rhetoric. If you watch what actually happens, I think you will find some logical compromise in the new leadership.

    The people who will surround Trump will be the very best he can select TO GET THE JOB DONE. NOT the ones who will create polarization. His goals are to WORK TOGETHER to improve the situation. If you follow his actual approach to Obamacare, you will see how it is not what you claim, but a sensible approach to improving healthcare beyond Obamacare over a period of time, one step at a time. I believe this guy is NOT a racist, NOT a bigot, NOT all the things you berate him to be. I think he actually cares about everyone and wants to be a good President. He just has a big mouth and he uses it to get attention. I think his actions will be Presidential, careful and well planned. I hope we don’t see many more Executive Orders like Nixon’s Airline Safety Act or the string of Obama orders. You can’t legislate by edict and expect good results. That’s a dictatorship. If I’m wrong, I’ll join the picket line. Campaign rhetoric and politics are nasty, downright filthy, especially when both candidates run negative attacks, but they are rarely a reality. “No new taxes!” Remember?

    The campaign is over, realization has set in and civility has begun on both sides. Do you remember the protests when Obama was elected? I remember Chicago and L.A. Seems kinda one sided. A change in culture. We need to listen to the words of Obama. Sometimes when you try real hard you find that people don’t agree and you have to accept that, dust yourself off and start over. I have strong hopes that the new administration WILL listen to the opposition and compromise for the sake of unity.

    Keep in mind that Reid changed the Supreme Court nominations to majority decisions. What’s good for the goose… I’d like to see it returned to ⅔ majority. That was fair. 51 votes is NOT, but the Republicans did not do that, Reid did. Bad politics. That stuff needs to stop. Railroading HAS to stop and I hope it does. More railroading and I’ll join in your objections. It is time to extend the Reagan dream to make America what it can be, not to burn Rome.

    I think the objections have been adequately outlined for Trump with the demonstrations. He should have heard the feelings, but the demonstrators also need to watch the reality of what Trump REALLY does. Proof is in the pudding and excessive salt is not an ingredient that makes for easy consumption. We all need to suck it up, Buttercup.

    There is a pinch of salt in ice cream, it is a necessary ingredient, but the finished product is mostly desirable to all. Let’s try to make ice cream together and hope it is a Tom and Jerry’s flavor. Not sour grapes.

    Bob Knoss

    • brucesmith49 says:

      My feelings are not “sour grapes,” whatever that actually may be. My feelings are based on the accumulation of over forty years of dealing with political repression, war, and violence – both physical and psychological. As I stated in my essay, it started with the Vietnam War and the players and actions that followed created the trajectory that led to Trump.

      I think your easy dismissal of Trump’s language and behavior – and the impact that it had on his followers – is dangerously naive.

      Enjoy your country and your new president.

  4. Bob Knoss says:

    I suspect you may suffer from some kind of Paranoid Manic Depressive Disorder and suggest you seek competent advice within your Medicaide/Medicare/Obamacare policy. We all need to play in the sandbox together for a change. Please don’t be offended by my quip here, I’m sure you have a good heart underneath those barnacles planted by the communist left. We just need to de-barnacle you with understanding and examples of good faith. Allow the man a short leash.

  5. Bob Sailshaw says:

    Bruce: Sorry to hear that you feel as you do but it was to be expected as it is from my wife who voted for Hillary too! I voted against Hillary as she proved that she was unable to handle SECRET,TOP SECRET AND HIGHER GOV DOCUMENTS. Not one but ALL she got as Secretary of State, Hillary proved THAT SHE WAS NOT FIT TO EVER BE PRESIDENT and should have stood trial for each and every one of the documents she mishandled. She was protected by Obama with his “GET OUT OF JAIL FREE CARD” to which I say is just another fault of the 8 years of Obama. I have had to put up with his warring decisions in the middle east and his support of Hillary and you Bruce should just suck it up and put up with Trump. We did not have a good candidate from EITHER party but Hillary demonstrated she could never be trusted with our Nation’s secrets. So, I voted against Hillary ,and Michele cancelled my vote but that is the way our country and system works, Sometimes you win and sometimes you loose but after 82 years, this is the best place in the world I have found to live in. Both you and Michele will get over it and I am happy Hillary (and the Clinton Foundation) lost out.
    Bob Saiilshaw

    • brucesmith49 says:

      So, who do you think will be the first to be rounded up? Illegal immigrants or pesky journalists who might be writing about the roundups?

      Just askin’… just in case…

      By the way, Bob, have you ever had a US soldier point his weapon at you during a protest demonstration? It’s truly un-nerving to see what our fellow citizens are willing to do in the name of “law and order.” (March on Washington, 1970)

      Just imagine what the possibilities are for “Stop and Frisk” in places like Ferguson and Baltimore. Good times, ahead – for sure!

  6. Paula Morris says:

    I was shocked by the outcome of the election. I myself didn’t vote for either candidate. I voted for Dr. Jill Stein, and would have voted for Bernie Sanders had he been on the ballot. Political reform is imperative. Run off elections, money out of politics, no more Citizens United, these are a start.

    Hillary was so far out of touch with the white, uneducated, rural population (that voted for Trump) that she believed, like all the pundits did, that she had the game in the bag. What a shock for all of them!

    As I watched the protest marches, I thought: This is probably how the other side felt when Obama got elected. I remember all the beautiful rhetoric from Obama during his campaign…which brought to mind the ugly rhetoric from Trump…but then, the minute Obama started appointing all those neocons to his cabinet, I knew it was all just one big PR stunt. Perhaps this is what “the Donald” was doing as well–playing to his selected audience–the disenfranchised. After all, Trump likes to WIN! He laid out a plan to win and followed it to the end. When he appoints his cabinet and figures out that he can’t do too much immediately, he will realize that he must work with the GOP–the ones who have been preventing any meaningful change since Obama got in office. It’s going to be hyper-GOP! They can finally fulfill all their neocon dreams. Trump won’t have a free hand. His campaign rhetoric was just that–

    As for me…George Bush wasn’t my president. I was devastated when he was elected, especially since I was positive he STOLE the election. America died already!

    American politics hasn’t been honest for God knows how many decades.

    Something I’ve been thinking, and I don’t know if you have been following this, Bruce–the Dakota pipeline thing? Obama promised to help the “water protectors,” possibly to look into rerouting the pipeline (that will shortly thrust its way under the Missouri River), the Dakota tribe’s only water source–but what happened? Militarized police arrested protestors, abused them, tore up their camps, and desecrated their sacred sites and utensils–all to protect corporate interests–and basically lied to the tribe. Under Obama and Clinton as Secretary, how many have been killed? This scenario in Dakota is like “the canary in the coal mine.” Two world-views are set up right now. One view believes we are part of the web of life. The other side believes we should exploit the planet and its resources for monetary gain–as much gain as we can possibly grab.

    So, who is the biggest killer–Dems or Repubs?

    Obamacare is outrageously expensive–and going up this year. Who can afford it anyway? Universal Health Care is needed and the only ones mentioning it were Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders, and we can see what the Democratic machine did to them!

    What I’m saying here is, we are ALL (except for the 1%) disenfranchised now. Dems and Repubs alike are complaining about the same things. I believe that NOW is the time for ALL of us (both Dems and Repubs),to unite and work together to take back our country–and world! This is our last chance! We can’t allow ANY element to cause more division between us. Homo sapiens have been around for only 10,000 years or so. Mother Nature could eliminate us pretty easily. If we don’t start cleaning up our act and come together in that united effort–we’re toast.

    Paula Morris

    • brucesmith49 says:

      In general, Paula, I agree with most of what you wrote. Specifically:

      1. I am following the Dakota pipeline thing in a loose way. I think the local police have been heavy-handed and the tribes people mistreated. I support the tribes’ effort to protect their water. That said, the fracking interests are driving the bus on this issue, I think, so the bigger issue needs to be resolved, too, which is safe fracking – if that is even possible.

      2. I think global climate change trumps most local political issues. Trump is on the wrong side of history on this issue.

      3. Yes, Obamacare is too expensive for too many people. A better funding mechanism needs to be developed – but don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Don’t cut benefits before the new plan is in place. Yes, I recognize that giving free medical help to lots of guys like me is very expensive. I like to think that our country is rich enough to keep us alive. It’s hard to accept that the USA is too broke to help guys like me.

      4. Yes, in 2008 conservatives probably felt a lot like I do now. But Obama’s election did not put their lives at risk. Yes, it hurt their self-identity. Yes, it blunted their belief in the world they knew and wanted. Yes, it made them confront treasured ideologies. But so what? Did they not benefit from the Obama presidency? The standing of their country in the eyes of the world was greatly elevated. Did they not see that? Were they unable to appreciate that? If not, why not? And what does that require of me?

  7. People out West, or particularly in the Great Northwest, don’t understand how a guy like Trump got elected. Well…the truth is that the economy in places besides out west are not doing very well. Like those fomerly blue states in the Rust Belt who went for Obama. I have seen postings by some of these people, and their stories are not good. Factories closing all over the place, people tossed out of work, an inability to get a decent job and support your family. Clinton didn’t visit those places much, and when she did, her plans for a recovery were very non-specific and it hurt her at the polls.

    Another consideration is the Bernie Sanders effect. Clinton won a lot of states that had early voting in the primaries, before people even KNEW who the heck Bernie Sanders was. By the time he got rolling, he received over 18 million primary votes, but Clinton beat him out by around a million and a half, I think. Also…Debbie Wasserman Schultz had a hand in convincing Democrats that Hillary was the best choice, not Sanders. And Sanders would have beat Trump handily, had he gotten the nomination. No scandal, nothing. Just Bernie. But he not only started his campaign too late, but as I said, Clinton got the benefit on the early voting thing in primaries.

    Now here we are today with Donald Trump, at least for the next four years. There’s nothing to be done about that. You have to wait and see what he does, and address those issues one at a time. A blanket ‘he’s not my President’ policy won’t work. Because he IS your President, like it or not. (I’m not saying I like it, either.) But it is reality. I told my friends and family THIS after the election: “I’m just going to watch out for me and mine (friends and family) and see how his presidency affects me personally, and wait for him to go away.” I don’t know what else to do, and I will go with that policy unless Trump starts playing with Social Security, or other programs that millions of folks depend on. Most politicians won’t go near SS because they know it is often a ticket right out of office in the next election. Americans will take a lot of abuse from their leaders occasionally, but when you start screwing with the money, the voters come out of the woodwork. Not just seniors either, but the FAMILIES of seniors, who might have to shoulder additional burdens if the government starts screwing with those programs.

  8. Two corrections. My apologies.
    ‘Like those fomerly blue states in the Rust Belt who went for Obama..’
    (Meant to say, ‘who went for Trump’)
    ‘The Bernie Sanders Effect’. (Actually means THIS: Some Sanders supporters, who normally would have voted like a good Democrat for Clinton, felt so alienated after Sanders lost the nomination, that they either voted independent, or didn’t vote at all, which helped Trump.)

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