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Are Protests Truly Effective?

March 7, 2017

On Jan. 20, after perhaps the most divisive election in modern American history, Donald Trump was inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America.

Trump’s victory evoked fear within many Americans. In particular, women, immigrants, Muslims  and LGBT citizens have voiced their concerns.

On Jan. 21 following President Trump’s Inauguration, a worldwide protest was held. The Women’s March boasted an estimated 4.8 million participants on a global scale, making it the largest political demonstration since the anti-war Vietnam protests.

The Women’s March was held in opposition to Trump’s previous comments about women during his presidential campaign – particularly the leaked Access Hollywood tape.

As it turns out, the Trump Administration has received a significant amount of scrutiny through more protests after a little over a month.

Many protested at airports following Trump’s executive order that barred Muslims and refugees from Muslim majority countries.

It seems that every week since he was sworn into office, millions of Americans have held protests in solidarity against the president.

Peaceful protests are a hallmark within American history. If it were not for the protests against segregation and racial injustice, discrimination against minorities would still be mainstream.

But are we in danger of having too much protest?

This question may seem odd for many to consider, but although it is important that citizens publically voice their sentiments in times of division, would it really provoke change that is desired by these different groups?

An argument that can be made is that doubling down with these protests on a weekly basis would only further sharpen the divide between Trump and Clinton voters. Remember, despite Trump winning the electoral college, Clinton won the popular vote.

Both the Women’s March and protests against the travel ban have brought significant media attention. Also, the vocal protests from artists at both the Grammy Awards and Academy Awards have hit the headlines.

Critics of the Trump Administration have the right to continue their resistance against it. But the energy within individual’s echo chamber of choice can cloud their judgment from looking into the big picture.

That’s not to say that people should stop protesting. If groups are truly passionate about the issues that matter to them, by all means continue to do so.

But continuing ad hominem attacks against the opposition will lessen the opportunity to have a civil discussion over policy. It is on both sides of the political spectrum to reach a compromise on what is best for the American people as a whole.

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