The Power of Protest: How Trump Has Got Us Stirred
An observational piece written after I attended a Downing Street protest against Trump's mindless foreign policy, January 2017
I left home at around 5pm last night, my feet fired up by the intolerance of injustice; my bag brimming with snacks I thought that a. could serve as missiles, should I need them, and b. would bring much needed energy to march on Downing Street. The aim of course, was to protest against dastardly Donald Trump and the ludicrous executive order he signed this week, preventing refugees entering the US for 120 days and targeting immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries. I wasn’t about to sit back and say nothing in the face of such direct discrimination, so with a boiled egg in one hand and a disparaging placard in the other, I set off.
I wasn’t alone. Thousands of disillusioned protestors descended on Westminster and various other cities across the UK last night, and in among the electrifying power of a united, shared voice, some things became clear. Firstly, that we really are excellent at underhand insults (best sign awards go to ‘keep your tiny hands off our queen’s pussy’, ‘teapots not despots’ and ‘not best pleased’). Secondly, that we’re all beginning to tire of the continued assaults on our civil liberties. And while it’s difficult to say anything about Trump other than he keeps us inundated with memes and has hilarious hair, we can at least be thankful for this.
Because in an age that’s dominated by social media, it’s fair to say we’ve become slightly apathetic in the face of oppression. It’s easy to sit at home and wax lyrical online about why we’re unhappy with something (anything) - that way we can voice our displeasure without actually to having to move - but that weariness about world issues has signalled a descent into laziness that’s rendered us sofa revolutionists. We’re full of big ideas but we never actually follow through with them, we shout at the TV without ever inciting change. But now, with repeated threats on our sense of freedom and that of our peers, we’re finally beginning to stir. We’re showing defiance towards the people who try to stifle our opinions; we’re reinforcing the sense of solidarity among ourselves. And it can’t come soon enough - finally we’re fighting for what matters.
Last week was perhaps the biggest indicator of change, when over 100,000 people attended the Women’s March in London - an unprecedented number. We marched in hope, and to fight against prejudice and inequality of every kind. And by uniting in peaceful protest we were able to convey a message that will stand the test of time - one that makes it clear that we won’t be bystanders; we will be participants in our own history. So let’s hold hands, let’s shout, let’s make ourselves heard, because joining together in opposition against Trump and his cronies is the best weapon we have (boiled eggs aside). Perhaps one day we’ll look back and thank him for it, and wouldn’t that be a bittersweet irony.