1) The people that came to respectfully observe and participate in the inaugural festivities were often inhibited from doing so by protesters. This was the express purpose of these protests, which is confusing to me. Their actions did nothing to upset the actual inauguration of the president. All that they did was make life harder for their fellow Americans (who were attending the inauguration), for the law enforcement in D.C. (who had to control them), and for the National Park Service and City of Washington (who had to clean up the mess).
Throughout the day on January 20 a wide variety of groups intentionally disrupted the ability of ticketed guests to reach their seats near the Capitol or along the inaugural parade route. On at least 15 occasions groups blocked access to security checkpoints, dispersing only when compelled by D.C. police, often only through means that included pepper spray, flash bangs, and tear gas. A wide variety of different groups were involved including feminists, Not My President, Black Lives Matter, Disrupt J20, Festival of Resistance, Polar Bear, and Dakota Pipeline. These groups were joined by anarchists who had no discernable purpose other than causing senseless destruction. D.C. police had to arrest more than 200 such “protesters” and three police officers were hospitalized due to physical assaults. While it is generally unfair to group a variety of protests together, in this case the various groups intentionally melded together and intentionally engaged in the same obstructing action. This was not a series of peaceful protests. It was a conglomeration of groups that came together for no discernable purpose other than trying to disrupt and damage the experience of their fellow Americans. It also made the job of law enforcement significantly harder, and, while it was really only the anarchists that were willfully destroying private property, because the groups joined together, that behavior became associated with protests as a whole. Regardless of their stated intentions, these were the result of their actions.
2) The day after the inauguration the “Women’s March” took over, not only D.C., but cities across the country (and the world). This “march” is being lauded as one of (if not the) largest in our nation’s history and generally applauded by the media. I know from talking with marchers that many, indeed, I would say the majority, of those that chose to participate, did so with noble intentions. However, it is very difficult to determine and define exactly what the purpose of the march actually was. I have yet to find an explanation that identifies actual stated and definable goals. There is lots of talk about “women’s rights” and “solidarity,” but little clarity as to what that actually means and considerable muddling from the presence of groups representing nearly every social cause in the liberal playbook. This conglomeration, while lending itself to some impressive pictures, makes it very difficult to actually identify a purpose and nearly impossible to bring about any practical results. So I am left with the conclusion that the march was intended to be little more than a symbolic gesture displaying a general sense of dislike of Donald Trump.
While it is true that many participants were respectful and peaceful, here are a few things that are not being reported in the common narrative:
d) The marchers left signs and other trash scattered across the entire National Mall, the Capitol Grounds, and the White House. Thousands of signs were placed on fences, trees, and statues, or simply abandoned on the ground. All of these signs had to be cleaned up by the National Park Service. While the purpose of leaving the signs was ostensibly to send a message to the president, the actual result was simply creating a huge mess for someone else to clean up.
2) There appears to be a widespread lack of understanding about how the American political system works, or even what it is. The United States of America is a Constitutional Republic, not a democracy. We have never been a democracy, and for very good reason. Democracies invariably end poorly. Throughout world history every democracy has ultimately imploded under its own force. That is precisely why our founders created the republican system that they did. The electoral college was deliberately designed to guard against the dangers of democracy, and while you can criticize it, the fact remains that it has done just that for 228 years. The so called “popular vote” has never been relevant to a presidential election, which is why it is not even officially tallied. It is fine to note that more people overall voted for a particular candidate, but that has no bearing on the legitimacy of an election.
3) Despite many examples in his past and on the campaign trail, since his election Trump has consistently called for solidarity. I am not defending the many examples that could be (rightly) pointed to as statements that encouraged division. I am well aware of them. But it is interesting to me, that, at this point, his message, as articulated in his inaugural address is that: “We must speak our minds openly, debate our disagreements honestly, but always pursue solidarity.” In contrast, the message of the protests, consisting primarily of people that would identify themselves as liberal, who consistently wave a banner of “tolerance,” “acceptance,” and “inclusivity,” is nearly exclusively a message of division and exclusion. People that voted for Trump are consistently insulted, demeaned, and attacked. This does not seem tolerant, accepting, and inclusive to me.
4) Effective populist uprisings (we have had many in our history) are focused on clearly definable issues. Think women marching for the vote when Woodrow Wilson was elected in 1913 or the March on Washington for jobs and freedom in 1963. Both of these (and many other) examples illustrate the power of an organized, clear, and determined message. The recent protests (particularly the so called “women’s march”) have been compared to these examples, but the difference is stark. In direct contrast to the 1913 and 1963 marches, the current protests lack any sense of cohesion, focus, or purpose.