Commentary protests against trump: hope from below

Thousands are taking to the streets against their new president. They are not sore losers, but the basis of a progressive society.

Demonstrators occupy Highway 101 in Los Angeles to protest against Trump Photo: reuters

In New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and many other cities in the United States, thousands are demonstrating against their new president Donald Trump. "Not my president," they say on the streets. Also "Fuck Trump" and "Dumb Trump" can be read again and again on signs, in Los Angeles demonstrators have occupied the street, in Oakland US flags burned and shop windows were broken. Hillary Clinton supporters, students, people of color and LGBTI people are loudly expressing their displeasure about the outcome of the election.

Is this the frustration of sore losers? An immature rebellion against a legitimate and irrefutable electoral decision? Trump clearly won, the elections proceeded in an orderly fashion, and the majority got its way. Burning flags and destroyed businesses are not an adequate response to defeat in a democratic decision-making process.

But the criticism that is breaking out in the streets is only mediated at Trump. He stands as a symbolic figure for the racism and sexism that is widespread throughout U.S. society. And it is the fear of an intensification of discrimination during Trump’s term in office that is driving the election losers onto the streets.

But what the protests also show is that going to the ballot box is not the only political act that US citizens are given. The result does not mean that they have to abandon all their hopes for a cosmopolitan and emancipated society.

On the contrary, vocal advocacy and protest for equality and solidarity is the political culture that forms the basis of a progressive society. This rebellion of civil society, which is part of a democratic culture, is now still in its infancy. But the movement still has four years to grow up.

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