The day after Donald J Trump’s inauguration saw millions of men and women not only in the United States, but around the world, protest against his power by staging the Women’s March. Organised several weeks in advance, its initial intent was to be a street protest in Washington DC. However, the outrage over Trump coming to power led to the mass organisation of such events in most major cities around the US, as well as solidarity marches in other parts of the world, from Jordan to Antarctica.
For anyone with access to any form of media in the past year, Trump’s election has been a highlight. His unabashed insults directed at anyone who was not a cisgender white male have left most of the world reeling. When the popular vote was very clearly in Hillary Clinton’s favour, but Trump still managed to come into office, such disdain by the population was to be expected. The masses descended onto the streets for a range of demands, such as reproductive rights, access to healthcare, and immigration reforms. Nevertheless, the marches around the world, which were filled with ordinary citizens as well as a range of celebrities, were critiqued on the basis of their futility.
No popular movement is free from criticism, especially from cynics who accept power relations as a given. This becomes a point of concern when democracy, a basic structure of society, is undermined by this cynicism. Protests have become legitimate sources of change throughout centuries of civilisation, in the same way that people’s awareness about their social and political culture has changed in recent years. Basic rights such as the right to vote or national sovereignty were only achieved through dissent. In a global society where right-wing policies are on the rise with the manufactured consent of the masses, such shows of widespread dissent are not only a boon, but a necessity. These methods empower the disenfranchised and pave the way for a more inclusive and self-aware society.
As individuals, we often feel powerless when we are engaged in a conflict with the state. However, it is essential to remember that the state is influenced by us in many implicit ways. We may face backlash from those who believe that simply marching will do no good, but we can be sure that even someone as egotistical and self-righteous as Trump is unsettled by the masses at his doorstep. When we are proud to be the “nasty women” that Trump accuses us of being, we are, in effect, robbing him of the power to rule us. He will govern us and force us to bury our aborted foetuses, but he will not make us believe that this behaviour is acceptable.
Feature Image Credits: Metro UK