Op-Ed: Presidents and Protests

| April 26, 2017

The crowd at a No Ban, No Wall protest in Raleigh, from early February 2017. Photo by Pooja Pasupula.

Ever since the announcement that Donald Trump was going to be the 45 President of the United States of America, tempers have flared and chaos has ensued. Numerous protests and marches have formed across the country, from the Women’s March to the “Not My President” protests. Although this reaction is intense and horrific, it is not the first time we have seen this type of reaction from a presidential election. Many Trump supporters feel that this reaction is unnecessary and feel that anti-Trump supporters need to “get over it.” Let us not forget the backlash and racial protests and comments former President Barack Obama faced after winning both the elects in 2008 and 2012.

After the results of the 44 presidential election, reactions across the globe varied. Most people reacted optimistically and positively to the results.

Barack Obama’s election was called a “historic opportunity for a strong working relationship between the United Nations and the United States… I am very optimistic that we will have a very strong relationship, a renewed partnership under his administration,” said United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.

Nelson Mandela, the first black President of South Africa, wrote to Obama saying, “Africa has embraced Obama as something of a native son.”

“Obama won, the map of the United States was transformed and for Mexico an extraordinary opportunity has opened… because it will be infinitely simpler to be a neighbor, partner and friend of the United States with Obama,” said Foreign Secretary Jorge Castaneda, of Mexico.

Of course, not everyone shared in the enthusiasm. Italian, right-wing senator, Maurizio Gasparri provoked some controversy when she said, “Obama would be soft on terrorism and the with Obama in the White House perhaps Al Qaeda is happier.”

Several foreign civilians also had a few negative comments to make about Obama. “He has so many things not preferable in a president … He is black, and his middle name is Hussein, and all that stuff,” said Mane Karapetyan, a public relations student in Moscow, Russia.

Although the global reactions and opinions of the election had some effect on the relationships between Obama and his global counterparts, the more lucrative effects happened here in the U.S.  In Kentucky, a life-sized doll that resembled Obama, was found hanging from a noose in a tree on the University of Kentucky campus. In New York City, a black Muslim teenager was assaulted by four white men, who were shouting: “Obama!” In Snellville, GA, a vandalized Obama sign and two pizza boxes filled with human feces were left on a black family’s lawn. Countless other racial and gender-related attacks and threats continued to occur during both of President Obama’s terms.

UNC Charlotte instructor and multicultural researcher, Joshua Burford, shares his opinion on the Obama presidency saying, “He was the first sitting President to acknowledge communities,” said UNC Charlotte instructor and multicultural researcher, Joshua Burford. “He even sent handwritten Christmas cards to LGBTQ center directors,” including Burford himself.

In contrast, Trump received different reactions both overseas and in the United States. From a positive standpoint, Trump gained support from a handful of foreign diplomats. “The Americans are taking their country back,” said Netherlands’ anti-immigrant nationalist leader, Geert Wilders.

“The American people are free! Good news for our country,” said French Presidential candidate and Leader of the National Front Party, Marine Le Pen.

“What a great news. Democracy is still alive,” said Prime Minister Orban of Hungary.

“President-elect Trump is a true friend of the State of Israel,” said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

From a negative standpoint, Trump has received significantly more negative reactions than President Obama. Countries like, Syria, Venezuela and Colombia have stated that Trump has criticized their culture, religion, and political standings. They are also concerned that these criticisms will hurt their trade relations and protection from those seeking refuge in the United States.

Guy Verhofstadt, the leader of a prominent group of lawmakers in the European parliament and former Prime Minister of Belgium, called Trump’s victory “a wake-up call for European leaders,” adding, “Donald Trump has declared several times that our priorities are not his.”

On the home front, many people are outraged about the results. Protests quickly hit the streets to express their opinions. “Not My President” protests broke out all over the country.  Even the “Women’s Marches” that occurred all over the country took place the day after Trump was sworn in.  

“To be quite frank, if we get Trump in office and we get a Republican Senate and Congress, I think we’re going to be screwed. I think the state of minorities is going to be in flux and we may not be able to fix it afterwards,” said Harlem native Danielle Jones.

“It is scary, he doesn’t believe any of the things he says,” said Burford, of Trump.

President Trump responded to the protests and negative backlash with a tweet saying, “Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair!” That is a very hypocritical statement coming from Trump, seeing as he himself protested Obama saying he was not a citizen, he needs to produce his birth certificate and a boatload of other preposterous and “unfair” comments.

Trump supporters need to pull their hypocritical heads out of their delusional backsides and rejoin reality. Presidential protests and harsh comments did not just fall from the sky out of nowhere. They were always there. The same way Obama supporters had to deal with being scrutinized, bullied and berated, they can deal with the same treatment. Maybe it is time for Trump and his supporters, to get a taste of their own medicine.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about trade as Vice President Mike Pence looks on before signing Executive Orders in the Oval Office of the White House March 31, 2017 in Washington, D.C. .(Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)

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Category:Opinion, Politics

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