February 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm EST | by Peter Rosenstein
My protest days are not over
protest Trump, gay news, Washington Blade

(Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

My sincere wish was my protest days were over. Had Hillary Clinton won the presidency they would have been. In recent days, I have often thought if all the young people who have marched and demonstrated since the election had understood how dangerous Trump would be she would now be president having won not only the popular vote by millions but the Electoral College as well.

Instead, since Donald Trump’s election and inauguration protests have again become a way of life for those of us who care about our country and democracy. In my youth I met Martin Luther King, Jr. and fought for civil rights. I marched with Bella Abzug and Gloria Steinem for women’s rights. Got tear gassed in front of the Department of Justice protesting the Vietnam War and picketed the White House for disability rights. Joined Hands-around-the-White House, among other demonstrations, to bring attention to the fight against HIV/AIDS and marched with Elizabeth Taylor in a candlelight procession demanding Ronald Reagan stand up to fight the scourge of AIDS. I was on the Mall marching to fight for LGBT rights. Guess it was too much to hope that at my age I could stop marching and protesting and enjoy the fruits of what we accomplished.

In just the last week I have participated in the Women’s March on Washington and demonstrated in front of the White House to protest Trump’s executive order that tries to ban Muslims from entering the country. I am on the planning committee for the June 11th LGBT Pride March in Washington. Once again there are compelling reasons demanding us to stand up and be heard. Along with millions of other Americans who are clearly feeling the same need we will stand together and speak out because we know Silence = Death.

In just one week the Trump White House is turning the world upside down. He is fighting with Mexico, debating climate change with Prince Charles, leaving out any mention of Jews in his statement on Holocaust Remembrance Day, and banning residents from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. He has reorganized the National Security Council removing the director of National Intelligence and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from the principals committee, which is the meeting for the most senior national security officials and instead adding his chief strategist, Steve Bannon, who was formerly executive chair of Breitbart News, a far-right news, opinion and commentary website that Bannon himself described as “the platform of the Internet-based alt-right” including Nazis and the KKK. Protesters at the White House correctly chanted “End the immigration ban, instead ban Bannon”.

Hundreds of thousands across the nation and the world took to the streets and airports to tell Trump he is wrong and make him understand in reality his ban makes things more dangerous for Americans. The people are speaking and they will continue to do so being joined by business leaders and members of Congress who will not go quietly into the night while Donald Trump and his Rasputin, Steve Bannon, trample on our Constitution.

We must continue to march, protest and organize. Join and support organizations that will defend us and serve us such as the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, and the Council on American-Islamic Relations.

Then Democrats need to stop fighting each other and stop demanding perfection in our candidates because that is what elected Trump. The Susan Sarandons and Ralph Naders of the world now have the gall to tell us not to stop protesting when it was they, by their stupidity and short-sightedness, who said there was no difference between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and therefore voting for Clinton wasn’t important.

We must elect a Democratic Congress in 2018. Even the most imperfect Democrat will vote for a Democratic Speaker of the House and Majority Leader in the Senate and Democrats will control the agenda and can stop Trump. That has to be the goal in 2018 and we need to stop the internecine fights in order to do that. Blowhards like Michael Moore think it is fine to threaten Democrats who don’t agree with him on everything with primary challenges. All that will do is make it easier for Republicans to win. Let us work together for at least the next two years and focus on taking Congress and our country back.

Peter Rosenstein is a longtime LGBT rights and Democratic Party activist. He writes regularly for the Blade.

  • If Hillary Clinton would have won we would still (probably) have a Rethug Senate & most definitely House. If only people, me included, were this engaged during the Obama years, we could have gotten more done, like protesting for ENDA etc. Also, HRC was not good on income inequality, we could have been protesting that too

  • Peter, I agree that demanding perfection in a candidate is not realistic, but you deemed them to be “our” candidates and there in lies the crux of the problem. Hillary was not “ours” but “theirs.” She was the pre-ordained choice of the super-delegates and party power bosses. Anyone who dared go against this was deemed “undemocratic.” Would there be a President Trump if Joe Biden had been “allowed” to challenge Hillary for the nomination? Perhaps democratic voters are tired of being told to just shut-up and vote for the anointed DNC, DSCC, and DCCC candidates. Not perfect candidates Peter, just better candidates who bring a sense of purpose rather than a sense of entitlement.

    • Im Just Sayin- maybe what you say would be taken more seriously and we could have a real discussion if you would be willing to state your feelings with your name attached- being anonymous doesn’t lead to much confidence in what you say. No one has ever told Democratic voters to shut-up-LOL. It wouldn’t do them any good even if they tried. Clearly they couldn’t get away with doing that. No one has ever stopped anyone from challenging in a Democratic Primary- actually the opposite- Democrats allowed even a non-democrat -Sanders- into the primary. That sense of entitlement seems to be in your mind, not a reality- and if you actually looked at the history of Obama, Clinton- both Bill and Hillary- and Biden- you would clearly understand that none of them came from a background of entitlement. They worked hard to get where they were and spoke out for the issues of people who weren’t born entitled. So if you want to share your name- so I can understand who you are and where your views come from- I would be happy to get into a more in-depth discussion with you over this.

      • My anonymity is not out of a fear to own my comments, it comes out of a reality that unlike you, I don’t have the luxury of stepping away from my professional obligations and opining as a private citizen. I am however somebody who takes the time to read what you write and consider your points. Sometimes I come away enlightened. Sometimes not so much. Regardless, you should have started with a thank you to me for taking the time to read through eight paragraphs of pomposity. No worries though, it won’t happen again. What’s one less Blade reader, right? Yours truly, I’m Not Sayin’

        • I am sure we will miss your readership and sorry your professional obligations don’t allow you to speak as a private citizen- thankfully fewer people today have that problem. Considering your strong views it’s a shame you have to work for an organization like that. Many of us are fighting so that changes in the future and that everyone no matter where they work will be able to speak out as a private citizen.

  • Everyone who failed to vote for Hillary enabled Trump’s (and Bannon’s) rise to power. This fact is inarguable. Now that these people see just how bad things can get under his regime, they want to head to the barricades. Well, if their presence now helps end this tyranny, good. But I cannot forgive them for allowing him to grab power in the first place. We live in a two party system; the very nature of our Constitution and voting laws (not to mention human nature, particularly the nature of the conservative mind) only serves to punish the more progressive party whenever a third party or outside candidate garners votes or depresses the turnout of the Democrats. This isn’t news. We learned this to our horror in 2000. How easily progressives forget. Conservatives will always suck it up and vote for a candidate they dislike, so long as he’s a Republican. Democrats need to do the same, or we’ll keep losing. Bernie didn’t lose because of some Democrat cabal. He lost because he couldn’t close the deal with rank-and-file Democrats. He certainly didn’t impress me. Just a one-note wonder. TBH, I’m flabbergasted that even after the inauguration and the raft of Bannon-authored edicts coming out of the White House, there are some who haven’t come down off their anti-Hillary high horse. I guess self-righteousness is such a powerful drug. Maybe we deserve Trump for all the people in this country who are too proud to admit they were wrong.

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