Saturday, January 20, 2018 saw a repeat of the largest protest marches ever — the day after Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 44th president of the United States. The first Women’s March on January 20, 2017 brought out millions of people in this country and across the world This year, demonstrators gathered in cities across the United States to protest a year of chaos in the White House and Trump policies that reversed Health Care, Immigration, Education, Climate Control, Environmental Protection and other policies and programs developed during the eight years of the Obama administration.
In Los Angeles, 600,000 people took part , with many chanting, “Si, se puede!” “Yes, we can!” They were responding to one of the most contentious issues of the day, Trump’s repeal of the DACA program for young Hispanic immigrants brought here by their parents as children. Obama had issued DACA after Congress refused to recognize their years of school, work ,paying taxes and service in our armed forces as reasons for them to have security in the United States. DACA , Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, has become a major issue with Donald Trump who has taken different positions the past months. Democrats and Republicans in Congress split on a plan to deal with DACA, leading to the government shut down which also took place early Saturday, January 20.
In New York, there were 200,000 marchers filling the streets and Central Park . They carried signs relating to the Me Too movement , resulting from the explosion of revelations about powerful men abusing women. “ Grab Em By The Midterms!” reminded watchers of the victories women had scored in recent elections in Virginia and New Jersey. Women wore the pink pussy cat hats they had knit the year before. Chicago demonstrators reached 300,000; Philadelphia, D.C. Austin and other cities all participated. People taking to the streets has become a signature of reactions to different policies enacted by Trump signing executive orders that were unpopular with the American people. His approval rating is the lowest of any president in modern history, hovering in the low to middle 30’s. He sends his daily tweets to his“base” in what he calls the new presidential method of communication. Trump constantly attacks the regular press of newspapers and cable TV, the “enemy of the people” sending out “fake news” .
On Saturday afternoon, Trump tweeted an ironic message, “Beautiful weather all over our great country, a perfect day for all Women to March. Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months. Lowest female unemployment in 18 years.!” His tweet was in keeping with his taking credit for the Stock Market rise and other positive economic indicators that have continued the recovery that Barack Obama oversaw when he brought the United States back from the serious recession he inherited. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics data, the unemployment rate for women aged 20 and older had been falling since 2012, four years before Trump took office.
The Protest Marches are the culmination of the Resistance Movement that has built during the past year. Here are some of the groups, activities, state and court decisions that have restrained and resisted the Trump agenda of programs and policies.
Indivisibles: During the months the Republicans in Congress tried to Repeal and Replace Obamacare , The Affordable Care Act, citizens around the country organized their resistance by attending town meetings and going to the offices locally of their representatives and senators. The Indivisibles waved ACA signs at the town meetings and told impassioned personal stories of the ACA saving family members lives. They also came to the D.C. offices and lobbied there. All four versions failed to pass in the senate. Obamacare was saved.
Sanctuary Cities: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York , and other cities organized to protect DACA young immigrants from being deported by federal agents. They were ready to lose federal support by raising funds from other sources.
Federal Judges rejected Trump’s three successive Travel Bans against people from Muslim countries. Although the verdicts differed, certain judges at the District and Appellate court levels cited Trump’s anti-Muslim statements during the campaign as discriminatory and directly relevant to the travel bans.
California and other states made climate change policy after Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Change Pact. (The only country in the world to do so!) The alliance includes Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, Hawaii, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Georgia, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia, and Washington , plus Puerto Rico. All but two states are led by Democratic governors. The 14 governors have agreed to hold the agreement. California has been a leader in controlling pollution from cars for years.
A.F.L. –C.I.O. Chief Richard Trumpka said on January 23 that the president has used his power to actively hurt union people. He also expects the Unions would participate aggressively in the Midterm elections backing candidates who supported the Union’s agenda.
Resistance of young Americans: In late April, a Gallup poll found that the percentage of respondents ages 18-34 who believed Trump keeps his promises fell 22 points from early February to early April, from 56 percent to 34 percent. Pew Research Center in April gave Trump his highest disapproval rating of any group, 63 percent by 18 to 29 ages.
Trump’s Offshore plans for drilling for oil have met stiff resistance after he granted Florida an exemption. (January, 2018) 15 governors, one third Republicans, have opposed the drilling plan.
Congress in September rejected Trump’s 22 percent budget cut in the N.I. H. National Institutes of Health . The president’s proposal “would have crippled American innovation in research, delayed new cures and treatments”, said Senator Durbin of Illinois, the number 2 Democrat.
Resistance School – Time magazine reported in early April that “the school was organized by ‘a group of Harvard graduate students ‘ and ‘offers lessons on mobilizing activists and sustaining long term resistance.’” Time wrote “for more than 15,000 students across the country, Wednesday marked the first day of Resistance School – a program where the educational focus is mobilizing against President Donald Trump’s administration.”
………………………………………………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson