Point: Is protesting the Trump inauguration an unpatriotic act?

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Point: Is protesting the Trump inauguration an unpatriotic act?

VOA News

VOA News

VOA News

August Zeidman, Features Editor

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With the recent election of Donald J. Trump to the office of the US Presidency, many questions have been brought forward on a national scale; what do we stand for as a nation? How do traditional values translate to the modern day? What truly is the right thing to do when faced with beliefs that challenge our own?

One such reaction to this dilemma has been widespread protests across many cities against Donald Trump and his oncoming administration. Many of these protesters wave banners such as ‘Not My President’, and various jokes poking fun at Trump’s policies and protesting them through satire. However, the question arises, is this unpatriotic?

It is, in fact, unpatriotic for people to disregard democracy in favor of serving their own beliefs.

“I find the protests to be annoying, they interrupt flow of traffic and the flow of cities across the country for a cause which, not only is there no basis in law to protest against, but there is absolutely nothing which can be done to meet their demands,” said sophomore Christopher Byrne. “What’s done is done, the Electoral College has voted and Congress has accepted the results. If people are going to protest, it should be against legislation, and if then they should at least know the specifics and provide an alternative, rather than protesting an individual.”

Many great thinkers have coined anecdotes relating to patriotism over the years, many drawing lines between it and the dangers of nationalism.

“The difference between patriotism and nationalism is that the patriot is proud of his country for what it does, and the nationalist is proud of his country no matter what it does; the first attitude creates a feeling of responsibility while the second a feeling of blind arrogance that leads to a war,” said American Journalist Sydney J. Harris.

These protests disregard the democratic process. Rather than taking responsibility for the nation and what can be foreseen in the future, these protests are sowing deeper lines of divisiveness so as to say, ‘Whatever happens is those peoples’ fault, not mine.’ Well, if you were to ask any sensible person, this is not patriotism.

“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism,” wrote George Washington. This quote still holds true today for ‘pretended patriotism,’ which is exactly what you see in these protests. Patriotism entails responsibility; a characteristic not found in these protests.

Even when these protests are so loud and cause such a ruckus, it is important to remember that these are not representative of the majority of Americans. If they were, the nation would be in chaos. The majority of Americans accept a democratic election when one candidate has clearly beaten another. The system may not be perfect, but as it stands, it must be respected.

Not only do these protests cause interruptions and danger to others where they are protesting, but also to the protesters themselves. Many have been hit by cars while protesting on highways and several have died. This irresponsibility is again indicative of the characteristic finger pointing which goes on in the protests rather than actual proposals for progress.

Furthermore, the people who go out into these protests are partially to blame for Trump’s being elected in the first place. Various articles and individuals have found that many of the protesters did not even vote at all, not even for the Democratic Candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Additionally, Trump often campaigned on the idea of the ‘silent majority’ to combat the loud protests which more often than not stemmed in the left leaning camps. Stirring up anger about these kinds of protests about any number of issues is itself what got Trump elected President.

To say the least, if the protesters were more realistic, more democratic, and more responsible in their message, then this author would have no problem calling them a patriotic movement just as the protests against the Vietnam War and calling for women’s suffrage were. These were protests hoping to achieve change that could actually be done. The only thing that can be done to meet the demands of the Anti-Trump protesters is to wait four years, something many people are apparently unwilling to do.

It will be an interesting four years, sure to have an abundance of debate on the nature of patriotism and answering many of the questions about America brought up before, but only time will tell. Nevertheless, these protests, being an unpatriotic and undemocratic movement, must end.

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