Resistance against Trump must be done right

By Editorial Board

Thousands of people showed up at Battery Park in New York City Jan. 29 to protest Trump’s immigration ban that also indefinitely suspends the admission of Syrian refugees to shout one word in tandem: Resist.

The days following this executive order—which blocks citizens and refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the U.S.— have been harrowing for many. However, the refugees, non-refugee immigrants and visa holders left behind have endured unspeakable hardships. 

A Yazidi woman, after fleeing from ISIS, was barred from boarding a scheduled flight out of Iraq to meet her husband who had found asylum in the U.S., according to a Jan. 29 CNN article. A medical student in Virginia was forced to face the possibility her father may not be able to return home after attending a funeral in Iran. The injustice was not lost on Americans, and protesters turned out in droves at local airports to advocate for the people being turned away.

This is not the first time American citizens mounted a wide-scale protest against Trump. During the Jan. 21 Women’s March on Washington, people held up signs reading “We are the resistance,” across the face of iconic “Star Wars” figure Princess Leia. Protests around the country are proof of willingness and commitment to resist.

There are many ways Americans can resist Trump besides protesting, although protesting has the power to be highly effective. People should continue to call for courts to review and overturn Trump’s most hateful executive orders, urge legislators to vote “no” on legislation promoted by the Trump administration and use social media to boycott. 

Social media is an extremely useful way to be vocal about matters that have real, troubling consequences. However, it is just as important to call representatives and senators, engage in small or large protests, donate to organizations working to help refugees and make as much noise as possible.

There’s ample evidence that the resistance is working. A social media campaign to “#DeleteUber” sprung up after the U.S. company refused to join a taxi drivers’ strike in New York City following Trump’s Muslim ban, according to a Jan. 31 Chicago Tribune article. 

Another unfortunate result is that the protests have been marred with pockets of violence, which takes the focus off the issues and are exploited by media, social media and the adversaries they’re opposing. Richard Spencer, self-proclaimed white nationalist and alt-right leader, was punched in the face on two different occasions on Trump’s inauguration day by what he called in a Jan. 20 tweet “Antifas,” short for anti-fascist protesters.

The event was captured on camera, spawning viral videos of Spencer getting punched to a musical background. The popularity of these memes might suggest viewers were condoning violence when the target was the positions of an alt-right leader. What’s more likely, however, is that millennials were using humor as a coping mechanism.

More violence broke out on inauguration day, including individuals equipped with crow bars and hammers vandalizing businesses, smashing bus stop signs and spray-painting buildings, among other acts of rage. Most recently, controversial Breitbart editor—an alt-right publication founded by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon—Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at University of California-–Berkeley on Feb. 1, but violent protests caused the event to be canceled, according to a Feb. 2 NBC news article.

Although there is no one proper way to resist, using social media, marches and donations to express a commitment to resist Trump’s ideals will strengthen the movement and foster unity.  

Protesters can’t claim the moral high ground if they resort to violence, but being loud while resisting is America’s biggest strength in a time when Trump wants to silence it.