Civil Rights

Why is Trump surprised by the Million Woman March? He asked for it.

Trump Protester
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True or false: In the past few months, the president-elect has said:

1. Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag — if they do, there must be consequences — perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail.

2. Just had a very open and successful presidential election. Now professional protesters, incited by the media, are protesting. Very unfair.

3. The Theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize.

If you answered true to all of them, you are correct.

The statements came from President-elect Donald Trump’s fevered Twitter account, and to each of these statements even a careless reading of the First Amendment would answer:

1. Uh, no. See Texas v. Johnson, 1989.

2. Uh, no, again. The idea of paid protesters was rather handily debunked by Snopes, and PolitiFact.

3. Short of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater, pretty much anything said by the cast of Hamilton is protected by the First Amendment.

{mosads}Things are about to get grim as the country prepares for a leader who has said — on record — that the First Amendment provides too much freedom of speech. In Trump’s world, protesters should be beaten up. So it makes sense that a gathering billed as a “million-woman march,” it’s official name is the Women’s March on Washington, is quickly gathering steam. The  Some 100,000 people have said on Facebook they plan to attend.

Obviously, the numbers could be lower (it’s easy to hit “like” or “interested” on social media), but in states like Connecticut, buses are being added to accommodate the attendees who want to travel to D.C. over Inauguration weekend.

Earlier, organizers of the women’s march were concerned they wouldn’t be allowed in any of the better-known national gathering places, but organizers recently got the go-ahead for a march along the National Mall. Other prime spots such as the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument have a hold placed on them by the National Park Service, which is awaiting direction from the Presidential Inaugural Committee, where a spokesman insisted they are acting as quickly as possible to plan precisely what venues the inauguration will need. An attorney representing the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund called the holding of public places a “massive land grab.”

This is not the first presidential inauguration that’s drawn protesters. Pretty much any inauguration has had its dissenters, though some more than others. If you look at old pictures from 1981, you’ll see me waving from President Ronald Reagan’s swearing-in. We were a small group.

This inauguration is different. This feels massive and — to use a word that’s quickly becoming hackneyed — unprecedented, though the response makes sense. A combative campaigner should expect combative protests.

Only a bully would be surprised.

Though some of protest organizers expect the protests to center on immigration and deportation, there are hosts of people whom Trump the Candidate offended, threatened and/or isolated, and they just may show up in D.C. or in protests around the country

Add to the list of people who are on guard about a Trump administration women, people of color, Muslims, people who live with disabilities, and others. 

The New York Times keeps a running list — 289 at last count — of the people, places, and things whom Trump has insulted over his campaign and transition. Check out the insults he reserves for women. 

So for as long as the National Park Service has to hold space, there will still be hundreds of thousands of women and their supporters coming to the capital city in January. Mr. Trump, consider yourself put on notice. 

And welcome to your next four years.

Campbell is a journalist, author and distinguished lecturer in journalism at the University of New Haven. She is the author of Dating Jesus: Fundamentalism, Feminism and the American Girl and the upcoming Searching for The American Dream in Frog Hollow. Her work has appeared in the Hartford Courant, Connecticut Magazine, The New Haven Register and The Guardian. Follow her @campbellsl

The views expressed by Contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

Tags civil rights Donald Trump Inauguration Mike Pence million-woman march Protests Trump

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