The events of the past few days have left those around the world wondering what the future holds. On Friday January 20th, Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. On Saturday January 21st, millions of women around the world marched in Women’s Marches. To an extent, I participated in both of these events.
On Friday, my new friends and I gathered around a TV to watch the inauguration surrounded by snacks to keep our spirits up. It was hard watching the inauguration of a man I did not vote for, especially one who so often speaks with disrespect towards those he does not understand. It was also difficult to watch because I was watching from more than 4,000 miles away. I could feel the distance from my fellow Americans in more ways than one and it left me feeling empty. Partly because I could not watch the ceremony from somewhere in America, but also because it is still hard for me to wholly understand why this man won the election.
From studying political science over the past few semesters I can understand that the people who voted for Trump likely felt disillusioned by their political system and did not feel like their government represented the beliefs they held. I can guess that these people decided that Trump was better for the job than Hillary Clinton because they saw Trump’s background in business as a positive method to bring the United States more economic prosperity. But what I have a hard time understanding is the lack of empathy it appears Trump voters have for their fellow Americans. Now I don’t mean to label everyone who voted for Trump as a racist or misogynist or anything else. In fact, I believe that there are lots of people who voted for Trump who are good people. I’m simply looking to have a conversation with Trump supports to try to grasp the feelings that led them to their voting decision. A conversation that many Danes have started with me, that I unfortunately do not have a great answer for.
Yet just one day after, millions of women took to the streets around the world to protest the hate they have seen as a result of this presidential election. From Washington, D.C. to Los Angeles, to London and Copenhagen and everywhere in between, people protested on every continent (yes even on Antarctica!) to show their solidarity against President Trump.
Though many on Facebook joyously shared pictures of signs and crowds gathered at the marches they attended, just as many Facebook users shared their annoyance at so many people doing something they believed to be so pointless. While I understand it can be annoying to see similar pictures posted in repetition, I could not be more proud to see so many women (and men!!) stand up for something that they believe in.
Sure, protesting might not immediately change laws in the United States nor is it an effective way to impeach a president. However, protesting is a way to civilly disagree with what people say in a way to bring like minded people together without inciting violence. These marches were a way for women around the world to see that they were not alone in their grief over the election or in the violence they may have experienced in the past. Looking at pictures of signs and people of all shapes, sizes, and colors, I am reminded that there is still love in this world no matter how much hate might penetrate our news cycles. That love will always rise above hate. That love will always win.