Violent Protesters No Better Than Trump Rhetoric

Protestors rally outside the Plaza Hotel on December 11, 2015 in New York, where Republican Presidential hopeful Donald Trump was speaking at a fund-raising luncheon for the Pennsylvania Republican Party. AFP PHOTO / TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

Millions of Americans were repulsed over the past two years by the hateful words of Donald Trump. There’s no doubt about that. But now anti-Trump protests have popped up in major cities across the country. As someone who was disgusted by Trump rhetoric, I am equally appalled by protesters who have turned violent, burning cars, destroying property and generally committing mayhem. There’s no excuse. They should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

First, let me pose a question that I have no real evidence on which to ask it. Of the thousands of people who took to the streets since Trump was elected, how many of them voted? As the cliché goes, if you didn’t vote, you have no business complaining about the result.

Anti-Trump protesters take to the streets of Las Vegas.
Anti-Trump protesters take to the streets of Las Vegas.

Trump himself encouraged violence at his rallies. He observed that he’d like to punch an infiltrator at a rally and numerous times implored security to “Get ‘em out of here!” His words encouraged hate, discrimination, bigotry and misogyny. We despised his hate speech and rallied around Hillary Clinton despite her own imperfect candidacy.

Now we see thousands protesting Trump as president-elect. I am a big supporter of the First Amendment; in this case, freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably assemble (my emphasis). The peaceful protesters have every right to have their voices heard and to make the point that they don’t like Donald Trump as our new president.

What the demonstrators don’t have is the right to burn and break things or even block busy roadways (an ambulance trying to get to a hospital that is blocked by a crowd could be life and death for someone).

The ironic thing about these recent protests is that they are exactly what Trump would have called for had he lost. Remember his refusal to commit to recognize the election results unless he won? Well, now anti-protesters are no better than the Trump whackos.

If a call to action is needed it’s to reorganize, determine just what went wrong in the election (including on how far off the polls proved to be), and put energy into positive change. Protesting may make people feel good but to what end? Trump is president-elect. That fact is not going to change. There are no do-overs.