The day after Trump’s inauguration, a half million women descended upon Washington, D.C to protest, with millions more participating in satellite protests all over the country, even across the world. It was inspiring, and it got attention.

And then the Muslim Ban came, and that inpiration led me and many other people across the country to show up at airports to protest: we won’t sit idly for this. Again, it was inspiring, it got attention, and it was even supported by judicial victories.

At this point, I was assuming that I’d probably be going to a protest once every few weeks for the indefinite future. But, instead: a week or two later, the ICE set up checkpoints, went to immigrants’ houses, went to immigrants’ schools, tore apart families, and mass protests were conspicuously absent. Were we only protesting against the ICE actions when they happen at the wrong place or against the wrong people, whereas we’re fine with the ICE if they’re rounding up Mexicans who have lived here for years without visas instead of Muslims flying in on visas?

The courts did a good job of standing up to the Muslim Ban, even the revised ones. And we celebrated on Twitter, but the celebration felt off to me. Yes, I’m glad the courts are doing the right thing in this instance; but counting on the courts to continue to do that seems not just complacent but foolhardy. And, more importantly: the problem isn’t just that the Muslim Ban is illegal, it’s that it’s immoral; counting on the courts to stand up for morality isn’t a great strategy, either. Instead, we need people standing up saying that 1) this isn’t who we want to be as a country, and 2) if you’re a politician, we are watching your actions very closely.


And that lack of protests has continued. There was the March for Science, which was pretty big: but months passed between when it was announced and when it occurred, and the march felt strangely abstract to me, nothing like the Women’s March. (Though I didn’t participate; quite possibly it was different for people who were there.)

Not that active opposition went away: when Trump was pushing his cabinet and Supreme Court picks through, I spent a lot of time trying to get through to one of my Senators’ offices, and I wasn’t the only one. That was something, but even that has gone away for me personally: my Senators and Congresswoman are all Democrats, and even Feinstein seems to have mostly realized that there’s no particular benefit for her to find common ground with Trump. I’d be on the phone or going to townhalls if I had a Republican representative; but I don’t.


As I write this, the House passed a horrific health care bill last week, and Trump fired Comey today. I would have gone to a health care protest last weekend; if there’s a protest in support of a Russia investigation this weekend, I’ll be there.

And I hope there is! But I don’t expect there to be one. Or, at least, not the same sort of big, synchronized ones. After the earlier protests, I signed up for some mailing lists about local protest actions; I actually could go to multiple protests a week about all sorts of different things, but constant small uncoordinated protests feel like a way to burn out without any effect: nobody is going to care if 20 people are standing in front of one government office. (At least if you want to have a national impact: if you want to affect the behavior of your local representative, I imagine small, focused protests can be effective.)


Of course, it’s not like rabble rousing and coordination magically happens: somebody has to do it, and I’m not standing up and volunteering to do it myself. But I sure wish I saw more of it; I’m getting tired of this feeling that things are going horribly wrong, could get a lot worse, that there are a lot of people who agree with me, and that we have potential energy that we’re completely wasting.

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