By: Liam Adams ‘17
Staff Writer and Web Editor
For the past six months, there has been an effort on behalf of Democrats, moderate Republicans and other citizens to halt Donald Trump’s ascension to power. Many worry that his presidency is a threat to minorities and oppressed people, such as women, people of color, LGBTQ people, and disabled people. Many worry that his presidency will not advance the movement to better care for our planet. In an effort to ensure Trump’s electoral defeat and dissuade his followers for casting the Trump-vote, there was a heavy focus from the media on Trump’s missteps and ugly past. Unfortunately, that strategy yielded little success and Donald J. Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States.
The singular focus on Trump, his family and his past can only do so much to promote progress in this country. Some believe that through focusing on and criticizing Trump that our country will become a better place for oppressed minorities. The rationale is that if there is enough criticism of Trump, then more people will begin to lose faith in him. If there is a lack of faith in Trump, the hope is that people might be more willing to put their faith in other powerful individuals who can better uphold justice in this country.
Indeed, the criticism of Trump that has been provided by the media is legitimate and useful. We as citizens should be questioning the motives and decisions of the powerful. There have been some decisions that Trump has made in the past and is already making as President that negatively affect many different individuals, U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike. If this sort of criticism is to be done appropriately, however, it should exclude dramatic gossip of Trump and his family.
I want to add that, though appropriate criticism can be powerful, a singular focus on Trump is not the method of “resistance.” Centralized focus is a micro method of resistance in the purview of other forms of protest that incorporate a more macro view of the U.S. and its history.
To understand what it means to have a macro-view of the U.S. and its history, we must understand the following statement: Donald Trump is not the root of the problem. He is only a symptom of it. There are some who would argue that the actual root of the problem is white, masculine supremacy, which are a social structures that governs the U.S. society in addition to other societies around the world. Social structures of “white, masculine supremacy” are societies that are stratified in which men and white people (or people with a lighter skin color) hold the most power. When the term male or masculine is stated, the implication is also that non-masculine identities also lack power (non-straight, non cis-gender).
White, masculine supremacy is destructive because it withholds power from women, people of color, LGBTQ people and disabled people. White, masculine supremacy denies financial gain, socioeconomic mobilization and a general respect for one’s dignity for women, POC, LGBTQ and disabled people. These less powerful individuals are not provided with the resources to live in a manner that parallels the status of white men. These social structures of white, masculine supremacy have been established throughout history due to many different occurrences.
Although these social structures of white, masculine supremacy determine the composure of many social institutions, there are various social movements that seek to dismantle these structures of supremacy, thus creating more equality in our society. Examples of these movements include Black Lives Matter, different feminist movements, or rights for LGBTQ people, immigrants, disabled people, or Muslims. These justice movements existed before Trump’s inauguration, and they were founded to protest systematic establishments instead of a single human being.
In my proposal of “resistance” of Trump, I argue that resistance is more about dismantling these greater social structures of white, masculine supremacy. Trump is only a drop in the bucket of the greater narrative of oppression of non-white, non-masculine identities. Thus, as important as it is to criticize Trump, there needs to an effort by U.S. citizens to walk alongside these justice movements that are fighting against something much larger than Trump. If Trump is to halt these protest efforts, then it is the responsibility of the protestors to push past his and his cabinet members’ obstructive policies. Trump, however, is not the “end-all, be-all.”