The day after the inauguration of Pres. Trump, there were protests all around the country, many quite large. They were called a “Women’s March” for reasons that were never completely clear. I speculate below about the name. The media seldom do a good job of helping us make sense of such mass events. So, I watched fairly closely the well attended demonstrations in my city of Santa Cruz (California). It’s a good observation test case because it’s fairly compact and because it’s practically conservative-free.* I only know two avowed Republicans in the city besides by wife and me. I am sure there are more. I am just making the point that we are so sparse, we don’t casually bump into another or, we keep quiet about it. Santa Cruz is liberalism/progressivism in a nearly pure state. During the campaign, I saw zero (0) Trump bumper stickers, and, interestingly, only three Hillary stickers. There was a large number of Bernie Sanders stickers however. When Sen. Sanders was eliminated from the race through cheating, there was no protest, notably.
The protest rallies on Saturday following the Inauguration included a preponderance of women. Many sported the stylish two-horned pink or red hat nicknamed, or officially named (I don’t know) the “vagina hat.” The men there may have been feminists or, they had other goals in mind. Some, the ugly ones, were probably trying to earn sex points. The crowd. carried a multitude of hand made signs, mostly small ones. I don’t know why they were small. It may have been for lack of experience in demonstrating, marking the presence of many first-timers, or it may have been that the function of the signs was to instruct neighbors in the crowd or simply, self-proclamation: I exist!
I gave up quickly on the task of making a list of all, or even of most of the signs in sight. Three kinds stick to my mind the day after. The first kind proclaimed fear about “women’s rights” – undefined. I can think of, imagine of, three categories of claims advanced by this first kind of signs. First, worry about the federally guaranteed right to abortion. When conservatives acquire a parcel of power, there is always concern that the Christian activists among them will impose pregnancy on all women. (I mean instead of say, contraception, or abstinence, or perversion.) Hardly anyone ever mentions that should the Roe and Wade Supreme Court decision that made abortion a federal right be reversed, abortion would not thereby become illegal. The decision would simply revert to the states. It’s doubtful any one state of the fifty would outlaw abortion outright although some restrictions might be imposed, including on very late abortions. I think women are deliberately kept in the dark about this simple constitutional fact.
The second category of female claim, I suspect, was about pay. American women have been told for so long, with so much insistence that employed females earn less than employed males earn that the belief has taken root that there exists massive sex discrimination in employment. In fact paying men and women different rates for the same work has been illegal for many years. Doing so would invite financially juicy class action suits.** The academic social sciences have allowed the falsehood to thrive for years without intervening in the public arena. (There are good scholarly articles in respected journals that show that it isn’t so. Ordinary women don’t read them and of course feminist leaders suppress them if they know of them.) This academic failure to intervene is either criminal neglect or intellectual malpractice.
The third category of specifically female protest I discerned simply concerns disappointment about the failure to elect the “first female president” in the person of the astonishingly flawed Hillary Clinton. Mrs Clinton deserved to lose for several reasons I need not list here. Had the Democratic Party selected a normal woman to run though, there would be a very good chance she would have prevailed against the also flawed Donald Trump. It’s even tempting to think that almost any woman not Mrs Clinton would have beaten Mr Trump. In a related but different vein, it seems to me that disappointed female voters don’t give any thought to the fact that even older male conservatives like me would vote in a second for Condoleeza Rice, for example.(who is very happy as a professor at Stanford, I hear and very unfortunately so). It’s a straightforward male chauvinist pig stating this: I believe that women are, on the average, less well informed than men, especially as concerns politics. In the old days not that remote when newspapers were a primary form of political news, you never saw a woman reading a newspaper, anytime, anywhere. (That’s a cross-cultural observation.) *** “It’s our turn to get a president; it’s only fair!” I have not heard for years any argument to the effect that women in positions of political power govern differently than men in the same positions. So, the point of a woman president is?
Aside from statements associated with the female sex, many placards proclaimed some version of “solidarity.” They referred to the situation of illegal aliens. Apparently, sizable numbers of liberals believe that the Trump administration will actually deport 11 or 12 million resident illegals. (For those who read me from overseas: It simply cannot be done.) That such a belief persists is the conservatives’ faults. I would bet large amounts of money that no such thing will happen or even be attempted. And, incidentally, illegal aliens brought here as children will not be expelled. Trump stated late in his campaign that he would focus on illegal aliens that had committed crimes. The memo has not reached the protesters that it was exactly the Obama policy about illegal immigrants. Our fault!
The third kind of placard was noticeable for is brevity and for its euphonious qualities. It was also the most disturbing to this lover of democratic constitutionality. It said, “Dump Trump!” I don’t know to what extend those carrying this sign understand its implications. It seems to me (please, correct me) that the slogan can mean either one of two things. On the one hand, it can be an invitation to impeach Pres. Trump. That’s the only constitutional way to unseat a president. It’s a legitimate recommendation but in context, it’s absurd. One has not ground to impeach a president who has not had the time to do anything wrong yet as president. It would be decent to wait a couple of days to give him a chance to commit treason or a handful of the other impeachable crimes. Those who held the placard and meant “Impeach” are disturbingly childish: “I want my satisfaction now. Screw the facts” It makes me glad they lost.
The alternative interpretation to the “Dump Trump” slogan makes me appreciate even more the Second Amendment to the US Constitution.**** The slogan means simply that we, Americans, should cancel the results of the last election, pretend it did not happen, perhaps, appoint Mrs Clinton although she lost fair and square.***** Such a wish expresses a fascist mentality, of course. I am using the word cautiously here. I don’t believe that everyone I don’t like, every program I detest is fascist. I don’t – for example – believe that Senator Sanders is a fascist or that he would lend himself to leading a fascist movement. There is a strong fascist strand in the current progressive movement. The rioters in DC on the day of the Inauguration are a very small and unimportant part of it. Watch for those who ride their bicycles to work and those who push baby-carriages.
* I call it fondly: “The People’s Socialist Green People’s Republic of Santa Cruz.”
** If you are not sure what a class action suit is, ask me here.
*** Yes, bad sampling, blah, blah, blah…. I can’t afford to wait for the results of five or six well designed studies to develop an opinion for action. Besides, where such studies exist, they tend to be ignored. (See above.)
**** If you read this from outside the US, you may want to Google the Second Amendment. It makes for interesting reading.
***** Reminder: If (IF) Russian hacking actually influenced the results of the election, it’s only by exposing the vulgar corruption of the Democratic Party. I could make an argument that Mr Putin deserves an American medal for helping American democracy clean itself up.