Last night, as a sulfite-infested hunk of commercial dried papaya was whining on Twitter about his soon-to-be constituents exercising their Constitutional right to assembly, around a thousand of those constituents protested on 5th Avenue, behind barricades, across the street from Trump Tower.
Trump was presumably inside; official-looking cops wearing badges identifying them as Secret Service intermingled with NYPD, which assembled along the barricade keeping protesters on the sidewalk to the west of 5th, so the Tower loomed out of reach and above like a cursed edifice in a dystopian Marvel comic. On the street, though, the mood was a combination of rage and relief. Two days after Trump won the electoral vote, there was catharsis in the chants, which ranged from the familiar— “We reject/the President-Elect”—to the sanguine— “Pussy grabs back”—to the furious. (As an old, it was of particular relief to join in on “New York hates you” and, especially, “Fuck Giuliani.”) At one point, a collection of young women screamed “Rapist! Rapist!” and several voices around me cracked and broke, perhaps indicating something hit home. Across the street, a line of security adorned in riot gear helmets stood stonefaced, while the occasional besuited businessperson—mostly men, mostly white—emerged from the Tower, looking curious but unfazed.
The protesters were mostly young. I estimated an average age of about 20, but some were even younger; I was a little agog at watching a young white kid of 14, braces in his teeth, passionately explain to a German television station the urgency of the election, and the fear he felt for his education and future. (Parents and Tumblr, right?)
These were not professional protesters. Some were too young to be employed anywhere (although who knows what Trump’s stance is on reinstating child labor). They were an engaged, enraged collection of youth who grew up during the Obama administration and who refuse to accept an America presided by a racist, sexist, anti-gay narcissist with no experience in the position. They’re not going away.