Hundredth Day Protest

By Ravenne Reid on May 9, 2017

On any given day in New York City, Fifth Avenue is congested with mobs of window shoppers and prospective consumers, but on April 29, anti-Trump protesters flooded these streets. The typical sounds that can be heard in this shopping thoroughfare — honking horns and blaring sirens — were drowned out by the conversations of protesters who celebrated the controversial president’s hundredth day in office the best way they know how.

 

Depending on who you ask, the past hundred days were completely made up of failures, or a series of accomplishments with a few minor setbacks. Nonetheless, a little over a thousand demonstrators that had gathered in this crowd all gave the president the same grade for his first major milestone in office: an F.

 

A report card was held high above a small section of the crowd, blocking out the sun as it beamed down intensely on demonstrators. Unlike typical cardboards with multi-colored lettering and an unflattering photo of the commander-in-chief plastered in the middle, this poster reflected on the performance of an unlikely student.

 

Failing Donald Trump in the “subjects” of healthcare, environmental protection, civil rights, and leadership, Ryan Palsy, the creator of this sign, drew large red F’s in marker and circled them accordingly. At the bottom of the sign, Palsy made his overall comments about the president’s performance in black sharpie: “Mr. Trump, you have failed bigly!”

 

“Does that mean you want him to be held back a year?” Caroline George, another protester, jokingly asked Palsy.

 

She, like some other female protesters, wore the pink hat that became the most significant symbol for the Women’s March back in January. George smiled as she waited for a response, even though she was well aware of what his answer was going to be.

 

As true members of the “resistance,” which is comprised of advocates against Trump, they both joined this march for the sole purpose of sending the president a clear message that they do not condone his actions thus far.

 

“God, I hope not,” Palsy said in the same light-hearted manner but rolled his eyes at the thought. At that moment, he lowered his sign to his chest and continued, “If that’s the case, then I’ll give him all A’s so he can skip a few years. Look, I used to teach second grade– seven-year-olds — but I never thought that I’d be giving a seventy-year-old man a grade.”

 

“We’re all his teachers!” George said, moving her finger in a circular motion.

 

By “all,” she was referring to the anti-Trump progressives who chose to publicly express their dissent towards the president. While some remained quiet, letting their signs that portrayed Trump as a toddler with a pacifier in his mouth or as a puppet with strings held by Russian President Vladimir Putin do the talking for them, others raised their fists and bellowed a familiar chant: “This is what democracy looks like.”

In addition to that, these activists came up with a new mantra for this special occasion: “The resistance’s here to stay, welcome to your 100th day!”

 

In his first hundred days, Trump has earned praise from his most vocal supporters for executing regulations that correlate with the conservative agenda, such as defunding Planned Parenthood and implementing extreme deportation measures. But these so-called achievements are just the start to an unsatisfactory presidency as far as Palsy, George, and other anti-Trump progressives are concerned.

“How do you have a majority of your own party in both chambers and still not come up with a healthcare bill that you all can agree on?” Palsy asked while emphasizing certain words to stress his point. “They had seven years!”

No one could argue otherwise because the healthcare bill that was made to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was supposed to be a major triumph for Trump and Republican officeholders. The people who surrounded him shook their heads as they listened to his rant until George intervened.

 

“Goes to show the type of people they are, huh?” she said. “They just want to be in power and that’s all.”

 

“Listen, next time, I’m going to do one of these for Paul Ryan,” Palsy said, pointing to his makeshift report card. “I’d like to set up a meeting with his parents.” The two shared a laugh before George pointed out that there were more failures that Palsy could have added to his list.

 

Palsy, choosing not to deny her claim, responded, “I was going to put economy, but we have enough time to worry about that.”

 

The self-proclaimed “jobs president” has promised his supporters that the economy would surge under his presidency and promised his supporters that he would bring back overseas jobs to American citizens. On April 18, in Wisconsin, President Trump implemented a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order, which aims to give priority to American workers and companies over foreign ones.

 

To conservatives, this legislation not only reinforces patriotic values but also maintains their view that the economy is in good hands. Those who voted for him know that if Trump wants a successful presidency, then he will have to continue to fulfill his campaign promises, even if liberals, like those at the protest, may disagree. And they do.

 

Members of the resistance will be testing him to see if he can handle the pressures of being president. But to Darrien Thomas and Steve Nguyen, protesters who also joined the hundredth day rally, they are certain Trump will falter in the long run, given his recent confession in a Reuters interview.

 

“Did you hear about that interview Trump did yesterday?” Thomas asked his friend. Although neither of them bothered to bring handmade signs, they were both just as lively as those who did, raising their fists in the air and shouting their dissent towards the president. “The one where he said he thought that being president would be easier,” he continued.

 

Without giving Nguyen much time to answer his question, Thomas offered an emotional response:

“If Trump had to go through even half of what Obama went through then he would probably resign. I think that he likes being powerful, but doesn’t like the fact that he’s not admired. Like, even when he runs for re-election he will never be able to grow his base [of supporters] beyond what it already is.”

 

Nguyen, finally getting a chance to speak, said. “You’re just now figuring that out?”

 

He lowered his fist, like his friend had done, and continued to say:

“I mean, he can’t change the fact that he’s going down in history as the president with the lowest approval rating. But, he can change his attitude towards being disliked. He could just get over it and act like he has the potential to be presidential sometimes. But, if going to golf courses every weekend and signing papers every once in a while is hard, then — “

 

“Then, we’re screwed,” Thomas interrupted, and Nguyen shook his head in response.

 

Ravenne is a sophomore at CUNY John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, and she currently majors in political science. In addition to that, she also minors in journalism and film studies.

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