Since Nov. 9, President-elect Donald Trump’s victory has resulted in a series of protests across the nation, several of which have taken place at Ohio University and in Athens.
Sunday night, the Athens chapter of the International Socialist Organization (ISO) hosted an anti-Trump rally at the Athens Courthouse that attracted more than 300 students and community members. ISO used the platform to promote its own message against Trump and the two-party system.
— Ellen Bardash (@ellenbardash) November 14, 2016
With representatives speaking from ISO, F*ck Rape Culture, the Hispanic Student Union and Multicultural Activists Coalition, the crowd heard several reasons as to why the president-elect was unfit for the Oval Office.
Maryann and Norman Garber, who have lived in Athens for 40 years, brought cardboard cut-outs of Trump’s general election rival, Hillary Clinton, and President Barack Obama to the protest. The couple said they came to protest the Electoral College, which they claim has roots in racism and has resulted in an undemocratic system.
“Seven presidents did not get the popular vote,” Norman said. “Hillary didn’t get the electoral vote and she got the popular vote, Gore didn’t get the electoral vote but he got the popular vote. Five others in addition to that. So what it’s coming down to now is presidential candidates only go after the small number of states out there that are swing states.”
While Maryann said she does not support all of ISO’s ideas, she agreed the political system needs to be reformed.
“A lot of it is driven by money,” she said. “I’m not saying that we need to get rid of the two party system, but the party system that we have right now — both parties — I think there are flaws.”
She suggested that a monthslong campaign cycle replace the yearslong campaigns of today, helping to shift the focus from money. While she is worried about what Trump might try to do in office, she said she does not usually support protesting without a definite need.
“I tend not to want to just speak hate about him right now, even though I completely loathe everything he is about,” Maryann said. “We have a flawed system and we’re trying to function within this and maybe pull the rug out from under it.
“Speaking as an aging hippie from the 60s…there’s no way to peace, peace is the way, and this is the thing we need to try to live, all of us. So the hate speech from either side, I don’t really agree with.”
This was not the only protest that students participated in this weekend. Another demonstration was held Saturday evening on the steps of the courthouse.
Dana McKinley, a senior studying painting and drawing, organized the protest to promote peace and unity.
“I just wanted to have people that feel so much fear and anguish and worry right now to know that they’re not alone and that there are people here in Athens County that can help them and are here for them in any way that we can be,” McKinley said.
— Lindsey Curnutte (@lindseycurnutte) November 14, 2016
She added she is worried about the effect Trump’s election will have on campus culture,
“We just wanted to provide a safe space for them in any way that we can,” McKinley said. “We wanted to suggest with this protest that all of this hate and all of this mistreatment is not an acceptable behavior to have, even if our president-elect seems to project that as an OK behavior.”