It seems the time between Nov. 8 and now has been a whirlwind. Between protests, people stopping you on the street for your signature on a petition, families debating at the dinner table and lifelong friends sharing opinions on Facebook, political activism has been on the rise in America.
But the one thing we have to be thankful for in all this chaos is an increase in political activism from both sides of the political spectrum. Even though voter turnout was down from previous years, clocking in at 56.9 percent, the political fire is raging.
Voter turnout might not have been as high as expected overall, but the blue-collar class had its largest voter turnout in years. Statistics show that white, non-college educated males had a large increase in voter participation this election. Many people in the middle-to-lower class reported this year marked their first time voting in an election.
The United States also saw the largest post-inauguration protest in history with the Women’s March on Washington, which took place not only in D.C., but also across the country and even across the globe. There were 673 marches around the world and an estimated 4,956,422 marchers, as reported by organizers. This was not a direct attack at President Donald Trump but instead a political movement focused on women and men establishing a foundation for the fight for equal rights.
Trump has also answered the pleas of thousands of citizens by starting the process to repeal the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, and has asked the country for its opinions on replacement health care options. People from all different backgrounds have shared their opinions on what the new health care should include and have shared personal stories on social media about how the Affordable Care Act has affected them.
Also, many college campuses have seen an increase in protests and political involvement. Many campuses had large movements to increase voter registration and political knowledge. Over 100 college campuses have also taken stances on the “Muslim ban” by standing with cities across the country and pushing for sanctuary status, Ohio University being one of these colleges. Campus administrations around the country have also released statements related to the immigration ban, promising to protect their staff and students in anyway possible.
For the last few weeks, constituents have been flooding senators with phone calls about the confirmation of Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education. When the time came to vote, Vice President Mike Pence had to cast the tie breaking vote for the first time in history for a cabinet appointment.
Regardless of whether people approve of Trump, political activism has grown, and we have him to thank for that. Society is beginning to realize its role in politics doesn’t end with voting; this election has propelled people of all different ages, socioeconomic classes and political views to get involved and fight for their rights. Although the country may seem divided right now, we can only hope that this increase in political involvement will bring a return of the great American democracy, one that is made by the people and for the people.