May 4, 2017
President Donald Trump was in New York City today for an evening with Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and several hundred guests aboard the USS Intrepid on the West Side. Security was tighter than ever, and the Gazette was unable to gain entry to the invitation only affair. However, there was plenty of activity outside to report.
First, some background. Donald Trump is a native New Yorker. He was born here, grew up here, and he became very wealthy and famous here. Then he ran for President of the United States and won. Normally, that sequence would lead to a triumphant return, more or less along the lines of a Yankees ticker-tape parade in the canyon following a World Series win. And for anybody else, it probably would have. But not Donald Trump. While he might have been his parents’ favorite son, last November he wasn’t New York City’s.
His opponent, Hillary Clinton ultimately lost the national contest but she won New York City by a huge margin, taking 79% of the votes here. So the welcome wagon wasn’t exactly waiting for the President when he came back to his hometown today. In fact, there was little evidence of any support today on 12th Avenue.
Presumably the welcome was warmer on board the Intrepid. Scores of smartly dressed guests had preceded the President, many of them Australians who must have felt fortunate to dine with not only the American President but with their own nation’s Prime Minister as well. One Australian gent, gesturing at the crowd of protesters across the street, said very diplomatically, “well, that’s democracy for you. Eh, mate?”
Ever since the shock and awe of his upset win one night last November dispersed a dejected throng from the Javitz Center, the city has become a hotbed of resistance to all things Trump: the so-called Muslim Ban, cuts to Federal science programs, ACA repeal, tax cuts, and deportations. Each of those has had its own day or night in the spotlight, and NYPD has their response down pat by now: send thousands of police officers. Overall, despite the bottomless angst that evidently energizes these protest rallies, they have been remarkably tranquil. Today was no different in that respect.
The hallmark of these gatherings has been the protest sign. While some are obviously printed commercially, the majority are handmade and often light hearted. The “show me yours and I’ll show you mine” sign at the tax protest, the “mad scientist” one at the Science March, “nasty woman” at, well, all of them, and so on. But this far along in the season one wonders. Are these protests moving toward the next level, ever more frustrated and confrontational? Or back to the previous level of stay-at-home apathy? Stay tuned to find out!