Mount Holyoke Student Makes An Educated Guess About Trump Resisters

Mar 28, 2017

Commentator and college senior Anjelica Jarrett says her fellow students are jumping at ways to resist President Trump's policies related to science, health care and immigration. Jarrett says she's also passionate about these issues. But don't expect to see her at any protests.

The day after President Trump was elected, my friends and I gathered outside Mount Holyoke's majestic library. We were joined by students from all over the campus. A lot of people's eyes were puffy from crying. Many of us had been up most of the night.

We stood in a big circle, on that cold, gray damp day. One by one, people stepped into the center and spoke. The fear about how our lives might be about to change for the worse was palpable.

Much as I hate to say it, I predict this desire to stand up to President Trump will fizzle out like the failed Occupy Wall Street movement. - Anjelica Jarett

Months later, my fellow students are inspired. They're constantly RSVPing to Facebook invites for marches and other resistance efforts. But I'm not signing up. 

In the past, I would have. I'd love to feel that marching would actually do something. And I don't want to be perceived as a stickler. But I've been studying social movements and from what I've learned, it seems that the protests my fellow students and people around the country are currently involved in are not going to get us anywhere significant.

Much as I hate to say it, I predict this desire to stand up to President Trump will fizzle out like the failed Occupy Wall Street movement. 

The Civil Rights movement was one that didn't fail. One of the reasons? It had one clear and straightforward goal.

It's that same strategy -- a simplified message --that helps to explain how far right parties in Europe are gaining such popularity at the moment.

Right now, many Americans are riled up -- and that's great. They're just not riled up about the same things. Some people are against anything Trump does, others are focusing on very specific issues to resist.

I don't know what some sort of middle ground would look like, or how we find it, but that's what we need -- a coalition that harnesses activists' energy and effectively directs it. Money helps too. The Tea Party had lots of it.

And access to political power is also important. The Republicans are in control of a lot -- they have no reason to keep progressive activists on their radar at this point. It's the people in their own party who've got their ears.

I keep thinking about that dismal November day we came together in front of Williston library. We were so vulnerable, and held on to each other -- literally -- for support. It was all we could manage to do at the time; I’m afraid that we haven’t moved much past that since.

Anjelica Jarrett is a senior at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley. Her honors thesis on social movements is due in late April.