Students Make Plans For Inauguration Week

Protestors display disapproval at the #TurnOutDC rally Dec. 17.

Protestors display disapproval at the #TurnOutDC rally Dec. 17.

By Sara Heimlich, Features Editor

“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

With these words, president-elect Donald J. Trump will become the 45th president of the United States. For some students, living in such close proximity to the capital will allow them to hear these words in person, whether in protest or in celebration.

The controversy over the election has led to some concerns on how safe D.C. will be on inauguration day.

“I don’t plan to march on Washington with a rainbow flag for safety reasons,” junior Wesley Warren said. “But the least I can do is spread love, something our new president lacks.”

Junior Bradford Wood, who is attending the inauguration in support of Trump, is less concerned.

“There might be some organized violence, but the Trump supporters will be prepared,” Wood said. “I’ll just go where the bikers are.”

For others, the potential risks outweigh the value of standing outside the Capitol building on Jan. 20.

“I know that some of the kids [in the Republican’s club] are planning on going to the Trump inauguration, but due to safety concerns it isn’t an official plan,” Republican club co-president and junior Brooke Weiner said. “There will be many protests, which can be dangerous, especially for a group of teens. We are worried about people getting riled up on both sides due to the controversy over the president-elect, so while it may be an interesting event, it is most likely not a good place to be.”

Instead, Weiner and her co-president, Lelia Durand, will be staying home together and watching the inauguration on TV.

“We will [be] finding points to discuss at our next meeting,” Weiner said. “We will look at protests from different groups to discuss. We will also be looking for things Trump says because even as Republicans, we are still unbiased and will fairly examine his political strategy. We usually discuss the way that both sides react to current events and debate our opinions on policies because there is a wide range of people in the club.”

Students who don’t support Trump have thought of ways other than protesting to express their opposition to the election results.

“Some of my friends and I are planning to volunteer at either a homeless shelter or the Manna Food Pantry,” Young Democrats club president and junior Caroline Adkins said. “Although it’s not directly related to politics, I think it would be an effective way to give back to the community and to some of the people in those groups who feel threatened by Trump and Pence. I stand with and understand the motives of the people who are deciding to protest, but I don’t believe that my presence there would be necessarily effective or appreciated, considering my background as a privileged, white-passing teenager.”

Following the election, Maret School senior Hossein Reza created a Facebook page called “Love Will Always Trump Hate.” On the page, students from all over the county have been organizing protests and walk-outs.

“I wanted to do something, but I didn’t know where to go,” Reza said. “I knew this feeling was mutual among most of my classmates, friends, and generally the people around me. I then created a [Facebook] group in which people joined, and then could see tons of activity regarding protests and activism happening around them.  I thought that by eliminating the confusion around how exactly young people can become active, it would allow must more of the youth to feel engaged and feel that they can do something.”

As of now, the group has not yet planned any specific protests or events on inauguration day.

“One of the trickiest parts of mobilizing the youth is that their attention spans are very, very short,” Reza said. “The majority of the activity occurred within the first week and then people seemed to lose interest and potentially even tire out. Once Inauguration day comes closer and the same problems that were on people’s’ minds several weeks ago come to the front of their minds again, we will resume the activity in the Facebook group at full force.”

Despite the many twists and turns of the 2016 election, one thing is certain: inauguration day will be full of both joy and mourning.

“Honestly I have given very little thought to plan out what I’d do that day,” Warren said. “I’ll try to do what a lot of us disappointed citizens do and that’s surround myself in a positive environment. I’ll tell my family and friends I love them and I’m grateful for their support and they accept me for who I am.”