Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Inauguration attendance: First Amendment rights and fights

Democrats exercised their First Amendment rights through the boycotting of Donald Trump’s inauguration this past week. Sixty-six Democrats publicly spoke out against Donald Trump’s comments describing Representative John Lewis as a man of “no action.”

In an NBC interview one week before Trump’s inauguration, Lewis described the 45th president as “not legitimate” and attributed Russian hacking of the election to Clinton’s loss. After hearing this interview, Trump took to the Twittersphere to voice his own opinion on the matter.

“Congressman John Lewis should spend more time on fixing and helping his district, which is in horrible shape and falling apart (not to mention crime infested) rather than falsely complaining about the election results. All talk, talk, talk-no action or results. Sad!” the president tweeted in response. It is the last line here which mobilized Democrats to boycott the inauguration.

Democrats took to Twitter themselves using #StandWithJohnLewis to announce their plans to sit out the inauguration.

Lewis played a key role in organizing the 1963 March on Washington as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). Also known as the youngest member of the “Big Six,” whose members included the esteemed Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lewis coordinated the “Mississippi Freedom Summer” campaign to register African American voters in the South.

Democrats were outraged by Trump’s attempt to discredit such an integral figure in the civil rights movement and community. For this reason and other concerns about the “legitimacy” of the Trump presidency, many Democratic members of Congress boycotted the inauguration, including Texas Representatives Lloyd Doggett and Joaquin Castro.

Outspoken “Final Thoughts” reporter Tomi Lahren ridiculed the protest as a “crybaby moment” awarding Democrats not in attendance with her less-than-coveted Snowflake trophy. Republicans believe this demonstration inhibits the peaceful transition of power.

Just as Lahren used her freedom of speech to call out these “whiners,” Democrats demonstrated their First Amendment right with last Friday’s boycott.

The Democrats are not infringing upon anything that is not granted to anyone under the First Amendment of the Constitution to every other citizen of the United States. “Congress shall make no law…prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech,” Framers of the Constitution specifically wrote this after escaping the heavily repressive government of the British Empire.

Members of the Democratic party saw this demonstration as an opportunity to stand up for one of their own. Regardless of what your political stance is, the notion is to protect those who are for you. Democrats defended a respected civil rights leader. Many of those who boycotted the event participated with the intention of supporting John Lewis and his statement against the soon-to-be inaugurated Trump.

Just as Lahren voiced her opinions to her large audience, Democrats have the right to visibly indicate their displeasure with the status of the next administration with Trump at the helm. Democrats and Republicans are both equal under the clauses of the Constitution, which translates to both parties having an unalienable right to demonstrate how they feel with the current affairs.

Trump is not your traditional politician.

This “outsider” status attracted many of the electorate, his platform resonated with them. In the 2016 election, it appealed to many people to have someone who has not been a politician his entire life. The American people rejected the status-quo in favor of a man with no political experience. This metaphoric “draining of the swamp” comes with certain risks to the establishment as a whole.

The Democrats have shown their form of protest and the Republicans have also shown theirs. Democrats have decided to stand behind one of their leaders just as Republicans have decided to stand behind theirs. Perhaps before another staunch Republican such as Tomi Lahren gives out these satirical awards, a moment of self-reflection is necessary.

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