Make Protest Signs Great Again!

photo by A. MartinelliLike many of you, I have attended a few protests in the last month in preparation for the Women’s March in D.C. I have little prior history of activism because my twenties were spent in the Clinton years and there just wasn’t much to protest—what with all that stability. Despite my novice, I was accused of being a professional activist at the last demonstration. As flattering as that was, I assure you that my revulsion for Donald Trump comes completely free of charge! In fact, the public’s overwhelming distain for Trump means activism along 5th Avenue approaching Trump Tower is the new reality in midtown over the next 4 years. The barricades are in place and anti-government speech should be protected and orderly in DeBlasio’s town. They’re ready for us. All we need is a movement.

The search for an effective response to Trumpism has been frustrating thus far. I’ve been disappointed by recent rallies. A women’s strike on a Monday during the holidays was of course not well attended. I was confused that the loudest voices were singing out-dated chants rather than focusing directly on the politics of today. I nearly left. Then I saw a great sign stating—Make Protest Great Again. In that moment, I realized resistance to Trump has yet to be defined and attending this rally was my opportunity to define it. This will be a 4 year evolution not a 1 day revolution.

Though resistance to Trump lacks organization, progress is underway. The movement already has at least one guide called Indivisible, that gleans insight from Tea Party tactics. The movement also has the near unanimous support (minus Ted Nugent and Kid Rock) of all of our country’s creative and intellectual capital, a.k.a. the culture makers! For that reason, I believe anti-Trumpism will coalesce into an effective culture that undermines unchecked power and ultimately removes Trump from office.

To that end branding will be as instrumental to the resistance of Trump as it was to electing him the first place. Why? Because Trump’s support did not exclusively come from deplorables. Some, let’s call them redeemables, were Obama voters and simultaneously attracted to the reality show personality, but may now have Trumpgrets. In fact, there is a Facebook group for those disillusioned by broken promises. I Regret Voting For Donald Trump in 2016 has members penning pieces entitled I Voted for Donald Trump and I Already Regret It. The Trump brand, not unlike a cult or a drug, made Americans of a conservative stripe temporarily feel good about themselves, but now some are slowly coming down from their high and realizing who they’ve hurt. In the battle for hearts and minds—and even heartless minds and mindless hearts—branding matters. Successful political protest has always hinged on branding whether it was Abby Hoffman throwing money on the floor of the NY Stock Exchange or Tea Partiers sending Congress Tea Bags. This time the brand must be every bit as transformative, consumable and potent as Trump’s messaging because the stakes are too high. We need to feel good about anti-Trumpism.

Until anti-Trumpism finds its feel-good strategy, we must Make Protest Great Again. Attending a rally is your opportunity to define the movement and the messaging through a “yuge” protest sign. All you need is a slogan that resonates and inspires others to join. After all, one sign got me to stay. With that in mind, I came up with a few for you to deploy at your next demonstration and I’d love to hear yours. Share your slogans by tweeting them @momtropolis #SpasiboTrump (It’s Russian for Thanks Trump).

1. If You Give a Mouse a Demagogue… She Might Need a Protest to Go with It.

2. I Resist Trump Completely Free of Charge!

3. #CorruptTrump #LockHimUp (No Really)

4. Trump to Seek Safe Space from Bad Restaurant Reviews and Free Speech. News at 11.

5. GOP – I See Your True Colors and They’re Russian Red! #DemocracyRIP

6. Dear Red States, Thanks for the tax cuts! Love, The Blue States

7. Why are we still compromising with Slave States?! – End the Electoral College!

8. Fear Precedes Fascism #DemocracyRIP

9. No Taxation Without Representation #2.86MillionVotes

10. Build the Firewall! #RealManchurianCandidate

11. Troll in Chief

12. Can’t take him seriously. Can’t take him literally. Just the President figuratively? #RealManchurianCandidate

13. Flush the GOPee down the Toilet with Trump! #DemocracyRIP

14. Don’t ask us to be tolerant of intolerance! #TheRockettes

15. My Vision is 2020!

16. Mar-a-Lago? Melanija? Ivanka? Speak English Trump.

17. Dinner on New Year’s Eve at Mar-a-Lago $500,

       A One Bedroom Jr. suite at Trump Int’l Hotel $650,

       Coffee with Ivanka $60,000,

       Pay to Play – Priceless!

18. 2 White Supremacists, 3 Generals, and an Oil Executive with ties to Putin walk into the Oval Office – It’s funnier in Russian.

Looking for more signs? Signs of Spring are here.

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