A woman holds a sign during a protest against president-elect Donald Trump at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, California, U.S. Nove. 13, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Beck Diefenbach)
With sincere apologies to William Shakespeare for messing with his words, but "me thinks they doth protest too late."
And with all due respect to all those, all over the U.S., who are exercising their First Amendment rights and protesting Donald Trump's presidency, let me say this:
This is what happens when your "principles" get the better of you, when they get in the way, when they drown out that little voice inside your head begging you to think rationally, when they impair your judgement, when they replace common sense.
This is what happens when "idealism" blocks you from seeing or caring about what the real risks are.
This is what happens when you think you're making a point by sitting out an election instead of casting your vote.
This is what happens when you stubbornly vote for a third party candidate -- but your country has a two-party system.
This is what happens when you spitefully write in your preferred candidate's name on the ballot (even though he lost the primary), or when your write in your favourite aunt's name or your pet puppy's.
This is what happens.
You don't win. You lose. And you lose big.
This is what happens.
Don't get me wrong. I'm all for protests. I participated in a few myself in my youth. More to the point, I'm all for peaceful protests, which most of these have been, at least so far. They should all be peaceful, but that's another story for another day.
But protests are not a replacement for speaking up when and where it truly counts, when it can make a positive impact, when it can help determine an outcome. When you make sure your voice is heard at the voting booth.
Protesting is what you do later, once the party's in power, when your elected officials don't do their jobs, when they make mistakes, when they don't deliver on their campaign promises, when they ignore you and your concerns and issues, when they let you down.
Protests are not a replacement for speaking up when and where it truly counts.
I have to tell you, the fact that there weren't any protests for the eight years Barack Obama was in office really shocked and surprised me. I said over and over again to my friends, and anyone else who was around, that I didn't understand why the American people were putting up with it. Why they let Congress get away with their obstructionist ways.
That's when we needed protests and marches on Washington. Now, when it won't change a thing, not so much.
Life sucks sometimes.
You don't always get the perfect candidate. You don't always get the candidate you want. No one can deny that Hillary Clinton is flawed. No one can deny that establishment politicians have not listened to their voters, have ignored all the signs that have been pointing to this repudiation of the status quo for a long time. No one can deny that dramatic change is needed.
However, this particular fiasco could have been avoided.
And by the way, before we Canadians become too sanctimonious, our voter turnout (prior to our most recent federal election) has also left a lot to be desired.
So what just happened south of the border this past November 8 should be a reminder, and lesson, to all of us, of exactly what's at stake and what can happen when we think we're making a powerful statement by electing not to vote. When we think our absence at the polls will punish the politicians.
Well, think again my friends.
We punish ourselves.
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