As protests go, the rally at the Trump Tower this week won’t be remembered alongside the On-to-Ottawa trek of 1935, though the two do have one thing in common: the trek happened 87 years ago; the Trump demonstration had 87 participants.
To call the protest underwhelming would be an insult to all else I’d previously considered underwhelming.
The Globe and Mail reported 300 at the demonstration, but I think the reporter was counting employees of the CBC in that number.
To be honest, like most of you, I truly believed hordes of British Columbians would arrive at the grand opening of the building Tuesday — most of them armed with anger and placards, some of them with children and effigies.
I imagined gridlock on a scale so epic commuters would abandon their cars and run to the nearest Mobi just to get to work.
The first hint I got that this was not how the rally was going to play out arrived via Twitter when Postmedia reporter Nick Eagland seemed to express unmitigated glee at having finally found someone — anyone — at the scene who was neither journalist nor cop.
I was updated on the event later in the day when a friend at the gym showed me pictures he took at the peak of the fuss. He too was astounded by the sparsity of the crowd. One of his photos showed a wall with messages on sticky notes. I zoomed in to read a few.
I don’t want to be critical of other people’s writing, but clearly Jon Donne was not the patron saint of this particular congregation.
At this point, even Pyrrhus would have given up.
I have never been to a protest as an actual protester. But I support a good protest. The problem here, on this day, was that the poor turnout may have had an effect opposite to the one intended.
No doubt, the Trump brand left our city with wind in its sails. They came and they cut without much at all in the way of interference. As a result, it’s likely the message received differed from the message the protesters intended to send.
Boots on the ground are only effective at critical mass. Otherwise, as was the case this week, motives are more easily mocked than admired.
If I may, allow me to list three thoughts on why so few people showed interest in this protest:
The weather. It sucked.
It’s a name. On a building. I, too, wish it wasn’t here. But it’s just a name. On a building.
Why go all the way downtown to protest a marquee when you can give a virtual finger to the man himself on Twitter?
The organizers of this protest, if there were actual organizers, will undoubtedly enjoy much greater success when they turn their full attention to Kinder Morgan.
There will be boots on the ground for that one, I tell you. That will be an “Us v. Them” for the ages.
Or, as the man in the White House likes to say: Big league.
CLICK HERE to report a typo.
Is there more to this story? We’d like to hear from you about this or any other stories you think we should know about. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.