BY JEANETTE LENOIR
This April Fool’s Day hundreds gathered in the streets of New York City to protest the President’s attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act with help from Republicans now in control of the House and Senate.
The jokes and hoaxes usually designated for this day have taken a serious tone that reflects the mood of the country under this new administration. Anna Theofilopoulou immigrated to the U.S. from Greece in 1976 and is an active member of the Village Independent Democrats. Braving the cold weather to lend her voice to this cause, she said, “We’re concentrating on all kinds of issues. One of the key ones, since the healthcare one is on hold right now, is the environment, which seems to be the next danger, we decided that we are going to do a petition drive and we will deliver them to Senator Schumer.” By her side was her fellow VID member, Elizabeth Mann who says she was traumatized by the presidential election and the events that have unfolded since the inauguration of President Trump. “I feel like I can’t do nothing at this point. I feel like we are on a very bad path in this country and anything that I can do to shift politicians, to shift elections, I’m going to do,” she said. Mann says she remains active to counter the despair she feels since Trump won the election.
Theofilopoulou says simply waking up in the morning and making her way around the city and talking to people makes her feel desperate. “It’s such a prevailing feeling after the election. I mean, it was a state of disbelief in the beginning, but it did happen. And, it’s meeting our worst expectations. As far as I’m concerned, it cannot get worse than it has gone. And I sincerely believe that there is so much to come out of the Russian connection…it’s a matter of time.”
Standing at the Grove stop of the Path station in Jersey City, NJ Rob Trucker with the Northern New Jersey Democratic Socialists of America raised the issue his group came out to protest; the minimum wage hike. Speaking in front of a crowd of roughly 20 to 30 people he said, “In a time of unprecedented income inequality and unprecedented corporate profits, the bare minimum that we should be demanding is $15 an hour for our low wage everyday workers. We have to come together to fight the managerial and corporate class and fight for our union and fight on behalf of our own interests.” He urged people from different backgrounds, affiliations and orientation to form a union to combat corporate greed.
From town hall meetings, the Women’s March in DC, protests at member offices and the streets of America, people are not taking lightly the changes shaping a divided country under this new president. And the Republican agenda to overturn Obama era policies that impact healthcare, the environment and even law enforcement is not going to be taken calmly as these on-going cries seem to suggest. Mann says even Schumer, “has developed much more of a spine than he had 3 or 4 months ago,” in his role to combat Trump and the republican agenda. As we near the 100 day mark of Trump’s presidency, Americans of all walks of life remain determined and perhaps hopeful that something will give way and force arguably the most hated man in the world out of the White House. In the meantime, the people will protest and gather to voice their opinions and demand that they be heard. After all, isn’t that how Democracy works?