Anti-Trump graffiti does nothing for movement

Olivia Griffin

In the three-block radius around the main section of the Drag on Guadalupe St., there are exactly 15 instances of “Fuck Trump” graffiti. 

One of the biggest complaints against the liberal, anti-Trump protesters is that they are immature and whiny. This graffiti reinforces that point. Other than an outlet for rage, the graffiti on the Drag accomplishes nothing. 

Who exactly are you trying to speak to? What exactly are you hoping to accomplish? Last time I checked, MLK didn’t accomplish civil rights reform by leaving vague, angry messages on vandalized property. Protests without a clear objective and goal aren’t protests — it’s just being whiny. 

Furthermore, graffiti on the Drag takes away from city resources that could be otherwise used to champion progressive causes. Our cops and government employees must waste their time responding to vandalism complaints. Some poor city employee has to drive to West Campus and spend hours painting over the graffiti. The graffiti leads nowhere except for a drain on government resources, energy and public funds. 

The “Fuck Trump” graffiti is not the first time students have turned to vandalism for political slacktivism — in April 2015, the words “Davis must fall” and “Emancipate UT” were spray-painted onto the infamous Jefferson Davis statue. Cleaning up the graffiti took university employees three hours and cost $225. At the end of the day, this graffiti was in no way responsible for removing the statue. Real activism among students and a bill passed through Student Government removed the statue. 

Another instance of slacktivism (vandalism) occurred this past February, when the words “Black Lives Matter” were sprayed in red paint across the statues of Albert Sidney Johnston, Robert E. Lee, John H. Reagan and James Stephen Hogg in the South Mall. Not only was that vandalism economically destructive, but it cast a negative light on the Black Lives Matter movement, which is striving to create a positive, organized and respectful image around the country. Vandalism in the name of Black Lives Matter only reinforces negative stereotypes that protesters are wild and irrational and sets the movement back rather than propelling it forward. 

Though amusing, the West Campus anti-Trump graffiti is expensive and stupid. Following up on what I wrote last week about the need for effective, persistent protests, political activists must be organized and have a clear goal in mind. Painting “Fuck Trump” all over the Drag is the furthest thing from that. 

If you want your voices heard, get involved in your government instead of bogging them down with pointless vandalism. Run for student government and propose initiatives that benefit causes you stand for. Write your elected representatives. Get involved in campaigns for the 2018 midterm elections. 

Just remember: If your protest is so sloppy and lazy that a drunk person or a caveman could do it, it’s probably not a very effective protest that will accomplish much. 

Griffin is a Plan II and government junior from Dallas. Follow her on Twitter @OGlikesdogs.