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The Case for Organized Resistance

Jan. 24, 2017
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Photo credit: Women's March on Washington Facebook Page

The massive turnout and passion of millions of women and men marching on Washington and marching in solidarity in their own communities throughout the country creates real hope among conscientious Americans that democracy is strong enough to survive even the potentially disastrous presidency of Donald Trump. The organized resistance already has brushed aside the nonsensical cliché that the patriotic duty of every American is to come together after hard-fought political battles and unite behind their president by joining hands and working together for the good of their country.

We saw something like that in a Coke commercial once where the whole world shared a refreshing soft drink. But that’s not the real world after a majority of Americans rejected a dangerous presidential demagogue by nearly 3 million votes because they considered him unfit for public office, and it bears absolutely no resemblance to the unpatriotic, racist reaction of the losing Republican Party after two overwhelming election victories by Barack Obama, the nation’s first African American president.

President Obama took office during the second-worst national economic disaster ever created by a Republican president. It was a time when all Americans desperately needed both parties to work together to help their country recover. Instead, Republican opposition slowed down and attempted to block every single Obama recovery effort on the reprehensible political theory that prolonging the economic misery of American workers would make it easier for Republicans to succeed him. Which, sad to say, worked.

But there’s absolutely no comparison between organizing resistance to Trump’s vicious un-American policies and the unpatriotic, anti-Obama Republican obstructionism eight years ago. In many ways, the two moments in American history are exact mirror opposites; it’s the difference between Republicans promoting bigotry and progressives battling it. Republican opposition to Obama as president was fed by the racist backlash of tea party Republicans who were shocked an African American president was elected in their lifetimes. Many of us didn’t expect Trump’s election either, but it stemmed from a positive view of American democracy, not a negative one.

Contrary to Trump’s dark, inaugural horror story of “American carnage” with “rusted out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape,” Obama already has mostly reversed the economic apocalypse he inherited from George W. Bush. When Obama assumed the presidency in January 2009, the monthly loss of 818,000 jobs was the height of the so-called Great Recession, and the unemployment rate was 7.8%.

Without Republicans lifting a finger to help, Obama left Trump one of the greatest economic recoveries in modern history. The U.S. created 156,000 jobs in December—the 75th straight month of job growth and the longest extended streak of employment growth since 1939—with an unemployment rate of 4.7%.

Fear Stoked by Trump’s ‘Alternative Facts’

With the recovery continuing, where’s all that “American carnage” coming from? It’s mostly fear stoked by Trump’s “alternative facts,” otherwise known as outright lies, that the economy’s still in free fall, murdering and raping immigrants are on the rampage and Obamacare is bankrupting America—when it’s actually providing 20 million Americans with previously unaffordable health care and cutting cost increases in half. Trump makes up continuing disasters to justify his inflammatory proposals to destroy America’s fundamental principle of equal treatment under the law regardless of race, religion or gender.

Then there’s this little inaugural declaration: “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this day forward, it’s going to be only America First! America First!” By that, of course, Trump meant white America. But “America First” also were code words. The America First Committee opposed U.S. entry into the war against Nazi Germany. In 1941, its spokesman, hero aviator Charles Lindbergh (who’d been honored by Adolf Hitler in Germany) gave a famous speech attacking Jews in control of the news media, radio and movie industries for promoting the war. Perhaps Trump’s neo-Nazi supporters have created a drinking game where they drink a shot every time their American president verbally returns their stiff-arm salutes in public.

It makes sense that women led the passionate demonstrations over the weekend to uphold American values. They’re under immediate threat of a U.S. Supreme Court reshaped by Trump to eliminate their constitutional right to make their own health care decisions regarding childbirth and, who knows with extremists, possibly even access to contraception.

The majority of men and women, Democrat and Republican, believe in America’s fundamental constitutional values. The shock of Trump has them joining the resistance now to fight for America over the next four years. The next vote will be the 2018 midterm elections—the first, positive opportunity for our democracy to restore rational checks and balances to our government.

Who knows? In four years, working people might even have an opportunity to elect a real populist president instead of a pretend populist billionaire whose Cabinet of fellow billionaires never met a working man or woman they didn’t try to exploit.


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