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Keep Resisting, Milwaukee: It's the Only Way to Preserve our Democracy

Jan. 31, 2017
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Photo credit: Geoff Livingston (Flickr)

Donald Trump isn’t a normal president. Instead of acting as the mature statesman in charge of the greatest democracy on earth, in less than two weeks in office he’s shown that he thrives on chaos and is petty to the point of being childish. Unfortunately, however, he is president and his words and actions can and do have a major impact on the world.

That’s why we’re so heartened by the Trump resistance movement that’s been sparked in Milwaukee, throughout the country and across the world including close international allies, such as Great Britain. In Milwaukee, the resisters in the streets have protested his inauguration, supported women’s rights and all human rights and stood up for immigrants and refugees. Peaceful protests in whatever form that they take are important and now they are more important than ever. Despite his bravado, those who know Donald Trump know that he is a very insecure man who strongly desires adulation and approval. He wouldn’t have spent days fighting to defend the crowd size at his inauguration if he didn’t have a pathological need for approval. So demonstrations matter.

But resistance doesn’t always happen in the streets and, in fact, opposition to Trump will need to come in many forms. For example, Milwaukee county supervisors are weighing a policy that opposes all forms of discrimination of vulnerable residents—including immigrants, the LGBT+ community, women and African Americans. Policy measures like this do not pass unless there is strong visible and vocal support. Also, in contrast to Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke’s inflammatory rhetoric, Milwaukee Police Chief Ed Flynn did the honorable thing and reassured immigrants in our community, because he understands that demonizing some Milwaukeeans based on their skin color, religion, national origin or immigration status is not going to make Milwaukee safer. We need to support public officials when they have the courage to stand up for what is right.

Our elected officials have also shown they’re willing to resist Trump’s worst ideas. Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin opposes some of Trump’s Cabinet nominees, like school privatizer Betsy DeVos for Education secretary, ethically questionable Congressman Tom Price for Health and Human Services secretary, and bigoted Jeff Sessions for attorney general. Baldwin and fellow Wisconsin Democrats Gwen Moore, Mark Pocan and Ron Kind decry Trump’s un-American, unconstitutional Muslim ban. Unfortunately, Republican Sen. Ron Johnson said Trump’s Muslim ban is a “pretty reasonable proposal,” and Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Wisconsin Congressmen Jim Sensenbrenner, Glenn Grothman and Sean Duffy also support Trump’s deplorable, dangerous bigotry.

Many are saddened, angry or worried about what they see in a Trump administration that will say and do some very dangerous and destructive things that will have long-term effects not only on America but the entire world in order to appeal to the extreme right. If these are your sentiments, you should also see this as an opportunity. Americans need to get back into the game. Democracy requires some work and participation. We have, for example, a disgracefully low voter turnout rate. Right now, we have an awakened and engaged citizenry. We need to build that into a strong democratic movement to reclaim our country and again make it the country we were taught it is when we were in grade school.

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