Resistance Without Sacrifice Won’t Stop Anything

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San Francisco, United States © Jason Doiy

It will take mobilization to make acts of civil disobedience and economic boycotts routine forces of resistance.

There were way too many people watching Donald Trump get inaugurated. His speech was great. And the Cabinet is the best in American history. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to substance. Have you ever seen so many pink hats in one place at one time? It looked like every inch of pink yarn in the universe was on display a week ago. I was so proud of that. Never before in history has there been so much yarn of one color on display on the same day in the same universe. Incredible.

So on one side of the great divide we have Trump and his merry brigade of liars, distorters and just plain lunatics running the show, while a huge army of women in pink hats roam the globe in opposition. Where is America headed with this? It is really hard to say.

Each day brings new doubts about the viability of the new order. Trump is the messenger, and he controls the message. But what is he really doing besides messaging? And, more importantly, what are the women in pink hats ready to do about it beyond a big protest march? It is really hard to say.

After the presidential press secretary flat out lied to the press corps and the new administration’s chief corrector of the record invented “alternative facts” as an explanation for the press secretary’s lies, the press corps couldn’t wait to treat the press secretary like a real press secretary. In no time flat, they were ready to believe the guy who had flat out lied to them in his official capacity. As for the chief corrector of the record, she is sure to lie to the press in the days ahead. We have entered the age of official tag team lying.

Protest and protocol will not work to confront Trump and his acolytes. They have mastered the art of controlling the message without principle but never without purpose. They will sell “alternative facts” without consequence until the press truly is willing to put their rank and ratings at risk for the sake of the truth. Likewise, hugs, kisses, pride and pink hats will amount to little more than a historical footnote if it does not result in tangible and cohesive resistance to the reality that matters most—the right-wing in America is in control of the political machinery of the nation, with an unprincipled and ignorant narcissist at the helm.

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The Trump agenda, as it unfolds, must produce more than waves of nausea among Americans of conscience. To stop the right-wingers from turning back the clock on human rights, on assistance to the impoverished, on access to health care and a decent public education, and many other core issues will require a whole lot of pink hats gumming up the halls of Congress and hanging out in Trump’s towers and hotels, and a whole lot of the rest of us ready to put something of our own on the line.

It will surely require targeted action in the streets where politically vulnerable congressmen and senators live, and in the communities that voted to send them to Congress in the first place. To be effective, it will have to be ugly and consistent. Think cockroaches with a conscience and you get the idea.

And it will take a lot more. It will take those who are about to lose a lot mobilizing to make acts of civil disobedience and economic boycotts routine forces of resistance. Inner city minorities awash in economic exploitation and gun violence have to organize or they will be run to the ground. Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security recipients must bring Congress to a halt delivering the message that these programs are not privileges to be granted or denied; they are part of the social contract. Kids in schools that don’t work have to stay home and march with their parents to try to make those in the schools of the privileged uncomfortable enough to join their cause.

And it will take one more critical change for many of us who have talked about resistance and even done some good deeds on occasion at some personal cost. We are the privileged who have voted against Trump and marched with pink hats and truly wish for a kinder and gentler world. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us in 1963 who we must become today: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. The true neighbor will risk his position, his prestige, and even his life for the welfare of others.”

How much of this risk will actually be taken and by how many? It is really hard to say.

Or will those of conscience simply watch over a latte or a craft brew as walls get built, torture again darkens the nation’s soul, gun silencers are added to the citizen arsenal, immigrants are locked up, and the poor, the sick and the undereducated fall deeper into the societal abyss? It is really hard to say.

We have witnessed the coronation of purposeful ignorance by collective ignorance. For my part, it is really hard to say “Donald Trump” and “president” in the same sentence without understanding how low America has sunk, how far we have to go, and how strong the resistance must be to overcome what this nation has done to itself and the rest of the world.

*[A version of this article was also featured on Larry Beck’s blog, Hard Left Turn.]

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.

Photo Credit: Jason Doiy

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