To care is to do something about the problem.
The Short Version
Over 65 million Americans did not vote for the person who is now the 45th president. They don’t like him. They disagree strongly with his rhetoric and proposed policies. So, millions of them are marching today in protest. We applaud and support those protests happening around the world. Yet, protesting is never enough. If we want to truly resist the new administration, we must take actions on a continual basis that reach not only through the halls of Congress, but to Wall Street and throughout corporate America as well. We cannot be silent and expect anything to change. If one truly cares about resisting, then one needs to take action.
Let’s Start With What Was Missed
I saw a lot of people out yesterday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. I would know because I was one of them. I didn’t want to even be near a computer or a television or anything else that would remind me of the horrible act that was taking place in our nation’s capital. A fascist and would-be tyrant was sworn in as the 45th president of the United States. As with any inauguration, the event was more spectacle than actual substance. Yet, that was enough to distract our attention.
Hardly anyone noticed that there was yet another school shooting yesterday. A 17-year-old student walked into West Liberty High School in West Liberty, Ohio, with a loaded shotgun and opened fire. The scene could have been horrible, but it wasn’t. The teen wasn’t actually aiming directly at anyone. One student was wounded, but staff and teachers responded quickly and had the shooter on the ground and restrained by the time police arrived. He’ll face a charge of felonious assault. The wounded child will recover.
Who cares? Five years ago, that event would have been enough to pre-empt just about anything else on television. At the very least, it would have been inserted into the constant news coverage every few minutes. It wasn’t. Not all that long ago, a school shooting would have been on the front page of every newspaper in the country. This morning, however, it’s not even mentioned on the website of the Columbus Dispatch. It’s not there. There’s no statement from Ohio Governor John Kasich. Nothing.
How high does the body count have to be in a school shooting before anyone cares?
Other Things You Might Have Missed
The inauguration is a big deal, I’ll give you that. “The peaceful exchange of power,” stands starkly against the ongoing situation in Gambia where defeated president Jammeh is being reluctant to step down. Neighboring countries were ready to invade over that one. So yes, the fact that we change from one president to another without having a serious power struggle is rather impressive and something to be celebrated. Yet, do we dare exclude everything else going on while we do?
Here are just a few headlines that are being under-reported this morning:
It is naive to think that none of those things matter in the wake of the dangers the new president presents. These are the dangers the new president presents. His new policies threaten everything from education and emergency management response to terrorism and international aid. We live in a world where not only what one does matters, but what one doesn’t do as well. Why are there women marching in protest in other countries than our own? Because they are just as concerned as we are as to what could possibly happen.
A Global Perspective
Being a global power means that what we do as a country affects much more than our own population. The decisions being made in Washington affect billions of lives outside our own borders and every last one of this lives is just as important as your own. The Associated Press took a look at some international reactions to the inauguration speech and this is what they found:
- People in Afghanistan are concerned we might leave them stranded, allowing the Taliban and other terrorists to take over the country again.
- Mexicans found the speech “hyper-protectionist” and worry about the future of American investment in their country.
- In Pakistan, clerics are deeply troubled by the president’s promise to eradicate Islamic terrorism, fearing peaceful Muslims could become targets.
- Japanese people are worried that the president’s decision to exit the Trans-Pacific Trade Partnership will negatively affect the economies of all other participating countries.
- State-run papers in China are worried that trade issues with the US are inevitable given the president’s rhetoric.
- South Korea is worried that the US might not help in fighting back North Korean aggression on their soil.
- Indians are worried about immigration prospect and ties with US-based technology firms.
- Vietnamese people were concerned about the degree of self-focus and protectionism.
- Australians found the speech divisive and fear this is the new “normal” for the US president.
What I fear we fail to understand is that any one of those international concerns has the potential to create a global crisis. The global economy is shaky with many nations sitting on the brink of bankruptcy and/or default. The crash of banks in even the smallest country would create a ripple effect that brings down the entire economic house of cards upon everyone. There is no immunity. To allow terrorism to go unchecked in Afghanistan leaves us vulnerable to another attack the size of 9/11 or larger, The US is a target where you and I are more in danger than is the president.
Through every major area of concern: education, energy, technology, science, medicine, trade, banking, poverty, business development, human rights, and defense, we must not only consider how we handle those matters domestically, but internationally. We cannot simply back out of long-term agreements and programs and expect that there not be dire consequences for everyone involved.
The Power Of Fear
For the past eight years, many conservatives, especially those extremists, bigoted, homophobic, xenophobic, hate-filled people known as the Tea Party, have been afraid that President Obama was going to take their guns, install Sharia law, ship all their jobs overseas, declare martial law, and make Islam the national religion. Of course, none of that even came close to happening. There wasn’t a piece of legislation ever drafted nor an executive order ever written that proposed anything of the kind. Yet, because the power of their fear was so overwhelming, these people for whom logic fails to exist were able to not only overtake the Republican party, but elect a 70-year-old self-serving narcissist as president. When one looks at what they accomplished, one has to admit that the power of fear is pretty strong and extremely effective.
Now, those of us who are more liberal and forward in out thoughts are experiencing some fears of our own. What rights might we loose? What will happen to women’s health and a woman’s right to make choices for herself? What happens to healthcare for anyone who isn’t already a millionaire? What happens to marriage equality and the rights of LGBTQ people? What happens to renewable energy sources and reducing our dependency on fossil fuels? What happens to air quality? How do we respond to global warming? Will all our children be educated?
We probably have many more legitimate reasons to be afraid, but the challenge before us is whether we are able to harness the power of that fear or allow it to keep us silent. For most of our lives, we’ve been told to work within the system, that if we’ll just get out the vote and make sure people are informed that they’ll do the right thing. We tried that and we lost the election despite having a significant number more votes.
We can no longer count on anyone to “do the right thing.” T hat’s not saying no one will, but we simply cannot rely upon the good conscience of the American people to keep us out of harm’s way. If we are going to avoid the outcomes we fear, we are going to have to take stronger, more decisive, and more inflammatory action than we ever have. We cannot continue to depend upon the same tactics and actions of the past. We have to do more and find new ways of doing them.
Do You Really Care
As I type this, over 200,000 women have descended upon Washington, D.C. to march in opposition to the new president’s policies. In cities around the world, millions more join them. The size of the protest is unprecedented. Yet, as much as I support them and applaud their efforts, I know that one march doesn’t change anything. If people go back to work on Monday morning and resume the same lives and level of activities as they’ve had before, our fears could very easily turn into reality.
We don’t have to accept this. We don’t have to let this happen. We don’t have to play by the rules because the person sitting in the oval office didn’t get there by playing by the rules and we can be sure he will continue to disregard them. As we saw in November, if we play by the rules against someone who cheats, we lose. We now have as president someone who has cheated the rules his entire life. To think for one second that he’s going to change his tactics now is pure folly. We can’t let this happen.
We don’t have to accept that a Republican-dominated Congress is going to do the president’s bidding.
We don’t have to accept that the Affordable Care Act is going to be repealed.
We don’t have to accept that the Department of Education is going to institutionalize segregation through voucher programs and charter schools.
We don’t have to accept drilling for oil on public lands.
We don’t have to accept young people having to work three and four jobs just to make ends meet.
We don’t have to accept having the highest maternal mortality rate in the industrialized world.
We don’t have to accept a complete disregard for ethics laws.
We don’t have to accept LGBTQ families living in fear.
We don’t have to accept the lies.
If we really care, and I mean from the bottom of our souls with a passion that burns as hot as we feel for our partners, then we can do more than resist. We can stop this wayward thinking, misaligned, out-of-touch Congress and administration from going through with their plans. We can stop the whole thing right in its tracks.
But you have to care.
A Little More Action, Please
The success of the Tea Party was not political as much as it was organizational. A few people made a lot of noise and that noise resulted in a lot of power. I fully believe, as a progressive feminist liberal, that there are more of us than there are of them. We just have to get off our asses and work as hard outside the system as well as we do on the inside.
There’s a wonderful guide assembled by former congressional aides called The Indivisible Guide. If you REALLY care, you’ll click the link and download that PDF document. And yes, I’ll know and I WILL be watching. I want to see some major downloads of that thing. These aides have studied what happened in Congress over the past eight years and turned that into a plan for resisting the agenda of the new administration. I stayed up late reading through it last night. Their strategy and logic is sound. I won’t bother repeating it all here. Just download the damn document and read it. Have friends read it. Print it out and pass it around if you need to.
Another thing we need to do is set aside any notion of tolerance. We cannot tolerate racism. We cannot tolerate bigotry. We cannot tolerate homophobia. We cannot tolerate xenophobia. Hate is not an opinion. Hate is an attitude. We can tolerate opinions, but there’s no reason to tolerate an attitude. I don’t take attitude from our children and I damn sure won’t take it from an adult. There is no tolerance for hate. Just drop the word altogether. We are not tolerant.
Neither can we afford to be patient. We have to act now, we have to act tomorrow, and we cannot simply wait until the next round of elections and then suddenly expect that we’re going to change anything. I’m sure you’ve heard people say, “Just give him a chance and see what happens.” Funny, the people saying that sure as hell didn’t give President Obama a chance, did they? The Tea Party started right in on the first day of his presidency vowing to fight him every step of the way and for eight solid years, that is exactly what they did. We have to not only match that effort, we have to surpass it. There is no patience, especially for a narcissistic fascist.
There should never be a day pass but what your elected officials are aware of your opinions on every issue you care about. Use some common sense. Don’t put everything in the same message and expect it to be read. One subject per message, but multiple messages a day. Keep it up. Don’t back off anything and should you be fortunate enough to encounter one of your members of Congress in person, be ready with a seven-second elevator pitch to let them know how you feel.
Accumulate others of like mind and encourage them to act as well. We know we are not alone, but too often we behave as though we’re alone. Stop it. Organize, even you can only find two or three other people. Get together. Act together. Resist together.
We don’t have to accept a damn thing. We shouldn’t accept a damn thing. The 45th president of the United States was not elected by the majority, but through a manipulation of the system. We must resist. We must object. We must blockade. We must stand. We must fight.
Resistance Begins At Home
One of the tactics the new president likes to use is how his tweets affect the stock market. He says he doesn’t like a company and their stocks drop dramatically. He’s a bully.
That trick works both ways, though. Again, there are more of us than there are of him. We have more purchasing power and can affect the markets and the economy in must stronger ways. When a corporation cozies up to or supports his policies, we have to hold that corporation responsible. We boycott their products if we can. We protest outside their offices. We harass and press upon their board members. We upset their day-to-day business. We have to let them know that there is a steep cost to be paid for supporting this president in any way, shape, or form.
For example, do you know who paid for the inauguration? Boeing, Chevron, Verizon, Coca-Cola, and AT&T. Now, in the interest of full disclosure, most of those companies helped fund the 2013 inauguration as well. However, the amount raised for this inauguration was more than the cost of the last two inaugurations combined. The companies need to be held accountable to the public, which means you and I have to stop supporting them.
Likewise, the pale blue Ralph Lauren suit worn by the first lady was beautiful, but if Lauren supports the president then we have to send a message not only to him but to every other designer who might consider working with the first family. We cannot even indirectly support his policies in even the smallest way.
Resistance means taking back control. Control of our local governments, our state governments, and our federal governments. Indiana voters need to stop and consider how that it was our governor, the man who is now vice president, who provided party legitimacy to the buffoon in the oval office. Had we eliminated him and not let him become governor, the outcome would have likely been much different. Because we did not pay attention to local and state-wide politics, Pence happened.
This Is Only The Beginning
I feel certain that the new administration thinks all the noise will begin to die down come Monday. Once the Republicans stop partying, surely we’ll no longer feel like crashing it.
If you really care about the issues you say you care about, if they really are important to you, your life, your friends’ lives, your families’ lives, you’ll prove the president wrong. Resist.
Contact a member of Congress today. Introduce yourself. Let them know you’re holding them responsible for everything Congress does and doesn’t do. Then, continue resisting from there.