There are many ways that Americans are choosing to resist the potential excesses and dangers of the impending Trump regime, among them organizing protests, trying to hold our current officials accountable, contributing time and money to various organizations that will work to protect those most vulnerable among us, tracking and working to prevent hate crimes, even exhorting the press to steel its spine for the days ahead. These, like what I am about to suggest, are all necessary, but not sufficient. But, thinking over the longer term, If we want our democracy to reflect the values of the majority of Americans while protecting those in the minority, there’s one issue that we should take up with fundamental fervor: the inviolable right and obligation to vote, and the principle every vote should count equally.
In previous posts, I’ve argued that Donald Trump cannot be trusted. Now let’s turn to the other straw at which optimists have been grasping, that institutions and professional hands will ensure that the Trump administration will keep to past norms of governance. Let us not be fooled.
In my previous post, I argued that we should not be lulled by false hopes based upon the pivot from candidate Trump to president Trump. But, one might say, maybe Trump’s 40-year pattern of misbehavior won’t be translated into policy. However, even the earliest indications, both from his camp and from his congressional enablers, indicate that those views, predilections, and behavioral deficiencies will in fact guide Trump’s policies in ways that will cause grievous harm to people, to institutions, and to the environment.
As part of this continuing series, it’s important to take a step back and establish why mobilization of a new kind and on a new scale is necessary. Maybe, we’d like to hope, Donald Trump will not be the disaster some observers fear. We might be tempted to think that Donald Trump’s excesses on the campaign trail were simply “politics,” as Chris Christie has already said about Trump’s oft-made promise to appoint a special prosecutor to look further into Hillary Clinton’s emails. We might be lulled by Trump’s gracious acceptance speech, or his cordial meeting with Barack Obama in the White House. We should not be so fooled.
Over the past couple of days, we’ve already seen a lot of protests and demonstrations.
The ones that are getting the most attention are those in Los Angeles and Portland, big coastal cities where the violence has been most intense. There have been many, many other, more peaceful protests, more fearful and contemplative, like the one at my university yesterday. These demonstrations should continue. They are a necessary, but, we must emphasize, not a sufficient condition for resistance to the impending regime, because, in and of themselves, such actions do not bring the required leverage.