The Trump resistance movement is stretching its wings, engaging its muscles and feeling its power. It is large and strong and tough. It has moved past debilitating grief and into righteous anger, assiduous organization and pressing activism.
Welcome to the dawn of the fighting-mad majority: The ones who didn’t vote for Trump and maybe even some who now regret that they did.
They are charging forward under the banner of sage wisdom that has endured through the ages: Show up, get loud and fight back. Do it with your body and words, with your time and money, with every fiber of yourself. They see what this dawning regime means and they don’t intend, not even for a second, to wait around to see what happens. “What happens” is happening right now and it’s horrific.
Donald Trump is a vulgar, uninformed, anti-intellectual, extremely unpopular grifter helming a family of grifters who apparently intend to milk their moment on the mount for every red cent.
Trump still hasn’t released his taxes or fully disconnected from his businesses. His wife is suing The Daily Mail because she believes the newspaper may have injured her “unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to “have garnered multimillion-dollar business relationships for a multiyear term.” When his daughter Ivanka’s clothing line was dropped by Nordstrom, Trump lashed out at the retailer on Twitter, citing Ivanka as something of his moral compass: “My daughter Ivanka has been treated so unfairly by @Nordstrom. She is a great person — always pushing me to do the right thing! Terrible!” This begs the question: “Why do you need someone to push you to do the right thing?”
Then, top Trump adviser Kellyanne “QVC” Conway, from the confines of the White House briefing room, said during a televised interview: “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff is what I would say.” She continued: “I’m going to give a free commercial here: Go buy it today, everybody; you can find it online.”
Trump’s Muslim ban has also been an absolute disaster and has met some much-applauded resistance in court, most recently with the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit rebuking the administration’s lawyers like children.
This administration is already manifesting as the disaster we knew it would be; the stench of its rot surrounds us. What is there to wait and see? A rose will never bloom from a weed; you must snatch that thing up at first sight, by the root.
That is why you are seeing so much grass-roots resistance from a multiplying array of groups. One of the most prominent is called “Indivisible.” The Nation interviewed Ezra Levin, a former Democratic staffer and co-founder of the project and reported on the exchange: “Levin says that Indivisible built on the Tea Party’s model of ‘practicing locally-focused, almost entirely defensive strategy.’ This, he adds, ‘was very smart, and it was rooted in an understanding of how American democracy works. They understood that they didn’t have the power to set the agenda in Washington, but they did have the ability to react to it. It’s Civics 101 stuff — going to local offices, attending events, calling their reps.”
I would add that these groups are practicing one of the most effective tactics of confronting power: disruption. Town hall meetings have been disrupted; protesters disrupted Education Secretary Betsy Devos’s plans to enter a Washington school.
When Frederick Douglass attacked Abraham Lincoln by saying that he “seems to possess an ever increasing passion for making himself appear silly and ridiculous, if nothing worse,” Douglass was being disruptive.
When women suffragists paraded through Washington, they were being disruptive.
When Rosa Parks refused to surrender her seat, she was being disruptive.
When civil rights activists marched across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, they were being disruptive.
When LGBT people fought back at The Stonewall Inn, they were being disruptive.
When Act Up flooded Times Square, they were being disruptive.
When Occupy Wall Street refused to move from their parks, they were being disruptive.
When Black Lives Matter took to the streets and ground traffic to a halt, they were being disruptive.
When Native Americans stood in resistance at Standing Rock, they were being disruptive.
When Elizabeth Warren persisted, she was being disruptive.
Disruption is not a dirty word; in this environment, it’s a badge of honor.
Yes, it’s important to show up on Election Day, but it is also important to show up on the hundreds of days before and after. This is what the resistance movements are saying to Trump and his America: Buckle your seatbelts, because massive disruption is in the offing.
Trump is not normal. He is not competent. And we will not simply sit back and suck it up.