Non-Violent Extremism

I am reading a fine book called This Is An Uprising: How Non-violent Revolt is Shaping the 21st Century, by Mark Engler and Paul Engler. Mark Engler will speak in Flagstaff next week. Reading the book reminded me of a Facebook Note that I had written on Martin Luther King Day in 2011 — before I was using this blog. Here’s what I said then:

“When one lives through history, perhaps you tend to be less curious about it. Or I least I have been. Also, there really isn’t historical perspective for at least some decades after events. At least in the first 20 years or so, I’d class whatever we say about current events as political commentary.We’ve now reached the point where there is some good historical perspective on Martin Luther King.

In recent years, there have probably been several good books about Martin Luther King’s life. The one that most grabbed me was: To the Mountaintop: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Sacred Mission to Save America 1955-1968. The book reveals that King’s inspiration for embracing the “extremism” label his critics had given him was a woman, Lillian Smith, who bemoaned moderation as “the slogan of our times,” and a dangerous myth that was no longer affordable in the conditions of fifty years ago. (Mountaintop, p. 183.)  I think that is true again, where the slogan of our times has become “civil discourse.” Civility by those who are right cannot prevent injustice and immorality by those who are wrong. Non-violent extremism must be embraced to save our country.”

At the time, in 2011, I was thinking primarily of the drive for equal marriage rights. That battle seems to have been won. Nonetheless, the thoughts apply today. This Is An Uprising quotes briefly from Dr. King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail. This letter, one of his most inspiring pieces, was  written in 1963 in response to local ministers, so-called liberals who complained his appearance in their community was “unwise and untimely.” Here’s some of what King wrote:

“I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms….I, along with several members of my staff, am here because I was invited here I am here because I have organizational ties here. …But more basically, I am in Birmingham because injustice is here.

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. Never again can we afford to live with the narrow, provincial “outside agitator” idea. Anyone who lives inside the United States can never be considered an outsider anywhere within its bounds.

“You deplore the demonstrations taking place in Birmingham. But your statement, I am sorry to say, fails to express a similar concern for the conditions that brought about the demonstrations. I am sure that none of you would want to rest content with the superficial kind of social analysis that deals merely with effects and does not grapple with underlying causes.

“You may well ask: “Why direct action? Why sit-ins, marches and so forth? Isn’t negotiation a better path?” You are quite right in calling, for negotiation. Indeed, this is the very purpose of direct action. Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word “tension.” I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise….

“Frankly, I have yet to engage in a direct-action campaign that was “well timed” in the view of those who have not suffered unduly from the disease of segregation. For years now I have heard the word “Wait!” It rings in the ear of every Negro with piercing familiarity. This “Wait” has almost always meant “Never.” We must come to see, with one of our distinguished jurists, that “justice too long delayed is justice denied.”

“But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick and even kill your black brothers and sisters; when you see the vast majority of your twenty million Negro brothers smothering in an airtight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your six-year-old daughter why she can’t go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see ominous clouds of inferiority beginning to form in her little mental sky, and see her beginning to distort her personality by developing an unconscious bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a five-year-old son who is asking: “Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?”….. Then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait. There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.

“I must make two honest confessions to you….First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

“…we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with an its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured….

“….We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people. Human progress never rolls in on wheels of inevitability; it comes through the tireless efforts of men willing to be co-workers with God, and without this ‘hard work, time itself becomes an ally of the forces of social stagnation. We must use time creatively, in the knowledge that the time is always ripe to do right.

“But though I was initially disappointed at being categorized as an extremist, as I continued to think about the matter I gradually gained a measure of satisfaction from the label….So the question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists we will be. Will we be extremists for hate or for love? Will we be extremists for the preservation of injustice or for the extension of justice?”

You can read King’s Letter from the Birmingham Jail, written in 1963, in its entirety here: http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html

#JeffHangsUp #AnotherDramaticOverreaction #WheresMySafeSpace #GetYourColoringBook

Yes, it really is another “dramatic over-reaction.” 1) Thorpe’s staff tells his constituents that he doesn’t do town halls BECAUSE he does a lot of radio shows. 2) Constituents try to ask questions on the radio shows and get cut off. 3) Right-wing radio show host claims his show is bombarded by some national left-wing plot.

Here’s the question about Rep. Thorpe’s priorities that I wanted to ask and was cut off from asking: “Other Republicans around the country are meeting with their constituents in town halls, why is your priority to appear on right-wing talk radio instead of meeting openly with your constituents?”

#WheresBob #JeffHangsUp Talk about “snowflakes,” these guys are pretty darn sensitive.

JeffOravits.com

During and after Fridays Show with Representative Bob Thorpe, Twitter went wild with a response by some over my show after I refused to take a few calls and had to let one caller go after they told one thing to the screener and proceeded to ask an entirely different, and already asked question.

The hashtag “#JeffHangsUp” popped up real quick.  Yet #AnotherDramaticOverreaction from the crowd that’s making overreacting a regular occurrence.  I knew before the show that they were planning to bombard us with calls to ask “#Where’sBob”, part of national top down effort to swamp Republicans as they return to their district.  They are free to do so, but on my show we screen callers to make sure they stay on the topic we’re discussing, to make sure they’re not boring, to make sure they can make a concise point, to make sure (in this case) they’re not repeating…

View original post 898 more words

#TrumpPressConference

This is trending on Twitter even this morning. It took the two lead stories on NewYorkTime.com. Why would the so-called Leader of the Free World spend 90 minutes giving the kind of performance he gave yesterday? Why would whoever is pulling his strings, if any of the rumors on that are true, let him?

My theory is: Don’t watch Trump when he does something like this. Watch what he’s trying to distract us from. Yesterday, any of these other stories merited top news coverage:

17harward-master768Trump’s Pick to Replace Flynn Turns Down the Job. Robert S. Harward, retired Vice-Admiral and former Navy Seal, turned down the job to replace Michael Flynn, who resigned in disgrace as National Security Advisor less than one month into the job. While the official story was “personal and family commitments,” the back story is that this man steered away from working with Trump and his cronies, fearing that he wouldn’t be allowed to do the job effectively. This is another, and very serious, example of the fact that qualified people do not want to be drawn into the hot mess that’s going on in the White House.

House G.O.P. Leaders Outline Plan to Outline Plan to Replace Obama Health Care Act.  “Outline” is the operative word here since Ryan’s press conference failed to tell us how the changes would be paid for or who would lose coverage. What is clear is that state budgets will be stressed and the plan intends to rip apart the 1960’s Great Society Medicaid program. Furthermore, the Affordable Care Act’s formula for subsidizing the purchase of health insurance will be tossed out in favor of tax credits to those who purchase health insurance. And the tax credits will be based on age rather than income. So, rather than provide funds at the point of purchase, people will need to wait months to get their tax credits, and if their income is low enough, they won’t get the tax benefit at all. Big story? Not when overshadowed by a 90-minute show in the White House Press Room.

Also yesterday, Trump finally conceded his Travel Ban loss in the courts, with Justice Department lawyers withdrawing their prior plan to seek a rehearing before the full Ninth Circuit. Instead, the Administration will issue a new Executive Order next week. They are probably hoping to get more sympathetic judges in the next round.

The EPA was proposed by President Richard Nixon and began operation on December 2, 1970, after Nixon signed an executive order. The order establishing the EPA was ratified by committee hearings in the House and Senate. In 1970, Congress also enacted legislation substantially strengthening federal powers in the face of what was then a national emergency caused by air and water pollution. Many people today are too young to remember the condition of the Great Lakes, many rivers, and the air in our cities — and they would not tolerate it today. But Trump intends to remove the controls that prevent those conditions from returning. Scientists, environmental lawyers, and policy experts are taking the unprecedented step of calling their members of Congress to oppose Trump’s nominee for Administrator of the EPA – even if they are employees of the EPA. This didn’t come up in the Trump Press Conference yesterday.

Restaurants and other businesses across the country closed yesterday On A Day without Immigrants. This would have been a lead story on many days. But not with the Trump 90-minute presser.

Meanwhile, in Congress, a constitutionally co-equal branch of our government, Trump’s new head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement dictated to Members of Congress who would be allowed to attend a meeting those Members had requested from the Agency.

“Later today there is a bipartisan meeting with the acting Director of ICE, Thomas Homan.  ICE has told the Speaker that they will designate – you may remember, yesterday we had Members of the Judiciary Committee, the Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, a representative of the [Congressional] Asian Pacific American Caucus addressing some of the issues on the raids and the ban and the rest, and they were supposed to have a meeting yesterday with the acting ICE Director.  They canceled the meeting and said, “We are not having any meetings just with Democrats.  We are only having bipartisan meetings.”  So that meeting is scheduled for today, but ICE said they would designate which Democrats could attend the meeting.

It’s a stunning thing.  I mean, we’ve never seen anything like that, nor have we ever seen other issues that relate to nondisclosure agreements between people who work on the Hill and work with the Administration.  But in any event, not good.” Nancy Pelosi, Minority Leader of the House.

So, that’s what #TrumpPressConference covered up yesterday. What will his rally in Melbourne distract us from today?

 

March On

The Women’s March(es) last Saturday were fabulous. Over three million Americans marched in opposition to Donald Trump, and millions more around the world. What are those people doing today?

The Women’s March should not become the new Occupy Wall Street. Instead, it must grow if we are to rescue ourselves from Trumpism. Peaceful revolutions take time, but they are more likely to be successful than violent ones. (Engler and Engler, This Is an Uprising.) To be successful, however, we must recruit many more to join us. Three million marchers (some say it was four) is an impressive number; however, we need 11 million activists to achieve a successful uprising, according to Engler and Engler’s historical research. (3.5% of a nation’s population.) That’s what it took in India and Serbia. Don’t be discouraged by this. Be challenged. If each Marcher enlists just four more people, we’re there.

And, we Marchers must be patient. The first wave of feminists fought for more than 70 years before they won the right to vote; their original standard-bearers — Anthony and Stanton — were dead. African-Americans fought for generations to achieve what they have. And both groups are still fighting to obtain true equality. LGBT citizens fought for decades for the right to marry, but they still don’t have the right to work in most places. We must be patient, but we must act.

So, do you think the first of the March Sponsors’ “Ten Actions for the First 100 Days” — sending postcards — is enough? I certainly don’t. The March webpage devotes many beautiful graphics to urge March participants to buy postcards from iTunes for this first “action.” They will tell us about the second action in 10 more days.

The group “Indivisible” seems to off to a more aggressive start. Tuesday, January 24, is deemed a National Day of Action where Indivisible and MoveOn followers are urged to visit their senators’ offices and demand that Trump’s cabinet appointees be rejected. Indivisible also has three actions listed for the week — all involving keeping the pressure on Congress with phone calls and emails.

Phone calls, emails, and even postcards and tweets are important — note how the destruction of the Ethics Office was called off under pressure and how the confirmation hearings for Sessions and DeVos have been postponed. But these actions do very little toward recruiting more activists to join and work for the cause. People may notice a demonstration and decide to join, but the very best way to recruit more people to our cause is to ask them, directly, in person.

I know that’s hard and that’s scary, but you do want to be effective, don’t you? You can start by talking with your friends and neighbors. Don’t assume everyone is as attuned to the blitzkrieg of horrors that are issuing daily from the Trump Administration. The first step to fighting tyranny is disseminating correct information. Friends don’t let friends succumb to lies. We’ve let too much of that go by in the last campaign.

The next step is getting your recruit to act, to join in the emailing and postcard sending and marching. And, most importantly, voting. Until we turn out the Republicans who control Congress, the White House, and most of our State Houses and Governorships, the country is under threat.

Did you know that it takes three-quarters of the State Legislatures to amend the U.S. Constitution and the Republicans are just one state shy of that number? Imagine an amendment removing The Right to Free Speech from the First Amendment and limiting Freedom of Religion to State-Approved Churches? Does that sound extreme? Did you think it would be too extreme for an Administration to order the EPA and the USDA to stop issuing public health warnings? That happened on Day 1 of the Trump Presidency, we discovered it on Day 4.

The Election of 2018 can’t come soon enough, but we must be ready for it. The Republicans control the U.S. House of Representatives today because of work they did in 2009 in reaction to the election of Barak Obama. If we want to control the House of Representatives in two years and the Presidency four years from now, we must do the work beginning now. We must not only register voters, we must convince them to vote. Trump won with only about 25% of the eligible voters. Most people didn’t vote against Clinton, they just didn’t vote. If we let that happen in 2018, much less 2020, our country as we’ve known it will be gone. I really believe this is not hyperbole.

Did you hear Michael Moore’s speech at the Women’s March on Washington? He said everyone can run for office, “Shy people, there is an office for you. Precinct delegate. Run for precinct delegate.”  In Arizona, the “delegate” is called “committeeperson.” We have a lot of open slots for precinct committee persons in Coconino County. We’re training new committee persons now. March on over and join us. It may seem like a long way to 2018, but compared to the 70 years the first wave of feminists waited for the 19th Amendment, it’s no time at all.

 

womens-march-oliver-contreras-photo
Oliver Contreras/WaPo

 

 

Blitzkrieg

The Republican-controlled Congress, in conjunction with Mike Pence and Donald Trump, plan to execute Blitzkrieg next week. Blitzkrieg means “lightning war,” a term from German military tactics in World War II. The object was to disorient and disorganize the enemy with overpowering multiple and simultaneous attacks. The Republicans are about to execute Blitzkrieg politics.  To help sports fans understand, the Washington Post has described the plan as the “no-huddle offense.”

As a prelude to the Blitzkrieg coming next week, this week we have a mini-Blitzkrieg going on:

  • Revival of the “Holman Rule,” which allows Congress and the President to reduce the pay of any federal worker to $1.00. Thus, if any federal employee attempts to abide by a law that Trump disagrees with, his pay gets slashed. (Perhaps we now understand the Transition Team’s request for specific names of employees involved in enforcing certain policies.)
  • Congress made it easier to sell off federal lands, a boon to anti-environmentalists.
  • These were part of a package of Standing Rules for the upcoming Congress that can’t be changed for the next two years. Initially, they included eliminating the independent House Ethics panel — and that drew all the fire and press attention so other ugly things slipped through.
  • Trump’s battle with Lindsey Graham and John McCain over credibility of the U.S. Intelligence Service. In what world does a President-Elect side with Julian Assange over the combined opinion of the Defense Intelligence Agency, CIA, and FBI? In Trump World, that’s where. “Every American should be alarmed by Russia’s attacks on our nation. There is no national security interest more vital to the United States of America than the ability to hold free and fair elections without foreign interference,” McCain said in his opening statement at Thursday’s hearing.
  • Speaker Ryan announced the Republicans will defund Planned Parenthood as part of the budget process they are using to dismantle Obamacare.
mcconnell-tillerson
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Secretary of State Nominee Rex Tillerson

Next week will be this week on steroids, as the Washington Post laid out in Thursday’s “202” column. Wednesday will be Blitzkrieg Day:

  • Trump gives his first press conference since last summer. This is distraction, period.
  • Mitch McConnell has scheduled a “vote-a-rama” on budget bills, including bills related to the repeal of Obamacare (it’s a complicated law, they can’t repeal it in one vote).
  • The Senate Hearing to confirm Jefferson Beauregard Sessions (racist, homophobe, misogynist, liar) is set to start. Here’s a handy, more diplomatic summary of his history: https://www.aclu.org/report/report-confirmation-sessions  This is the guy who said in November that he wouldn’t characterize grabbing women “by the pussy” as sexual assault; “I think that’s a stretch,” he said.
  • The same day, Secretary of state nominee Rex Tillerson, with his ties to Vladimir Putin and long tenure as CEO of ExxonMobil, will appear before the Foreign Relations Committee to begin his hearing for confirmation as Secretary of State.
  • Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Mike Pompeo, appears before the Senate Intelligence Committee to begin the confirmation process. How much media scrutiny can this confirmation hearing get, with important questions about slashing CIA staff numbers and, perhaps, reducing the pay of analysts who criticize Putin (see Holmes Rule, above) on the table?
  • The Senate Education Committee will kick off hearings on the confirmation of Elizabeth DeVos, even though she hasn’t yet returned the committee’s written questionnaire or submitted financial disclosures — usually grounds for delaying a confirmation hearing.
  • John Kelly’s confirmation hearing to run the Department of Homeland Security, which will have jurisdiction over Trump’s proposed deportation force and crackdown on illegal immigration, begins before the Senate Homeland Security & Governmental Affairs Committee.
  • Wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Elaine Chao, will appear before the Senate Transportation Committee to begin her hearing as Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Transportation.

In the face of all this activity in one day, it’s hard to imagine that Sessions, Tillerson, and DeVos will get the scrutiny the country deserves based upon their shabby (should I say despicable?) records. Much less will Senators have the opportunity to pin down Pompeo’s plans for disarming the CIA in the face of Putin’s threat. Or John Kelly’s plans for building walls and private prisons.

It’s likely that the process of dismantling Obamacare will begin unnoticed. Once people start getting notices that their insurance is canceled or premiums skyrocket, Trump, Ryan, and McConnell will have free-rein to blame the Democrats for creating the system in the first place.

The night before the Blitzkrieg begins, President Obama will deliver his Farewell Address to the Nation at McCormick Place in Chicago. We can hope he’ll have something useful to say. Perhaps something along the lines of Ike’s warning against the coming “military-industrial complex,” though that hasn’t done us much good. Perhaps he will issue a call to arms that will inspire protests on Blitzkrieg Day.  I’m not betting on it. The danger of Obama’s timing is that news coverage of his address will further clog the airwaves and headlines the next morning, distracting the nation from the takeover that is going on.

What can we do? Remain vigilant, remain focused. Read and quote credible news sources rather than inflammatory, discreditable ones. Organize, protest. Demand that your Senators and Congresspeople represent YOU, not the oligarchs. Note that this week that when Congress was flooded with calls and emails about their action to get rid of the House Ethics Office, they reversed course.

Now would be a good time to start composing your phone and email messages to be part of the flood that, I hope, will overwhelm Mitch McConnell’s Leader Office and Kentucky home state offices next Wednesday, Blitzkrieg Day.

In World War II, Blitzkrieg caused shock and disorganization among the Germans’ enemies, enabling the Germans to defeat the opposing forces with minimal resources. Let’s not become shocked or disorganized.

 

Surviving Trump. Defeating Trumpism.

“When the levers of power are seized by the small hands of hateful men, you work hard, you stand with those who are most vulnerable, and you don’t give up until it’s morning again. The rest is commentary.” — Liel Leibovitz, Tablet Magazine

Donald Trump will be our next President. Let’s not give him a chance. Because we already know he’s up to no good. If I’ve lost you already, that’s fine because you are of little use to the future of America right now.  Perhaps you’ll save this for future reference.

What we face is not normal. (Here’s a handy list of the radical, abnormal things DT had already done by November 15 if you need convincing. The list grows exponentially  every day.) The most dangerous aspect of the dangerous abnormality is the plunge into no agreed-on version of reality. Perhaps naively, I am grasping at this familiar thought from Daniel Patrick Moynihan, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts.”

Most living Americans have never lived in extraordinary times. The elderly may remember the gathering storms in Europe before World War II and the internment camps in this country when war was declared. The somewhat less elderly will remember the turmoil of the civil rights era and the Vietnam War, but there were checks and balances in place, effective court systems and a free press with credibility. How long we will have such checks and balances now is seriously in doubt. The decay of these institutions which protect us will not happen overnight, but they will slip away quickly enough if we normalize the transfer of power that is currently underway. I speak not of armed rebellion, but of the full exercise of Free Speech and Due Process.

Rather than sit in despair and let the United States of America turn into an authoritarian oligarchy, I think it’s useful to do two things:

First, REMEMBER that Trump is a Minority President. He’s a Loser — he lost the popular vote by over 2.8 million votes (larger than the winning margins of ten Presidents who served). It’s only the unfortunate distribution of 80,000 votes across three states that place him in the White House. Perhaps he had an illegal assist from the Russians. Meanwhile, the House of Representatives, the People’s House, while still in Republican hands thanks to corrupt gerrymandering, gained more Democrats. Trump does NOT have a mandate from the American people. The Trump transition team and its affiliated media are touting a mandate they do not have. Remembering the facts is important. The mind is a pliable thing, and repetition of lies will make the best of us forget.

Second, RESIST. Let’s not go quietly into darkness. Let’s not give up the progress made in the 20th Century and over the last eight years. Because that is what is at stake; don’t doubt it. We’re talking not only about losing Obamacare and gay marriage (although losing those will be wildly important). At stake are Medicare (enacted 1965), Social Security (enacted 1935), the rights to equal access to housing, to employment, to lunch counters and other public accommodations (enacted 1964), food stamps, WIC, Head Start, school lunches, and the national minimum wage. Respect for women as equal human beings is at stake, and with it, access to contraception, much less to abortion. Our institution of Free Press is at stake. Climate change deserves its own blog post but just a note in passing: I remember the rivers and lakes and the air before the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts — they were not pretty.

“Rising diversity isn’t going away. Income inequality isn’t going away. Support for redistribution isn’t going away.” Those cats are out of the bag and no chanting of “Make America Great Again” is going to put them back. The only issue is how we choose to manage them. Trump’s version of management will be authoritarian with a PR overcoat that could effectively disguise the corruption and profiteering at the core of his plan. He can’t make America white again, but he can appeal to white supremacists as cover for his profiteering. He can tweet bizarre ideas about flag-burning to distract from his plan to transfer public administration of social security and Medicare to Wall Street profiteers. He has and he will keep doing these things. Our job is to resist; to call him out; to expose the truth.

We should analyze what went wrong in the Democrats’ election strategy. More importantly, we should look for examples of what went right, as in Governor-Elect McCrory’s victory in North Carolina. But these are relatively long-term projects. We have an urgent need for leadership and strategies to resist as the Trump Administration takes over our government. This is my attempt to provide a stab at leadership and offer a few tactics and resources.

Michelle Obama admonished us, “When they go low, we go high.” Indeed, but working with Trump or failing to refute his propaganda is not “going high.” There are two fine pieces already written about this, so I won’t elaborate here. See Robin Alperstein, Resistance Is Not Futile; Jamelle Bouie, The Democrats Are Screwing Up the Resistance to Donald Trump. Some brave members of Congress, including our own Arizona Representative, Congressman Ruben Gallego, have stood up to Trump. We must, too.

As James Fallows recently explicated in The Atlantic, society is suffering from both a chronic and an acute version of a public information crisis. The chronic version, which has been building for nearly thirty years, has given rise to “separate fact-universes” into which “segments of society silo themselves.” We need a long-term strategy for dealing with this.  But we will not have the freedom to implement a long-term strategy if we do not deal with the acute version of the public information crisis.

The acute version is personified by our President-Elect and his trumpeters: Steve Bannon, Mike Flynn, and Kellyanne Conway. As Fallows writes, “Most people would hesitate before telling easily disprovable lies like these, much as shoplifters would hesitate if the store owner is looking at them. Most people are fazed if caught in an outright lie.” Trump and his crew are not fazed. As one rather benign example, Fallows reminds us that on a single day during the campaign, “Trump claimed that the National Football League had sent him a letter complaining that the presidential-debate schedule conflicted with NFL games (which the NFL immediately denied), and then he said the Koch brothers had begged him to accept their donations (which they also flat-out denied).” (Of course, the Koch Brothers themselves are not above lying so who knows about that one.) As Fallows points out, our news media, until now, has not been built to deal with something like this. We’ve seen some examples of adjustments, but they are minor. The New York Times, apparently, cannot bring itself to use the word “lie” or “liar” in the same headline with reference to the President-Elect. It should, and it must.

What can we, mere citizens, do? Many suggestions for resistance have been made. I’ll put a list of citations at the end of this article. Here are some thoughts for immediate action:

  • Don’t let a lie go unchallenged. You don’t have to be mean about it, but when someone states an untruth about Trump or one of his minions, correct them. If you’re accused of attacking them or Trump, simply say, “I was just pointing out a fact,” and move on.
  • We have an obligation to be active on social media. “Trump is a social media politician. It is the heart and soul of how he campaigned, how he floats his racist and tyrannical ideas, and how he communicates with his constituents.” Meet the enemy where he and his audience are.
  • Write letters to your local paper, too. Some people still read it.
  • Trump is going to be on a continuous campaign for the next four years. His rallies may not be as large as they were during the campaign, but they will garner the same high-level of media coverage. If there is a rally in your town, turn-out and protest. Put yourself in front of the cameras with a sign that says “#Resistance, #NotNormal,” or something else of your own
  • Object to every crazy cabinet appointment Trump is making. Write and call (both) your Senators. They keep count of the calls and letters and pay more attention to those communications than they do to online petition numbers (but I sign those, too). Send notes to the Democratic Leadership as well. Bookmark this site: http://whoismyrepresentative.com/
  • Demand that Congress investigate Russian interference in our election as much as they investigated Benghazi.
  • Make monthly, recurring donations to the ACLU or one of the other fine resistance organizations named in this article.
  • Get paid subscriptions to credible news sources like the Washington Post, New York Times, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, LA Times, and your local and statewide papers. They need your support; buy subscriptions — as many as you can afford.
  • Attend the Day to Defend Democracy, December 19 demonstration in your state capital.
  • Attend the Women’s March on Washington on January 21. If you can’t go to D.C., satellite demonstrations are being organized around the country, including in my hometown of Flagstaff, AZ.
  • Organize or join a supportive group of friends (old or new) who want to be part of the Resistance. The purpose is to organize and support each other. What happens will develop.
  • Encourage and harass Democrats to oppose Trump at every turn. The Trump Administration is #NotNormal; therefore, cooperating with it is a bad thing to do. This is not sour grapes, it’s protecting our country.
  • Support Senator Gillibrand’s call to filibuster the repeal of the law blocking retired military from being Secretaries of Defense until they have been out of the military for seven years. We need to block this move, or try with everything we’ve got to block it, not only because separating the military from civilian government is a bedrock of our democracy, but also because it is one of the first moves of the Trump Administration to yank us away from normal government.
  • Don’t give up on the two-party system. This institution is nearly as old as the Republic and while parties have risen and fallen and morphed, their power works when the people are involved. Trump didn’t win because of Citizen’s United; he won because the people did not vote in sufficient numbers to defeat him in three Midwestern states.
  • Connect with your fellow citizens, and protect them. If you see someone being harassed, call the police but also take the hand of the victim and speak to him or her. Ignore the attacker. In the ten days following the election, there were almost 900 reports of harassment and intimidation from across the nation. Many harassers invoked Trump’s name during assaults, making it clear that the outbreak of hate stemmed in large part from his electoral success. This is an outrage; we must stop it. Thank Delta Airlines for joining this fight.

Look for more action items. Resolve to take an action every day: Make a phone call, click a link, register a voter, talk with a stranger, march in a protest, write a letter.  Our goal is to blockade as much of the Trump agenda as possible, to protect our fellow citizens, and to win elections in 2018 and 2020. In sum, the goal is to preserve our Republic.

Resources and Reading:

Host a community action meeting

Ten Ways to Fight Hate

Five Ways To Be A Silent Trump Protestor

Notes from the Resistance: A Column on Language and Power

The 14 Characteristics of Fascism

What Justice Scalia said about flag-burning (Trump should watch this)

Masha Gessen, Autocracy: Rules of Survival

What We Do Now: How to Preserve the Ideals of Liberal Democracy in the Face of  a Trump PresidencySlate

James Fallows, How to Deal with the Lies of Donald Trump: Guidelines for the Media

Wall-Of-Us — Weekly Acts of Resistance delivered to your email

The Danger of Deconsolidation – Journal of Democracy

Barbara Kingsolver, Trump Changed Everything. Now Everything Counts

Frank Bruni, Paul Ryan’s Dangerous Silence on Donald Trump

Roger Cohen, The Rage of 2016

New Pro-Trump Group Takes Form  — Washington Post

Joshua Foust, Don’t Ignore Twitter and Why Outrage Is So Important

Jennifer Finney Boylan, Really, You’re Blaming Transgender People for Trump?

Robin Alperstein, Resistance Is Not Futile

Patrick Thornton, I’m a Coastal Elite from the Midwest: The Real Bubble Is Rural America

Heather C. McGhee, I’m Prejudiced, he said. Then We Kept Talking.

Welcome to Donald Trump’s Post-Fact AmericaRolling Stone

Charles M. Blow, Agents of Idiocracy

Michael Arnovitz, Faking a Mandate

An Alt-Right Makeover Shrouds the SwastikasNY Times

Donald Trump Lost Most of the American Economy in This Election Washington Post

The Increasingly Diverse United States of America Washington Post

Gersh Kuntzman, We Liberals Need to Win, Not Whine

Andy Borowitz, Earth Endangered by New Strain of Fact-Resistant Humans (sarcasm)

Donald Trump’s Plan to Purge the NationNY Times Editorial Board

Protecting Reproductive Rights Under Donald TrumpNY Times Editorial Board

Jonathan Chait, Collaborating with Donald Trump Is Doomed To Fail

Luigi Zingales, The Right Way to  Resist Trump

Arizona Democrat: ‘We have a duty to treat Trump like the threat he is’ (That’s a summary, the full CSpan video is worth a watch.)

Praise for Reince Priebus is another sign of how we’re lowering the bar for Trump  — Vox

Harold Pollack, There’s No Silver Lining to Trump’s Win: Cheer up Progressives, and let’s get to work.

Paul Krugman, Trump Slump Coming? — Be prepared that good things will happen to bad people, at least for a while.

Tegu Cole, A Time for Refusal

Kurt Eichenwald, The Myths Democrats Swallowed That Cost Them the Election

Dan Rather, Forget Talking About The Trump Administration

Paul Krugman, The Tainted Election

We’re About to See States’ Rights Used Defensively Against Trump — Vox

A Savvy News Consumer’s Guide: How Not To Get Duped

This Is What Should Be Happening in Washington This Morning

FBI Director James Comey, his deputy directors, his IT specialists, and his Justice Department lawyers should be sitting in the Office of Attorney-General Loretta Lynch at the meeting she should have called for 8 a.m. this Saturday morning. Instead, having dumped an incendiary letter on the desks of Republican Congressmen (yes, all men) on Friday afternoon eleven days before Election Day, Comey and the rest of the crew have apparently taken the weekend off. In addition to ordering the 8 a.m. meeting, Lynch should have ordered all FBI agents up and down the East Coast to report to their offices at 8 a.m. this morning to await further orders.

Lynch shouldn’t interfere with the FBI’s investigation, but she shouldn’t allow them to slow-walk it either. When I was a lawyer and there were pressing matters, we didn’t take the weekend off. We called in more staff and got the work done. What’s more pressing than the election of the next United State President? Comey said in his bombshell letter, “I cannot predict how long it will take to complete this additional work.” Well, get to it.

Haul those FBI agents in from around the country, sit their suited butts down at conference tables in the Justice Department with sections of the email trove in front of each one of them and get on with the review. As each email is reviewed, if it does not contain classified information, release it to the American public.

Now, I read from one source that @PeteWilliamsNBC reported last night that the FBI may need to get a court order to read some of the emails. So, get on with it! There are federal judges on call all weekend. Judges issues subpoenas and warrants at all hours of the day and night. We are now 10 days from the election. Get the damn court order.

What needs to be done now: Release the new trove of emails.

What can be done later: Investigate why the FBI is leaking like a sieve.

  • Who are the “U.S. law enforcement officials” who told the Los Angeles Times  that investigators came across the emails while investigating Anthony Weiner?
  • Who is the investigator who leaked that the emails are not “to or from Clinton?
  • Why did Comey send a second letter on Friday afternoon, this one to all FBI employees, surely knowing it would be leaked to the press?

These are important questions. But they can wait until after the election. Now, the important thing is to get the new (or are they merely duplicates of previous?) emails out for review by American voters.