"Don't say the years. This is for eternity." —Q-Tip, 'Midnight Marauders'
Sometimes it takes a pacifist to put up a real fight.
"A fighting pacifist" — this may sound like an oxymoron, but it's not. Pacifists can fight in a way others cannot because we ground our battles in firm principle. We know where we stand. A deep sense of philosophical conviction is always necessary for a successful campaign of civil resistance.
This is why our greatest pacifist heroes were not only wise but courageous. Martin Luther King was a pacifist and a fighter. Mahatma Gandhi was a pacifist and a fighter. Emmeline Pankhurst was a pacifist and a fighter.
Two weeks ago I went to an anti-Trump planning meeting in Brooklyn where a homeless advocate warned us all: "This is going to hurt". Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi and Emmeline Pankhurst all got hurt. A lot — and they faced the violence with stubborn resolve. They all spent time in jail ... and they weren't treated nicely there either. That's how you fight, and nobody is as tough as a pacifist when you've got a real battle to fight.
Today in the United States of America, we've got a real battle to fight.
It's a big one. The battle of our lives. A battle for our freedom. I'm writing this blog post on Pacifism21 to make it clear where we stand on the constitutional crisis of the 2016 election.
As pacifists, we stand in absolute opposition to Donald Trump. The reason is obvious: he's a self-declared war-monger and blatant Islamophobe who just hired back the George W. Bush brain trust to be his foreign policy team. He has pledged to begin Iraq War Three, though he doesn't use those words. He calls it "defeating ISIS" and says they're going to "do it tougher" this time in Iraq, like when Rambo went back to Vietnam. This time our president has pledged that our soldiers will openly murder civilians and torture prisoners of war. And this time our President has pledged to just "take their oil" without any pretense to international decency or justice or law.
The fact that Trump is poised to blunder our country into a new apocalyptic war in the Middle East is the primary reason why everybody who cares about world peace must urgently and loudly help to resist and reject the claim of Donald Trump to be a legitimate leader of the American government.
Many peace-loving Americans are in denial about the fact that Trump's constant promises to "finally defeat ISIS" are a commitment to begin Iraq War Three, though nearly all of us understand the level of hazard that would occur if, God forbid, a terrorist attack were to provoke Trump's advisory team to sudden action. Trump will have a lot of help in setting Iraq War Three in motion, since his chosen advisors include rabid xenophobe Michael Flynn, Blackwater profiteer Erik Prince and Bush administration leftovers John Bolton and Dick Cheney. We must realize not only that Trump may be provoked into a new war somewhere in the world, but also that the tactical domestic advantages Trump would gain from placing our country in a state of military emergency would make it advantageous for him to do so. The idea of entrusting Trump to manage our foreign policy and military is an absolute horror — a deal-breaker for his legitimacy as President.
But the fact that Trump cannot be trusted as commander in chief is far from the only deal-breaker here. There's so much more.
Trump is a con-man, a notorious liar, a white nationalist, a sexual predator. He speaks often of his admiration for corrupt right-wing dictators like Vladimir Putin, and one of the only writers he has ever been known to enjoy reading is Adolf Hitler.
We at Pacifism21 cannot explain why a large fraction of American citizens chose Trump for their President, and we recognize the tragic degree to which our country has been divided in two. We do not know how to cure this terrible division.
But that doesn't mean we will allow our lives and our future to be destroyed. The American people will resist President Trump because we recognize that he intends to govern as a tyrant, and we will not stand for a tyrant.
What do we do in this situation? Many of us are praying that the electoral college will find an alternative — any reasonable alternative — when it meets next week. We believe it is the constitutional duty of the electoral college to prevent a tyrant from gaining power. If there's a single strong piece of evidence that Trump's victory was illegitimate, or that he intends to significantly violate and defraud the constitution once in office, the electoral college should reject him. There are three strong pieces of evidence.
1. Putin colluded with the Trump campaign to taint his opponent
NSA Chief Admiral Michael Rogers has affirmed what was obvious thoughout the election season: Russia used illegal means to subvert our choice of President, repeatedly targeting Trump's opponent with hacked information from the DNC. Most outrageously, Russia's illegal intervention was publicly encouraged by Trump in a July 2016 speech. (Sources: Mother Jones, NY Times)
2. Rogue agents of the FBI colluded with the Trump campaign to taint his opponent
Eleven days before election day, FBI chief James Comey stunned the country with an unprecendented act of intervention: a letter to Congress hinting about new evidence that could indict Hillary Clinton. Following Clinton's demand for quick resolution of this shocking charge, the FBI concluded that there was no significant new evidence at all, and yet this tease dominated news coverage in the critical final week of the campaign. Many commentators including Senator Harry Reid observed angrily that Comey's breach of American trust in the FBI was illegal, which is why it's inexplicable that has been so little discussion of this Watergate-like crime, or of its effect on the election. The likelihood that Comey's act was a planned act of collusion is heightened by the fact that Trump surrogate (and Comey's close friend) Rudy Giuliani spoke haltingly of a coming "surprise" just before Comey's letter was released. (Sources: Fox News, CNN)
3. Trump has pledged to govern as a dictator
Donald Trump has been no normal candidate. He has clearly and repeatedly signaled in speeches and interviews that he favors the dictatorial approach to government practiced by tyrants such as Putin, Duterte and Saddam Hussein. Specific outrages he has pledged to commit in order to turn the USA into a tyranny include jailing political opponents, jailing journalists and encouraging violence at campaign rallies. He has also chosen a cabinet that is a mockery of good government, including Rick Perry, who famously blustered that he would eliminate the entire federal Department of Energy, as the chief of the Department of Energy. (Sources: Washington Post, National Review)
We think there is a very strong case for the electoral college to choose any alternative to President Donald Trump when their decisive moment in history arrives on Monday, December 19. We pray that they will do the right thing.
If the electoral college fails in its responsibility to protect American freedom, our constitutional crisis becomes more severe. Everything from secession to nonviolent revolution becomes a possible path. If we eventually have to conduct nationwide strikes and surround government buildings in order to force Trump and his corrupt partners to abide by the Constitution, we will do so. A quarter-century ago, the Soviet Union fell in a nonviolent revolution. It's dreadful to think that the government of the United States of America could fall in a nonviolent revolution, but this would be preferable to President Trump. The one choice that we cannot make is to buckle under to a cruel and corrupt dictator who hates America and hates our freedom.
As we dig in for our fight — the fight that will last a long time, the fight that "will hurt" — we need to remind ourselves that the fight is about more than Presidential politics. We are not opposing Donald Trump because of who he is, but because of the damage he has pledged to do to our lives. It helps to remember Leo Tolstoy's essential message in his great novel War and Peace: the personality of a political leader is often a mirage and an illusion, because a political leader is only the tip of a pyramid. It is the mass of people who stand behind a leader who give that leader power.
In America today, we have a leadership crisis, and this is our problem. Our leaders aren't suffering today. It's us, the people, who are suffering. The sickness that plagues America today is not Donald Trump's sickness, or Hillary Clinton's sickness. It is our sickness.
As we fight on — for an electoral college victory, or for secession, or for the nonviolent overthrow of Trump's illegal power grab, we need to remember that we are fighting a big, big fight — for our planet, for our future, for our children. The problems we face in the United States of America will not be solved on December 19, even if a miracle happens and the electoral college makes the right decision on that day. This is about much more than 2016.
"This is for eternity," Q-Tip once said, reminding himself not to shout out the year when he raps, since his music is meant to last more than a year. What we do in 2016 and 2017 will last more than a year too. Some of us have already faced mockery and ridicule for protesting the results of a presidential election. We may even doubt ourselves when we protest against Trump, because it makes us feel trivial and foolish to do so. When we find ourselves stuck in cheap, absurd and insipid political debates, we can sometimes seem to ourselves as corrupt and phony as USA presidential politics itself.
But let's remember that we're not fighting for Donald Trump, or for Hillary Clinton.
We're fighting for ourselves.
This is for eternity.
And eternity is how long we are going to stay here and continue our fight, until we win our freedom back.