The hostile takeover of American democracy by Donald Trump and his team of fascist plotters is proceeding as expected. Yes, they are expertly deploying the Nazi playbook - demonize, shock, overpower and lie - and yes, many Americans are succumbing to the hypnotic stupor of deadly propaganda. Every single thing we love and cherish is at stake: our freedom, our vote, our dignity, our morals.
Our democracy is threatened. We watch in horror as fake news fills the airwaves, amplifying the bizarre shouts of an aspiring dictator who will suddenly, we are calmly told by smiling TV reporters in Christmas pajamas, have tremendous power over our lives. What happened to checks and balances? Where are our brave journalists, our smart politicians, our firewalls against fascism? Suddenly it hits us, one by one: we better save ourselves, because nobody else is going to save us.
"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.
I attended a panel discussion yesterday on "A Trump World Order: What To Expect From US Foreign Policy", sponsored by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung at the Asian-American Writers Workshop in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. I found a packed crowd of nearly 100 attendees in a tight physical space. The concerned and defiant expressions on many faces in the room suggested that we believed our planet to be in a tight physical space too.
It's good news that anti-Trump events in New York City are drawing packed standing-room-only crowds (I experienced the same thing a few days earlier in Brooklyn), and often the greatest challenge at these angry gatherings is how to focus our outrage regarding Trump's plans for America. Should we talk about the illegal Russia-hacked election? Or about Steve Bannon's vile racism, or about Mike Pence's antique politics of gender repression, or about Paul Ryan's Ayn-Rand inspired plans to funnel more wealth to the tax-avoiding 1% by stealing from us middle-classers who actually pay taxes? How can we possibly choose which outrage to scream about first?
I was glad to find a panel discussion focusing on foreign policy, as I believe the potential global horrors of a Trump administration influenced by Michael Flynn, John Bolton, Dick Cheney and Erik Prince to be among the most astoundingly urgent dangers we currently face. I was hoping to find a group of panelists as fired up and angry as I've been. But there are many different ways to read our current situation, and I immediately felt frustrated during panelist Ingar Solty's opening remarks when he placidly suggested that Trump might turn out to be an isolationist.
Ingar Solty of Germany's Das Argument is a sharp observer of international events, and it was generally a privilege to hear his well-informed thoughts about the Donald Trump phenomenon. But it was perhaps because Solty had just flown in from Europe for this event that his tone did not seem to reflect the incredible urgency and rage that many Americans feel in the face of Trump's assaults on truth. Will Trump turn out to be an isolationist? We should only be so lucky. Trump is masterful at using contradiction and blatant mistruth to obscure his agenda. His claim to have opposed the Iraq War in 2003 appears to be nothing but a classic Trump head-fake, and so is his tease at isolationism. I was sorry to hear even one of this event's panelists taking these falsehoods on face value instead of giving them the derision they deserve.
The fight is hardly over for the courageous native Americans, environmentalists and supportive protestors fighting the corporate sponsors of the Dakota Access Pipeline. There was some great news for their hard struggle this weekend ... and even though the struggle has been going on for months and will continue to face new affronts, it feels like a real victory, and the protestors have been spared a cold winter outdoors.
The attacks these protestors have been enduring may return in a more brutal fashion if the aspiring dictator Donald Trump manages to become President on January 20. If we don't manage to prevent the disaster of his presidency from beginning, many Americans like myself will then look towards protest leaders like Dave Archambault of the Standing Rock Tribal Council for direct guidance and involvement, as well as for moral sustenance and inspiration. Their successful program of civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance will be very helpful as a role model for a national program of civil disobedience — since it's hard to imagine how a Trump presidency could play out without requiring a massive public resistance to remove him from office before he destroys everything we have.
Donald Trump will not become our President. It's up to us to take him down by following a method that requires an incredible level of courage and hard work, and this effort has begun. The method is found in the great legacy of Martin Luther King: civil disobedience and nonviolent resistance. Armed with this weapon, we can and will defend ourselves against what is shaping up to be an attempted fascist takeover of American democracy.
(Dear readers: just because we're busy fighting the fascist takeover of America doesn't mean we don't need poetry in our lives. Here's a "stream of consciousness prose poem" written shortly after election day by our friend Aaron Lantz from Kansas City, Missouri. —Marc)
When in the course of human events it becomes necessary—
I spent today protesting with a large peaceful crowd outside Trump Tower in New York City. My name is Marc Eliot Stein. I'm a 54 year old writer, web developer and father of three. I was born in Queens, New York, just a couple of miles from the childhood home of Donald Trump. I always liked Donald Trump, and used to enjoy his show "The Apprentice".
I'm running off to another anti-Trump rally today in Union Square, New York City. The last one I was at was outside Trump Tower on Thursday, November 10 ... and I was proud when a friend texted me this photo of me on Fox News. Can't tell for sure if I'm raising my fist, recording a video or flipping the bird at Trump Tower, but I was doing all three at various times during this inspiring evening.
Two days before the end of an election season that has left many Americans (including me) sickened and disgusted, polls show that Hillary Clinton is in a good position to become the next President of the United States. This is fine with me. She has earned it well.