In the coastal, elitist, liberal, intellectual bubble where I live, most people still say they “can’t believe what’s happened.” A month after the most bizarre election in modern United States history, we’re now plagued by a daily barrage of equally shocking appointments Donald Trump is making for his new administration.
A climate denier tapped for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. An anti-labor CEO of a hamburger chain for the Department of Labor. A retired neurosurgeon who doesn’t believe in a safety net for the poor for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A lobbyist who’s pushed for failed school reform policies for the Department of Education. A white supremacist as chief strategist for the White House. And so on.
It has left our coastal, elitist, liberal, intellectual bubble so sick to its stomach it’s begun to organize in big ways and small. Here’s a snapshot of what’s going on.
- Headlines are flying about what’s expected to be the largest rally against Trump’s agenda: the Women’s March on Washington on Jan. 21, 2017. So far, 142,000 people have confirmed on Facebook that they’ll join to “send a bold message to our new administration on [its] first day in office, and to the world, that women’s rights are human rights.”
- For those with a more radical bent there’s also #DisruptJ20, which calls on protesters to “take to the streets and protest, blockade, disrupt, intervene, sit in, walk out, rise up, and make more noise and good trouble than the establishment can bear” on the day of inauguration. Filmmaker Michael Moore has promised to attend. “If by some awful happenstance Trump shows up to be sworn in on January 20th, I will be there helping lead the national protest and non-violently disrupting the inauguration of a man no one other than the electoral college elected,” he told the Hollywood Reporter last week.
- Another protest march for inauguration day organized by the ANSWER coalition has 19,000+ RSVPs so far. Will they, and the 20-some other groups planning permits in time? That’s uncertain, but organizers continue to sign up participants and it seems inevitable protests will occur.
- Liberal non-profits, including my own, have reported a dramatic surge in donations for the past month. If low voter turn-out marred the election itself, Americans are now stepping up to the plate. More donations pay for advocacy efforts and more lawyers who will fight the Trump administration in court. Or, like they said way-back-when in the environmental movement: “sue the bastards.”
- In my city just outside Washington, D.C., the mayor and police chief have assured the many immigrants in our community that they remain welcome and, importantly, that they will be protected if Trump makes good on his promise to deport millions of undocumented residents from the U.S. My neighbors last week began to organize task forces in preparation for the fight. Large cities nationwide, including D.C., have also said they will resist deportation squads, even if it means they lose federal funds as a result.
Such efforts won’t keep Donald Trump from getting sworn in, or prevent him from nominating dangerous or unqualified people to his administration. But they show a different side of America that was overshadowed by the angry, populist noise of recent months – and serve as a reminder that a majority of voters on Nov. 8 did not vote from Trump.
They indicate that many of us are preparing to fight for inclusion, tolerance and evidence-based policies – core American values of which the Republican Party seems to have completely lost sight.
Photo: Stephen Melkisethian