Seventy-five years ago, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, calling on the Congress to declare war on Japan in response to its attack at Pearl Harbor, called December 7, 1941 a “date that will live in infamy.” Not since then have the democratic practices, traditions, and institutions of this country been in such danger as they are today, when a despicable man will assume the powers of the office of President. I beg of you all not to post heated comments about the inadequacies, the failings, the hypocrisies and betrayals of American democracy. I am well aware of them, and have been speaking publicly about them since before many of you were born. Nor do I need to be reminded that I am, as I declare on this blog, an anarchist. But I am a socialist as well, and my conception of socialism is of a genuinely democratic polity regulated by shared norms of humane behavior and a respect for the rule of law. Our only realistic chance of transforming this large, rich, powerful, deeply flawed country is to strengthen those practices and traditions of democracy and use them to change the social relations of production. Failing that, we must use the institutions as they have been given to us and as we can improve them to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Donald Trump holds these traditions and practices in contempt and he will do everything he can to undermine them, violate them, mock them, and destroy them.
We must not allow him to succeed.
I agree with you today.
Have a great march tomorrow!
I can sense the despondency in these words. I feel it too. I'm also sensing that it may be time to panic.
My only comfort is in tapping into the unprecedented level of rage this abysmal human has stirred up. As you've been pointing out, there seems to be a tremendous will to resist what's coming, at least among the humane half of the country. It's certainly unlike anything I've experienced.
I expect these demonstrations will be a good deal larger than predicted. Which would be encouraging news in very dark times.
Today we awake to find ourselves unlucky tourists in a Jurassic Park of stupidity, bullying, plunder, incompetence, racism, cruelty, environmental destruction, and Lord knows what else. The fences have failed. The creatures have escaped. People are about to be eaten.
If I didn't think we--the relatively conscious people of the United States--weren't up to this, I would be in despair. But I see signs that we are. My students are walking out today and have organized a rally with two nearby high schools. Tomorrow will be one of the largest marches my city (Seattle) has ever seen. Per capita it will be one of the largest in the country. And yeah, we're going to march in the rain.
I see people organizing in all sorts of ways: starting neighborhood groups, running as PCOs, holding workshops, lobbying their state legislators, standing with their unions. I see new symbolism (pussycat hats?) and new senses of identity (The Resistance) emerging. I sense fear among many, to be sure, but I also sense excitement, a renewed commitment to civic engagement, and that feeling of solidarity that comes from banding together in common struggle.
I don't doubt that the days ahead will be worse than I'm prepared for. As a teacher, I've already been publicly threatened for voicing my views outside of school. I am not alone, and much more is coming. But there is some safety in numbers, and as long as we fight this thing together, there is hope.
Like many others here, I don't enjoy crowds (I don't have many anxiety issues at all, but big crowds are one place where they come out a bit) or enjoy demonstrations. But, my wife has convinced me to go with her tomorrow to the Women's March in Philadelphia. (I am never eager for her to go to any political demonstrations, as she isn't a US citizen, and while it's very unlikely that she'd be arrested for anything that could cause her to have immigration trouble, I normally think it's not worth the risk. But, she very much wants to go.)
In other largely trivial efforts to do something, I wrote this contribution to an on-line journal that tries to get philosophers to address topical issues. The title is clunky (I didn't write it, but I'm not good at titles, either), it's not the smoothest thing I've ever written (a more academic style typically suits me better - I wasn't sure of my target there), but maybe it's still worth something, especially in thinking about immigration policy in the next while.
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