Friday, November 11, 2016

We The People Still Have The Power

Not a great start for President-elect Trump, attacking freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of the press in less than 140 characters.

Fascist tweets aside, I'm willing to keep an open mind about a Trump Presidency (call this the "acceptance" stage of grief). Right now, all we have is the fear-- we have yet to see how he and the disturbing people he's surrounded himself with will put their chilling rhetoric into action. It's hard to imagine--given everything Trump has said (or Tweeted) and done--how he will suddenly become an enlightened leader. Even half of his supporters aren't expecting great things here (the non-deplorables). But it is possible that with an organized opposition, any damage he can do to this country will be limited.

In the past few days, millions of Americans have mobilized in cities around the U.S. as a show of force. There are 59.9 million people who voted against Trump--a slim majority of American voters-- and what these protests show is that we're not going to be silent and we're not going to be steamrolled.

This is not a repudiation of those who voted for Trump. Sure, some in the crowd may demand the election be overturned, but that's not realistic, nor is it the point of these mass demonstrations. These protests are meant to serve as a warning. In our lifetimes, we've seen rapid social progress for the rights of minorities, women and LGBT citizens, advances in world peace, environmental health, and economic prosperity-- if Trump rolls back any of the rights or protections we've fought so hard for, these protests make it clear that he and the whole country will hear about it.

Even Wall Street sent a strong signal to Trump in the late hours of Election Day. Dow futures plummeted, before the market returned in the morning to make gains. It's hard not to see that blip as a threat from Wall Street-- screw up this economy, and these are the charts America will be looking at come next election.

We cannot forget that we have a government that answers to its people at all times. Not just on election days. Civil disobedience and protest have a long history in this country-- from the Boston Tea Party to Rosa Parks to Woodstock. Americans stood up for what they believed in against the powers that stood against them, and by show of solidarity and by virtue of their righteousness, won. This is the story of America. It's not anti-democratic to protest... it's in our blood.

Now is not the time to curl up in a ball and cry (though, that's an understandable emotion). Now is the time to get involved. For too many years, too many of us have been Facebook activists. We've forgotten what it means to hit the streets, to shout, to stand and be seen. To get involved.

This is a call to action.

Trump may be our next President, but he will not be our Dictator. When he threatens our liberties, we cannot, and will not, take it lying down.

Pay attention to what Trump does next. If he appoints a white nationalist anti-Semite as his chief of staff. If he allows Mike Pence and his ilk to pass discrimination laws against gay Americans or restrictions on women's health. Watch and see if he takes health care away from millions, while replacing it with nothing. Take notice if he endangers our security by pulling out of alliances and international treaties, or if he rattles the nuclear saber and risks war. All of us need to hold him accountable for his actions-- and not just those who didn't vote for him, but those who did. If he hurts us, don't stay silent.

Let us always remember the words of the infamous Access Hollywood tape. Not the "grab them by the pussy" part. The part that reveals what kind of man Trump is and how he may govern:
"And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything."
It's up to we, the people, over the next 4 years, to make sure he can't.

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