Friday, February 17, 2017

Thoughts On The Resistance

I listened to an interesting interview on NPR's Morning Edition recently. Rachel Martin spoke to Brendan Steinheiser, a Republican strategist and early Tea Party organizer about how liberal activists are using similar tactics in their resistance to the current administration as the Tea Party  did when they created a resistance to stop President Obama. He shared his thoughts on what went wrong for the Democrats in losing an election they thought was won, and what he thought the liberal movement in general is doing wrong to affect change. You can read the article on What The Left Can Learn From the Tea Party here from

It seems clear now, in hindsight, that when many blacks, union workers and women who make up what used to be the Dems base didn't vote for Hillary that the party had lost touch with its base and foundational core. But the same was true for the Republicans 8 years ago. The Tea Party would not have formed if there wasn't dissention in the conservative ranks. The rise of Donald Trump exemplifies that everyone on both sides is sick of "business as usual" politics of both parties. I've had discussions with many friends; liberal, moderate and conservative that didn't want another Bush, Clinton, or paid-for-by-big-business interests career politicians in the White House yet again. Many of these disenfranchised didn't vote for Trump, and they couldn't in good conscious, vote for Clinton, so they either didn't vote at all, or voted for a 3rd party candidate.

One piece of advice that Mr Steinheiser had for the Democrats, is that they should stop using Hollywood elite to speak for them, because that is as bad as using billionaires to represent their cause on the right. Neither speak for the average American (if there is one). I'll never completely understand why those that will seemingly be affected by the policies that are being proposed by the Trump administration, the poor, the middle-class, those most in need of health care and other programs voted for him. I'm afraid they may  soon find out that they are the ones that will be most hurt by his policies. Trump promised to drain the swamp and not be controlled by Wall Street, but his cabinet is full of billionaires created from Wall Street.

I believe the president's outrageous behavior, accusatory tone and technique of attacking those who dare to criticize him as liars with fake news is simply a distraction,  so that we forget about what is really going on.  When things look dicey, he deflects, so that we forget about, or stop talking about all the things that are slipping through under the radar. The good news? The press has stepped up their game. Because they are under attack and the microscope for credibility, they are acting as if they have something to prove; and they do. Mr Trump's plan may backfire, in that we may find the reality show sensational news cycle phase is over. Just as the safest time to fly was right after September 11th, this may be the the most accountable our press has been in years. Our 4th estate will now be more credible and vigilant and real than ever. It's their turn to shine.

For those of us on the sidelines who feel helpless, how do we form a truly effective resistance? I've seen a list of points of advice circulating online and I'm not sure where it started. But I think it is a good start for those trying to share information in a more productive manner:

1. Don't use his name; (45 will do)
2. Remember this is a regime and he's not acting alone;
3. Do not argue with those who support him--it doesn't work;
4. Focus on his policies, not his orange-ness and mental state;
5. Keep your message positive; they want the country to be angry and fearful because this is the soil from which their darkest policies will grow;
6. No more helpless/hopeless talk;
7. Support artists and the arts;
8. Be careful not to spread fake news. Check it;
9. Take care of yourselves; and
10. Resist!

Keep demonstrations peaceful. In the words of John Lennon, "When it gets down to having to use violence, then you are playing the system’s game. The establishment will irritate you - pull your beard, flick your face - to make you fight! Because once they’ve got you violent, then they know how to handle you. The only thing they don’t know how to handle is non-violence and humor."

When you post don't assign his actions to him, assign them to "The Republican Administration," or "The Republicans." This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don't like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections.

This country has lots in can improve upon, no doubt, but Mr. T is wrong. America is already great. His negativity, in the end, can be a unifying positive.