The following essay was written by an Eclectablog reader who wishes to remain anonymous.
Is this a sprint or a marathon?
I recently texted a local elected official and suggested he lead a protest against the latest Trump attack on American morality, the Muslim Ban. The official responded that we had just had a massive protest against Trump and that this was a ‘marathon not a sprint’.
Let’s just say that my response is unprintable. But, here’s the PG version:
You’re wrong! (that was definitely not the language I used) This is about momentum and strength. We had 4.5 million people in the streets last weekend, and he shrugged it off. In fact, he doubled down. This was to be expected. Despots have a favorite tool: POWER. They use it, and they fear it. While this isn’t necessarily true with Trump, for many of them, it’s the only thing they understand.
His actions this week, from his tweets to his Executive Orders to his statements on the UN, the Wall, trade, Mexico, Brexit, and the military were largely a response to our actions last weekend. He saw our strength, and he raised us.
To continue the poker analogy, we now need to decide how good our hand is relative to his. He’s clearly not bluffing. He has considerable ability to follow through on his promises. The soulless GOP majority in Congress has already capitulated, and the Dem minority doesn’t appear ready to play the role of obstructionists that the situation demands.
But, now is not the time to fold. In poker, when you have the best possible hand, they say you have the ‘nut hand’ or, for short, ‘the nuts.’ It means that regardless of what the other guy has, you can’t lose.
That’s exactly the situation we find ourselves in right now. The vast majority of Americans know that the American Experiment was predicated on the notion that all people are created equal, regardless of how imperfectly that concept has been realized. They know that the rights to worship freely, raise our families safely, and pursue our general happiness are at the core of what it means to be American and that we have always been a beacon for people around the world looking to make a better life for themselves and their children.
We teach it in our schools. We inscribe it on the hallowed walls of our institutions and monuments. We even print it on our money. It’s fundamental to our way of life. And, as we showed last week, millions upon millions of us will march, chant, sing, and fight to preserve it. We’ve got the nuts.
Trump knows and respects power. He’ll be disdainful of calls from the left to resist him with strategy and tactics. He thinks he’s the smartest person on the planet. Just ask him. And, frankly, he’s just beaten our strategy and tactics. It’s fair to say he has good reason to expect he can do so repeatedly. That leaves us with power.
His response to last week’s Women’s March proves he’s obsessed with size and appearances – as if we didn’t know that already. He saw our power, was afraid, and lashed out irrationally. The news cycle was filled with clear evidence that he lives in another reality with its own norms and ‘alternative facts’.
We’ve identified his weakness and one way to exploit it – massive shows of popular dissent. We can’t let that go. We are Stronger Together (hmmm, that’s catchy) and need to continue to use it to our advantage.
Obviously, we can’t expect millions of people to gather in DC every weekend. But, fortunately we don’t need that. If we can’t get Muhammed to the mountain, let’s take the mountain to Muhammed – yeah, I know that’s backwards, but you get my point, and how could I pass up a Muhammed reference? Lots of small, spontaneous protests can have the same effect.
Grab a few friends and some homemade signs. Hop on Twitter and Facebook, and invite a few more. There will be 50 or 100 people before you know it. Go to a visible public place like a post office, airport, or if you live in a place so unfortunate as to have one, a Trump property. Chant, march, and wave signs. Ask passing cars to honk. Bring kids. More people will join you.
Don’t believe it can work? Look at what happened in just the past 24 hours. He issued an Executive Order, people took to the streets all over the country opposing it, and his administration was forced to amend it. He blinked.
You don’t have to have a million people. You just need to keep the momentum going. Are you too busy? Really? Too busy to fight for your freedom? If you ever sat in history class and wondered how you would have responded if you lived in Germany in the 1930’s, think about what your plans are for today. Now you know.