Wednesday, December 6, 2017

What Will It Take?

Remember last fall? Even election night and the days right after it?

I pre-mourned a lot at the time. I mourn and act now, but in some ways I'm numb, too. I can't even find a local protest on the tax bill to attend.

Anyway... just now I was looking through past posts related to Jonathan Haidt for something I want to write about morality, and I came across this post of mine from October 1, 2016. It quotes writer Rebecca Solnit at length about "what if" Trump wins:

Don't imagine that Trump will be some joke we can sort of override or that the people in charge of carrying out his orders revolt against them. Remember that government workers rounded up Japanese-Americans when ordered to do so, under a president most people are inclined to admire, and that the loss of rights and possessions still traumatizes survivors and their children 75 years later. Remember that few besides Daniel Ellsberg revealed the lies behind the Vietnam War (one of his colleagues told Ellsberg he would, but then he couldn't send his kid to Groton, weighing prep school against hundreds of thousands of deaths and coming down in favor of the former), remember that Snowden was virtually alone in revealing what tens of thousands of NSA employees and contractors knew about the violation of our privacy.

Don't count on the revolt or the resistance. It's too iffy, and it depends on a kind of mass disobedience we've never seen, from people sworn to obedience. Remember that evil is often carried out by stages, and many people adjust stage by stage, rationalize, conform. That's how rational, obedient people exterminated my father's relations in Europe 75 years ago.

This is not to say that there is nothing to fight under a Clinton administration, just that some things—reproductive rights, attacks on Muslims in the U.S.—won't be on the table, and there are things we can fight and win, just as we fought Obama on the Keystone XL pipeline and won. On climate we can push for the agenda we need, and her climate proposals are inadequate but have many positive things. With Trump, we finish the destruction of the planet that advanced so far under eight disastrous oil-soaked years of Bush.
Solnit was right. The post-inauguration resistance may have been a bit stronger than she was predicting, but we haven't had enough effect yet, either... we haven't tucked our bodies into the gears of the machine to stop it from operating (to use Bayard Rustin's way of putting it).

What will it take?


Life these days is a constant series of flashbacks. Here's what I wrote the day after the election last year.

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