Here is a 2017 New Year resolution you might want to give a thought: stand up to the bullying of the GOP and the establishment Democratic Party during the four-year tenure of Donald Trump’s presidency that looms over us now, or see America go down the rabbit hole.
All progressives will concur that 2016 has been a year from hell. It was the stuff of pulp fiction meeting dystopia. But while you do have a right to be surprised, you have no reason to be shocked. It was a long time coming. The new century has seen us go nowhere further than starting an unnecessary and brutal war in Iraq and make no progress in any of the world’s major conflicts other than aggravating them; lead the world to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, the aftereffects of which continue to this day and which will continue for a long time; and, finally, fail to address the concerns raised by the explosive revelations of Edward Snowden who told us that our privacy has been intruded and maneuvered with constantly and indiscriminately, as reported by The Guardian.
That George Orwell was not just kidding.
Even true conservatives, barring the organic mirth they might have felt watching the Democratic Party’s leadership embarrassing themselves during the election campaign, have been left truly astounded with the political developments of the last year. They have seen a man with no political inheritance or experience barge into the Republican spectrum, say things which would embarrass them in front of their children, turn suspicion of the other into a grotesque anxiety about one’s own well-being. A man who has attempted to turn the people of United States against American institutions like the free press, and one who constantly sparks an unrest about our future. Donald Trump has had an ongoing feud with several well-known newspapers, including The New York Times and The Washington Post. They have seen a reality nutcase businessman steamroll the GOP leadership into bowing down to him. They have seen ideology defeated by pragmatism.
They have seen Russia, their perpetual enemy, turn the U.S. election on its head by allegedly orchestrating the cyber-attacks on American servers under the shrewd and heavy-handed leadership of Vladmir Putin, an act which John McCain called an “act of war,” and yet they have to make do with Donald Trump. The man they won’t trust their daughter with is now the President of Good Ol’ United States.
But for the progressives, the 2016 U.S. election was like a nightmare that never ended. It had its share of hopes of course, with Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, an independent outsider with a history of pro-people activism, almost beating the Clinton machine on the backs of financial support from seven million Americans, and political support from many more. He was only to be ousted in an underhanded manner by the Democratic Party establishment, every single constituent of which was already selfishly eyeing their part of the cherry once Hillary Clinton made it into the White House even before the primaries began.
That was not to be, and a rude shock was to awake them.
Eventually progressives saw a man, who, if it was up to him, could single-handedly turn the clock several decades back ascending to the White House. They saw a xenophobic, narcissist playboy tap into the very real feeling of insecurity gripping several Americans because of years of Wall Street plundering and a systematic weakening of America’s public institutions at the hands of an acerbic corporate environment, which knows no limits. It only devours on the principles of neoliberalism. The world is a market with the orange man at its head.
Corporate America has well and truly entered American politics.
So what do the progressives do now? With Donald Trump presidency threatening to undo years of civil liberties and structural advancements, with America threatening to become an oligarchy that is run by a bunch of globalists, progressives have little option but to take their complaining out of their living rooms and into the streets.
Journalist Dan Arel, writing in The Hill,urged progressives and liberals not to be bullied by Donald Trump during his tenure and to continue to raise their voices against any infringement of civil liberties. Because if we once begin to retreat and willingly give up our civil liberties, it won’t be long before a fundamentalist ideology begins to corrode the multi-race, multicultural American identity.
“Any resistance to Trump that has a chance of working will not come from lawmakers but from the radical left in the streets and the few more radicals elected to local governments outside of Washington.
“State leaders willing to make their cities or states sanctuary cities for immigrants — or entire state governments, such as the one in California — sent a clear message they will not be bullied by Trump and will defy any action of his that will set forward, progressive progress backward. This is especially true on the issues of immigration and climate change.
“These local governments are useful tools, but even they are outnumbered. Leftists in the streets, on the other hand, can be the loudest force for change. They have the ability to create change in their communities.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore agrees. Deriving from Bernie Sanders’ call earlier urging young students and grassroots activists to start becoming part of the political process, Moore urged progressives to start making their voices heard.
“It’s time to stop carping about politicians and become one. But a different kind of one! We have no choice. We’ve left it to others – yes, Democrats – and they are inept and continual losers. Haven’t you had enough? Run for office, any office!”
There is only one way for progressives out from the mess that is Donald Trump. Progressives need to fight. It is all very well to crib about Donald Trump’s presidency, but it is because we have hardly done anything to stop someone like Donald Trump from becoming president. So it is time to agitate, to not let go of our civil liberties, time to fight for justice, and keep registering our protest in peaceful ways against every infringement that is made on our political or cultural freedom during the Trump era. Whether it’s on the streets or on the internet.
“Election days come and go. But political and social revolutions that attempt to transform our society never end. They continue every day, every week and every month in the fight to create a nation of social and economic justice. That’s what the trade union movement is about. That’s what the civil rights movement is about. That’s what the women’s movement is about. That’s what the gay rights movement is about. That’s what the environmental movement is about.”
“It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end,” Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote. If progressives don’t start standing for their rights now, it will to be too late.
[Featured Image by Andrew Burton/Getty Images]