On Jan. 21, the single largest protest in American history occurred in Washington, D.C. Between 3.3 and 4.6 million people participated in the Women’s March to protest the inauguration that had occurred the previous day in an incredible display of solidarity that helped funnel the outrage that would follow the announcements from the White House over the following weeks. The sense of solidarity carried over into lawyers working pro bono in airports to ensure that Muslim citizens were not being unlawfully detained by the TSA. It carried over into state legislatures, where bills such as Massachusetts’ Safe Communities Act are attempting to protect communities of undocumented immigrants and Muslims. And most recently, it carried over into Standing Rock protesters setting up sites in Washington in a multi-day protest, as well as the Sioux Tribe’s planning of an Indigenous People’s March.
What is going on is resistance. It is millions of people protesting an illegitimate president put in power by an outdated system rather than the voice of the people and attempting to prevent him from enacting invasive and unconstitutional policies. However, there will always be more work to be done. As of press time, there are 1,412 days left in his term, barring any circumstances such as impeachment, death or revolution. It is going to be a long and tumultuous struggle and that is why it’s important that we do not grow complacent.
This presidency is not normal. This is not business as usual. This is not how a president should act. Take into consideration his recent Twitter tirade accusing President Barack Obama of wiretapping him in the period leading up to Election Day. The best-case scenario here is that there is an unstable, pathological liar who is willing to spread any conspiracy theory he finds that would gain any iota of sympathy from the people and would smear his predecessor. The worst-case scenario is that he is ignorant enough to post classified intelligence onto a publicly accessible social media site without any actual proof to support his allegations. This is not normal.
Imagine the outcry from conservative groups if President Obama had accused President George W. Bush of wiretapping over Twitter. These same groups are staying willfully silent, and it would be irresponsible for leftists, liberals and moderates alike to act the same way.
We are roughly a month and two weeks into his term, and it is highly unlikely that anything is going to dramatically change in his attitude or actions. He is a 70-year-old man, firmly set in his ways, and nothing is going to change his attitude on immigrants, women, gender minority groups, Muslims or the impoverished. He is going to keep attacking those who he sees as the “others,” unable to protect themselves. We cannot accept this as the new normal. We cannot grow complacent, because the second we accept this as normal is the second that we succumb and lose the fight.
Resistance is key, and resistance goes far beyond making a single call to a legislator and hoping for the best. Resistance is taking to the streets. Resistance is protesting whenever he lashes out against undocumented immigrants or Muslims. Resistance is openly criticizing him and making sure your voices are heard. And, if need be, resistance is becoming ungovernable, because our moral obligation to follow the law ends when those laws become unjust or inspired by prejudice, and we are far past that point.