By David Cortright
More than five weeks after the political tsunami and many of are still living in a state of denial.
It’s understandable and even commendable in one sense: we must never accept Trump and the hatred and bigotry for which he stands as normal.
We must never consent to our democracy being subverted by a foreign power, to a government run by those who reject science and disdain the poor and needy.
Yet we also need to be realistic and must prepare ourselves for the ordeal that lies ahead.
Think of it this way. A giant destructive storm looms on the horizon and is about to come crashing into our lives. We must batten down the hatches and prepare to protect ourselves and the most vulnerable.
We don’t know the exact shape of the disaster that awaits, but we know enough from what Trump has said and some of the people he has appointed to anticipate the dangers we likely face:
- Deportations of refugees and immigrants and the further scapegoating of Muslims and people of color,
- Renunciation of the Paris climate pact and the gutting of emission standards and renewable energy programs,
- Decimation of the Affordable Care Act and attempts to undermine Medicare,
- Major tax cuts for the wealthy combined with cuts in vital social spending.
To meet these and other challenges coordinated action will be necessary among national social action organizations and coalitions. Movements for change will need to cooperate as never before to facilitate effective action and strategic messaging on campaigns to protect the vulnerable and defend the environment.
It is time for resistance, for acts of radical, even revolutionary, patriotism. We need to re-think our priorities and put our bodies and souls on the line. Business as usual is no longer an option.
In times of severe social stress, extraordinary measures are necessary. Civil disobedience has a noble tradition in this country and we may need to embrace it again now. We are called to follow the example and words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in defying unjust policies through disciplined nonviolent resistance.
The specific strategies and tactics for defending against the onslaught will emerge in the coming weeks. For now we need to start preparing ourselves to be ready to weather the whirlwind.Φ
David Cortright is an American scholar and peace activist. He is Director of Policy Studies at the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame and Chair of the Board of the Fourth Freedom Forum.