Like most people I imagine, when I study history and see evil things happen, societies transformed from peaceable, calm, good prosperous, places to live to places where people are enslaved, abused, mistreated or massacred, I like to imagine myself as part of the Resistance. Fighting with the French Resistance in World War II, spying for the North in the Civil War, fighting with the Lakota Sioux against Custer, or going back even farther, fighting with the Incans against Pizarro and against the evil empire of Qin Shi Huang in China. I see myself leading the Underground forces, plotting disruptive activities agains the people trying to destroy my country and do bad things to the people. Yet, today I am sitting at my computer while Trump and his administration try to : Strip health care from people who will die without it to make money for rich people, pollute and destroy the earth to make money for rich people, encourage racism and sexism and homophobia and religious bigotry and violence, sell public lands to make money for rich people, allow anyone—even the mentally ill, to buy guns to make money for rich people, destroy the public school system to make money for rich people, destroy democracy with voter suppression, secrecy, discrediting the media, and possibly obstruction of justice and treason.
When is it time to take to the streets? How far did the people in Nazi Germany allow the government to go before they stood up? Did they ever, or was it too late before they reached the conclusion they could not tolerate the atrocities. How bad does it have to get? What do they have to do? What happens if in America your neighbors start disappearing? Will you just idly wonder until your neighborhood is mostly vacant and they come for you?
We have seen what one evil, determined person who uses Us vs Them skillfully can accomplish. And Trump is skilled at one thing, creating division and enmity and hate. We all know it is to the advantage of the rich amongst us to keep those of us in the lower 99% at each other’s throats so we will not turn on them. I truly thought we were smarter and, more importantly, better than that. Evidently I was wrong.
Racism is rampant in our country to the point where people bristle at the name of an organization called “Black Lives Matter.” So evidently it is okay in modern America to be against that. If a black person, usually a man, but quite a few women, is killed by police for nothing it is okay because they are black which is viewed by far too many Americans as a crime in and of itself. Hate crimes and public incidences of racial harassment have increased drastically since Trump was elected.
The LGBTQ community is under attack in pubic and behind legislative doors, protections put in place under the Obama administration are being erased. Remember our Vice President Pence wanted to require a jail sentence for those who entered into a same sex marriage.
The media is under attack, with people being arrested for covering protests, being accused of sharing “fake news” if it is critical of the right wing in any way and the ignorant, poorly educated in most cases, followers of Trump believe it. Go on any Facebook discussion and look at the formulaic responses given by right wing posters. People who believe what they want to believe regardless of the facts are not just zealots, they are dangerous.
The government is attempting to inject religion into every aspect of public life , including education, both K-12 and higher education. The new “Christians”, more like the Taliban than they seem to realize, are determined to make our country into a theocracy, something the Founding Fathers , although flawed morally themselves, warned against as dangerous to a democracy. Controlling women’s bodies and everyone’s sex lives and insisting on punishing those who are not Christian—ever hear of the Inquisition? What is next? Genital mutilation to keep women “virtuous?” Public stocks for those committing adultery? Cutting off hands if you steal? We have a museum about 70 miles from my home that portrays the earth as only 6,000 years old and has tableaux that show that its creators and visitors think “The Flintstones” was a documentary, that people actually did ride dinosaurs. It has a reproduction Ark that could hold about maybe .1% of the creatures of the earth, but that is okay, they probably believe Noah was given the ability to shrink the animals to amoeba size and put them in tiny bottles. These people do not believe in science, but they do believe in magic as in forty days of rain making the earth flood and women getting pregnant by a deity while remaining a virgin. Education is not their friend since so much of what they believe has been debunked long ago by scholars. They depend on their information on a book written by various authors of a paternalistic society in the Bronze Age. They are also, almost to a person, seriously racist and sexist and homophobic.
In other words, knowledge, attitudes, facts, and beliefs and mores we thought were established in a more enlightened era are, once again, under attack. There are actually movements to rewrite history in school textbooks, making slavery a job program for immigrant blacks and Moses one of the Founding Fathers. Most of us laugh at these people, but they are determined and working hard to turn back the clock in this country to a time of hunters and gatherers. In their world if you do not agree with a fact you can simply say it is not a fact, no proof necessary. Regression to an age of ignorance and superstition unprecedented in my lifetime and encouraged by Trump and his evil empire is a reality. He recently appointed Jerry Falwell Jr to head a committee on revamping higher education. Let that sink in.
So, we have to do something. Everyone I know of from the left is depending on the tried and true, demonstration, letter writing, voter education and getting out the vote in the 2018 midterm elections. All that might work if you were dealing with ethical, rational people, but we are not, we are dealing with a coalition of white supremacists, religious zealots, sexists, misogynists, homophobic, gun nuts, unethical, irrational, ignorant , the greedy and totally corrupt folks. They will do anything to get their way and evidently democracy is one of those fluid facts that you can believe in or not. .
I watched a PBS program last night on ancient China. It was an object lesson for our times. An evil emperor had come to power and was skilled at some things, unlike our completely incompetent leader, but was a despot. He was over thrown and the people began to adhere to the principles set forth by the scholar Confucius. He had simple tenets for a good government; ethical, humanitarian, educated leadership. The leader had to set the standard of character, he had to have educated government leaders and the citizens had to be taken care of—and taught to take care of each other, and unified in making the country prosperous, safe and ethical. Our leader would not have passed the smell test for being a leader under the philosophy that led to the Golden Age of China.
Unless and until Americans reject the politics of hate and division and stop being so concerned with money above anything else we will not have another Golden Age, instead we are headed for the Dark Ages and coming closer to being a Third World Country. Wake up folks before it is too late history is trying to ring the alarm bell and we are sleeping through it.