The Resistance Trilogy, Book 1: The Resistance Awakens
If life was a fictional trilogy, our first year of in the Fight Trump Era just ended with a kick-ass fight scene where the Feds dragged Paul Manafort away in shackles.
Wait…we really did end the first year of the Trump regime with Manafort being indicted. Go, team! Not to mention kicking so much ass on November 7th that we had to make a list!
We’ve won some amazing battles this year. It’s been exhausting, overwhelming, stressful and exhilarating. But we obviously haven’t won the war. We have a long way to go before Book 3 where we triumphantly win the 2020 election and a new leader emerges.
She may be reading this right now…
The Resistance Trilogy, Book 2: The Empire Hits Back
Which brings us to Book 2. You didn’t’ think it would be easy, did you? Obviously, the Evil Empire wants to hit us back (in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy disguised as a gift to the middle class). And they are bringing in the big guns to do it.
Well, they’re bringing in Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Think of them as evil clones in suits even though it’s pushing my Star Wars analogies to the breaking point…
Anyway, this is the year they get more desperate. They are going to pull out all the stops to get what they want. When you’ve already thrown your moral compass out the window and hitched your wagon to someone like Donald Trump, we can expect this year’s fight scenes to be even bloodier and more dangerous.
We have no intention of giving up, but we all have dark days where we feel hopeless. Like the world is spinning out of control and we can’t find our footing. Days where the simple act of turning on the TV fills us with anxiety because we don’t know what fresh hell is coming our way.
I wish I could tell you that this year would be better. That Trump would come to his senses and the world would go back to normal.
But I can’t. Until then, here are some ways other Resistance members are psyching themselves up to fight Trump week after week after week.
Fight Trump with Concrete Actions
I honestly think I’d be insane if I didn’t take some kind of action. Sitting on the couch was never an option for me. Instead, taking specific actions every week has kept me going. And thankfully, we have an amazing team at Suit Up Maine that hands us exactly what we can do every week.
In fact, a call to action (C2A) prepared by Suit Up Maine was viewed more than 14,000 times! Kelli Burton, co-leader of SUM, shares:
“For me, coming here and reading about the actions folks are taking keeps me going. Every time someone share a call to action–from us or any other group–and in the comments, I read ‘DONE!’ over and over…that lights a fire under me to do the same. We shared a great C2A last week on how not to amplify Trump on social media. The FB reach for that broke all records for us…more than 14,000 people viewed that action item. All of that assures me that my actions aren’t happening in a vacuum. I’m not alone. None of us are.”
“What motivates me is a specific action plan — like Indivisible is going to support ‘X’ in the CD2 race or ‘Y’ in the Governor’s race and we’re out knocking on doors, calling, and doing concrete things that will change the balance of power. From what I’ve been reading, ‘movements’ only make a difference when they have a plan to gain (or re-gain) power. SO let’s go for it!”
You can take action any time of the day! Talk about motivation! Here’s a link to Suit Up Maine and what you can do right this second to make a difference.
And if you get tired of making phone calls every day, here’s some advice to jumpstart your tired activist heart!
Don’t Fear the Future – Fight Trump for a Better One
I’ve told this story before, but the day after the election I went to a convenience store and overheard this:
“I’m so happy Trump won. Now we can get that nigger out of the White House.”
For me personally, nothing is more motivating than my desire for my hometown not to turn into a place where it’s okay to be a blatant racist in the middle of town. So when I get tired or just want to take the weekend off, I always remember what we’re fighting for. And I’ll fight every day for my kids (and your kids) future. There’s no taking breaks when it comes to that.
Anne Marie is fighting to prevent our democracy from sliding into authoritarian rule:
“I feel like most of what I am doing is genuinely resistance. I also do other things (like calling/emailing reps about RCV, etc.), but my biggest concern in all of this is that there are major, powerful people and forces literally trying to make this an authoritarian regime — so, for now, I’m unapologetically considering myself in the resistance. And that helps.”
Tobie Gordon adds:
“I want there to be something meaningful left in this world. I want my children to see that when I saw wrong being done in this country, in this world that I didn’t stand silent, that I stood to not just for me, not just for the oppressed but for them and their future children and their children’s children.”
Fear is a powerful motivator. However, Robert Evans Wilson Jr. explains in Psychology Today that we need to use fear the right way:
“Fear can be too powerful to use as a motivator because it can also paralyze – the classic deer in the headlights syndrome. It can work, but there are rules you must follow for it to be successful. To use fear successfully as a motivator, a solution must be offered with it. A new path to follow. You can tell an employee he or she must sell more, but unless you show them how, fear will cause flight or worse: paralysis.”
We definitely want to avoid curling up into a ball and pretending like the Trump Administration doesn’t exist. It’s scary, chaotic, and we’ve all thought about hiding under the bed. Thankfully, we have a solution ready to help us overcome our fear and make a difference (see C2A’s above).
Don’t Let History Repeat Itself
He “eliminated anyone in the country whom he suspected might have dissenting views of any kind.”
He “focused on the ‘enemies’ inside his own party, both real and imaginary”
He “never accepted any form of legal opposition — indeed he never believed that there could be such a thing as constructive opposition at all.”
“Truth was defined by the leader.”
“Everyone and everything that opposed the leader — parties, courts, media — was an ‘enemy of the people.”
Although these statements could be contributed to Trump, it’s actually a description of Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin in 100 years later, Bolshevism is back. And we should be worried. Author Anne Applebaum explains:
“If a system becomes weak enough and the opposition divided enough, if the ruling order is corrupt enough and people are angry enough, extremists can suddenly step into the center, where no one expects them. And after that it can take decades to undo the damage.”
We know the worst things that can happen. And our desire to stop history from repeating itself is motivating many Resisters. Tobie explains:
“History keeps me motivated. I refuse to let our country go backwards. It’s taken us so long to make the progress we have and we still have so far to go. There’s no time for ten steps back.”
Anne Marie sees parallels to past events and shares:
“My biggest concern in all of this is that there are major, powerful people and forces literally trying to make this an authoritarian regime — so for now, I’m unapologetically considering myself in the resistance. And that helps make me feel connected to the European resistance workers in the 30s and 40s and draw strength and inspiration from them.”
Carla understands that our struggle needs to be put into perspective:
“What motivates me is awareness of U.S. and global history and all the struggles others have gone through (and are) that often required sacrifice on a scale most 21st Americans can’t even imagine. We need perspective on how ‘hard’ our battle is.”
Looking to history is a great way to stay motivated to fight Trump. Not only do we learn what could happen if we sit back and do nothing, we also see amazing people who have done extraordinary things.
What Can You Do For Your Country?
“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” – John F. Kennedy
It’s the feeling deep in your gut that keeps you awake at night. It’s the question that has motivated every single action I’ve taken during the past year:
“If not now, when? If not you, who?”
For some of us, it’s never been a question of why me. It’s the simple understanding that there is no reason on the planet that I can’t be the one to change things. That I have something valuable to give and that I can make a difference. And I’m not alone in seeing that it’s my personal responsibility, in this place and time, to do whatever I can to help.
When asked about motivation, DE Whit simply explained:
Others, like Kay Watson, are motivated by the inequality seen around the country:
“There are people out there who don’t get to take a break because they are black, poor, trans, gay/lesbian, Muslim, women, immigrants, and the list goes on. Until the day THOSE people have the choice not to fight, I will keep fighting too.“
Karen sees the damage done and knows people are being hurt:
“It seems like *everything* we believe is important and vital, is being dismantled or whittled away. Yes, we had a “victory” on health care – but Trump destroyed the ACA anyway and there is no replacement. People will be hurt this year. But if we don’t do our bit, who will? If we don’t keep up the fight, who will?“
Some may feel like we did such an amazing job electing Democrats and passing Maine’s Medicaid Expansion that we’re out of the woods. That we can let our guard down. But now isn’t the time to look away. It’s the time to dig deep.
The stakes are just too high.
Stay Energized by Your Community
Anyone else feel the energy at the polls on November 7th?
As I was collecting signatures for Maine AllCare, I asked our standard question to a lovely older lady:
“Are you in favor of universal healthcare?”
The next thing I knew, she had practically knocked over other people to grab a pen and sign. It was a total Ninja move. She was so excited that we were there and doing something. She found our tribe and instantly made a connection. She’s probably out there right now telling all her friends that universal healthcare is coming to Maine. And maybe it’s not coming today, but it’s coming nonetheless.
And that’s how community works. It’s knowing that you found your place in the world. And for us Resisters, our communities have made all the difference.
Jen explains how her group fuels her activist fire:
“I’m motivated by the other people in our groups. Their determination and recommendations about which actions to take when are super helpful. And hearing people’s personal stories lights a fire within me. Injustice makes me want to act.”
Cheryl wanted to act and her group helped her do that:
“Finding this group and joining other SUM group gave me a place to help and to not only feel like that help was making a difference but to see that it was. This group has given me a place to not only post political issue but to discuss them and to be involved in helping find ways to address the issue.”
And there’s more. Jean has had strangers come up and say thank you:
“You guys all keep me going, and also all the people in parking lots. etc., who see the RESIST sticker on my car and make a point to tell me how proud they are of us! And for us to keep going!”
Patricia has learned the art of resisting from her group:
“What motivates me is being part of an active group who has access to expert advice in how to resist. There is both strength and inspiration in seeing good, wise people actually doing this hard work!!!!! <3″
Deb shares a timely quote by Margaret Mead:
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, concerned citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has.”
And Kay shares that our community keeps her going, even on the days when she’s so tired of fighting:
“Most days I’m exhausted and it’s too easy to feel like you’re all alone trying to fight this behemoth. And then I open Facebook and I see all the groups and their tireless leaders, rallying the troops day in and day out and I realize I’m not even close to alone, in this. We have so many incredible people, just regular everyday folks, who are literally driving this resistance and it’s empowering as hell.
My resolve strengthens and my to-do list doubles. Every single one of us actively involved in resisting this dumpster fire of an administration are part of something bigger than just our own individual efforts, and I think we’re just starting to see the scope of how powerful we really are. 10 months into what should have already led us to authoritarian rule, and regressives haven’t even passed a SINGLE piece of meaningful legislation.
Make no mistake folks, that’s because of YOU. When it comes to this Resistance, the whole is definitely greater than the sum of its parts <3″
And if that’s not enough to keep your Resistance batteries charged, just remember the “we” in YES, WE CAN.
We’re Still Writing Book 2…
To get to the last book in our Resistance trilogy, we have to survive this year. I jokingly titled Book 2: The Empire Hits Back. But they will try to strike us back on every level, in every town across the country. And we’re so used to the chaos that we hardly blink when he tweets lies on a daily basis.
We just think “of course, he did” and move on to the next item on our C2A list. Yet this is not the time to stop paying attention or to rest on our laurels. We may have enough momentum to fight Trump, but the odds will not be in our favor until we win back sanity in 2018.
Which means we have a very difficult road to victory in 2018. We need to stay motivated and we need to keep fighting. And we need to lean on each other for motivation.
Because we’re just getting started.