Back in February of 2014 I wrote a post entitled To Dissent. I encourage you to go read it, but I want to quote the final paragraph of that post:
The times are always tumultuous for dissent, now more than ever. But if we are to regain the balance between the government and the people, if we are to take charge of the destiny of our societies and our species, if we are to make a better life for ourselves and our children, if we are to proactively look towards the future instead of reactively running from it, if we are to continue to rise to the challenges provided to us as intelligent, sentient beings, then we must on occasion stand and make ourselves heard, even if our legs are shaking – especially when our legs are shaking – because to not do so is to disregard and dishonor the great gifts bestowed upon us by those who have courageously done so in the past.
Hannah Arendt is perhaps most famous for her discussion of what she termed the ‘banality of evil.’ In studying how the atrocities perpetuated by Germany under control of the Nazis came about, she reached the conclusion that great evil can only come about through the compliance of the people; that the truly bad can only happen when good people put their heads down and, whether from fear, or tiredness, or dismay allow it to unfold unchecked.
And we are seeing it now. Many people are looking at the great disaster that will undoubtedly be the Trump presidency and are throwing up their hands in despair. President Obama and Hillary Clinton are urging a peaceful transition of power. Our representatives in Congress and the Senate are already discussing how they will seek to work peacefully with the other side. The news media is already acquiescing to the new normal of managed information and propaganda. The future is looking darker than many of us have ever seen it; darker than the Bush years, or even Reagan . There indeed may be no way to climb out of the hole this time, when it it all said and done and we find ourselves in the brave new world of runaway climate change. So why bother?
Here is why we bother: We bother because it is our duty to do so. We bother because it is our duty to our children and future generations to do so. We bother because it is our duty to those who bothered before us to do so. We bother because it is our duty to the freedom and rights of all people to do so. We bother because it is our duty as sentient beings to do so. And in the end, we bother because it is our duty to ourselves to do so.
It is very hard to stand and be the nail that will be hammered down. But the great labor leaders of the past did it. Those who marched for women’s suffrage did it. Those who fought to end Jim Crow did it. Those who fought for civil rights did it. Those who occupied Wall Street did it. Many, many people in history have done it when it needed to be done. Are we no less?
So my message to you now is to not despair, but to resist. In any way you can, no matter how small you can. Resist. When those enabled by Trump come to take people away, resist. When those enabled by Trump come for the public land, resist. When those enabled by Trump come for the environment, resist. When those enabled by Trump come for your civil rights, or the rights of others, resist. When those enabled by Trump come for a woman’s right to chose, resist. When those enabled by Trump come for your right to vote, resist.When those enabled by Trump come for your right to speak freely, resist. And when those around you try to bury their heads in the sand and expect the same from you in the name of peace, resist. Especially when that happens, resist. Because great evil can only occur when we all give in to it. So don’t. Be on the right side of history. Resist.