We shall overcome

Rebecca Solnit writes: The resistance is an oft-used shorthand for all the forms of opposition, though many of them are institutions – the judiciary, the states, cities – that would probably not embrace the term. But they are opposing, overturning, and interfering. In several cases this spring, state courts and the Supreme Court have ruled against gerrymandering and other forms of discrimination against voters of color and voting rights.

The Ninth Circuit court ruled against the travel ban this week, one of several interventions against it in the courts. And 17 state attorney generals filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court against the ban. Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit this week accusing Trump of violating the emoluments clauses by accepting foreign income through his businesses, the subject of myriad lawsuits and complaints filed by Crew (Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington).

On June 12, a judge granted a temporary reprieve to Dreamer Jessica Colotl, whose deportation protection had been revoked. More than 2,000 mayors, governors, college presidents, and other leaders have signed a pledge “to declare that we will continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement.”

Democrats in the legislative branch of government has been mocking Trump, from the proposed Covefefe Act (it’s an acronym for Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically For Engagement, but also a joke about a peculiar tweet of Trump’s including that word, or nonword) that would ban him from deleting tweets on the grounds that they’re presidential records to Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer’s videotaped parody of Trump’s cabinet meeting in which all members dutifully praised him. (Writers J.K. Rowling called Trump out for his pettily vindictive response to killings in London. Even Smirmoff Vodka got a dig in with an ad that said “we’d be happy to talk about our ties to Russia under oath.”)

Senator Kamala Harris has gone after Attorney General Jeff Sessions hard (despite male senators who keep trying to hush her up). Congresswoman Maxine Waters is demanding impeachment. And Congress is holding hearings about the Trump administration’s relationship with the Russian government and its coverups.

Last week fired FBI director James Comey ripped the president to shreds as a liar, a creep, and an incompetent manipulator of truth and staff, and since then things have gotten worse for the administration. The Russia scandal could contaminate Pence, as well as Trump, Jared Kushner, and Sessions.

In the media, Rachel Maddow of liberal MSNBC has beat Fox to the number one spot in cable-news prime time. Fox is in disarray, with its star Bill O’Reilly forced out after a series of sexual-harrassment charges. Brilliant organizing by the Twitter-based group Sleeping Giants has pushed advertisers to abandon Sean Hannity’s show after the Fox host pushed conspiracy theories about the death of Seth Rich, despite Rich’s parents pleas to desist.

Breitbart has lost nearly 90% of its advertisers in another Sleeping Giants victory. Teen Vogue has become a feminist beacon, and other women’s magazines have developed superb political coverage. Newspapers, notably the revamped Washington Post, are doing a superb job investigating and exposing the administration.

The bombshells revelations that dropped one after another in May will long be remembered, perhaps as when the Trump administration fell too far to pick itself up. This month already Forbes exposed the Trump family for figuring out how to skim a profit off donations for children with cancer. USA today revealed that in the past year, “about 70% of buyers of Trump properties were limited liability companies – corporate entities that allow people to purchase property without revealing all of the owners’ names. That compares with about 4% of buyers in the two years before.”

Administrations around the world are figuring out how to work around the administration. The European Union and China are working on moving forward on addressing climate change, while cities and states throughout the USA have made their own commitment to honor the terms of the Paris climate agreement, despite Trump (whose pullout is symbolic, since it goes into effect after the next presidential election; many don’t expect him to serve out one term, let alone win another).

The environmental ministers of the Group of Seven nations are moving forward without EPA head and climate denier Scott Pruitt. The Guardian reported: “The greater “bang-for-buck” resulted from plummeting prices for solar and wind power and led to new power deals in countries including Denmark, Egypt, India, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates all being priced well below fossil fuel or nuclear options.” Trump celebrated coal as part of his backward-looing agenda, but India is cancelling plans to build coal-power plants while South Korea is shutting them down.

Britain rejected Theresa May’s rightwing politics in an election she called that shifted power to Labour; it followed on the heels of centrist Emmanuel Macron’s victory over far-right Marine LePen. Angela Merkel and Macron have made it clear they are happy to assume the mantle of leadership the US has dropped. Vicente Fox, former president of Mexico, keeps trolling Trump online about the wall.

All of this is to say that there is tremendous opposition from many kinds of groups, institutions, and individuals, here and abroad. This doesn’t mean there isn’t suffering and loss. I’ve heard from great organizers who are heartbroken and exhausted; I know Muslims who are fearful; an undocumented woman whose father has been imprisoned by Ice. I am horrified by the defunding of programs to prevent Aids internationally, which could result in a million deaths. And the brutality is real.

I’ve also talked to everyday citizens become activists and longtime organizers who are doing extraordinary things, and who are exhilarated by the solidarity and the possibility – of what we have become together, and of what they themselves have become.

Taking action is the best cure for despair. I’ve listed a little of what officials in the judiciary and legislative branch are doing, the shifts in the media, the response overseas. But it’s the residents of the United States whose response will matter most in the end.

Civil society awoken and arisen is a power adequate to counter the power of an increasingly isolated, confused, frightened and bumbling administration. [Continue reading…]

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