Fighting for civil rights before, during and after is part of the resistance for many
By: Keegan O’Brien*/Special to TRT—
On Friday, January 20, Donald Trump will be sworn in as President of the United States. A man who’s encouraged his supporters to physically attack protesters and bragged about sexually assaulting and harassing women will soon occupy the most powerful office in the country. Mass deportations, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations, racist policing and mass incarceration, mandatory government registration for Muslim Americans, and wholesale attacks on reproductive healthcare and abortion rights have all been promised features of the incoming Trump administration. Think it’s all talk? Just take a look at Trump’s cabinet, a parade of extreme right-wing Neanderthals, Christian fundamentalists, and white nationalists who will be working hand-in-hand with a Republican-controlled Congress.
Unfortunately, the loudest message coming from the Democratic Party, including President Obama and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is one of cooperation with Trump and his administration. But what is there to cooperate with? His promise to deport three million undocumented workers? His pledge to overturn Roe vs. Wade? His attacks on unions and social programs? As frustrating as the Democratic Party’s response may be, any serious look at the past eight years sheds light on the role they’ve played in laying the basis for Trump’s rise to power. For the past eight years, the Obama administration and the Democratic Party have been the party of Wall Street bailouts, neo-liberal austerity and budget cuts, mass deportations and border militarization, increased police power, and a general refusal to do anything to seriously address the social crisis being experienced by working class and poor people. Obama’s policies have put in place the machinery that Trump’s administration will expand and intensify. In addition, Clinton ran a campaign that said “America is already great” at a time when most Americans are suffering badly. In this context Trump was able to sell his biggest scam of all: that he was an alternative to the status quo that would stand up and fight for the little person. But that won’t happen.
Trump supporters are not in the majority. Only 25 percent of eligible voters supported him. The overwhelming majority of people oppose his message of bigotry and hate. He lost the popular vote by nearly three million votes. As terrifying as the next four years may seem, there’s nothing inevitable about how they will play out if the majority of people who oppose Trump and his agenda of hate get organized and fight back.
The far right is more emboldened after Trump’s election and the country is becoming more deeply polarized, but America is not turning right-wing. Left-wing ideas and protest movements are also growing. Less than a year ago, 12 million people voted for a socialist when Bernie Sanders nearly won the Democratic Primary. Immediately after Trump was elected, hundreds of thousands of people in cities and college campuses across the country flooded the streets in protest.
Our side is the majority and we have the power to stop Trump’s agenda but it will require that we get organized and fight back just like the millions of people who took to the streets of South Korea for consecutive days of mass protest and forced their newly elected right-wing president to step down. We won’t be able to stop Trump from becoming president, but we can build a mass movement that opposes him at every step he takes. That starts on January 20, Inauguration Day, and continues on Jan 21 for the Women’s March on Washington. Activists are mobilizing, heading to D.C., and organizing local protests. Get on the bus, tell your friends, and join us. The resistance starts now and we need you.
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*Keegan O’Brien is a queer socialist activist and writer from Boston who recently graduated from the University of Massachusetts Boston with a Master’s degree in Education. His writing has appeared in The Nation, Electronic Intifada, Jacobin Magazine, Socialist Worker, and the International Socialist Review.