The important thing is to keep saying no to each new outrage, and not to become complacent or inattentive.
The American courts have given us an extraordinary victory this week. It would be heartening to imagine that this brave and sensible ruling by an independent judiciary – Judge James Robart of Washington state and the three judges at the ninth circuit court of appeals – against Donald Trump’s odious travel ban has sent an instructive and influential message to Washington. But it would also be naive.
The would-be autocrat and his cronies remain determined to turn our nation into a racist, kleptocratic dictatorship run entirely by (and for the benefit of) white male billionaires.
On Thursday night, the news showed the daughter of Guadalupe García de Rayos break down in tears as she described packing a suitcase for her mother to take with her when she was deported to Mexico. I thought of how the European Jews, deported to Poland by the Nazis, were instructed to take with them only the possessions they could fit into a small valise.
Meanwhile we have yet to persuade the working-class voters who elected Trump that their leader is not acting in their best interests, and that their very real economic problems are not the fault of industrious immigrants or uppity women.
So the hard work remains before us. A national day of opposition (no work, no travel, no spending) has been called for 17 February. A women’s strike is scheduled for 8 March. On Earth Day, scientists will be marching on Washington, and I’ve heard reports of a labor strike planned for 1 May.
But even as we support these protests, it seems just as important to define resistance as widely and as broadly as we can.
A phone call or visit to the office of one’s congressional representative is an act of resistance. Everyone who knits or wears a pink pussy hat is resisting, as are the ACLU and the Dakota pipeline protesters, as were the lawyers who set up pop-up immigration-law offices in our nation’s airports when the travel ban went into effect.
The thousand Yemeni grocers who staged a one-day shut down of bodegas on 2 February in New York City were resisting in a strong and meaningful way. The Utah citizens who shouted “Your last term!” at the House oversight committee chairman, Jason Chaffetz, during a town hall meeting in Salt Lake City were resisting. The 97 companies – Apple, Google, eBay, Microsoft, Netflix and Twitter, among others – suing Trump to reverse the immigration ban are resisting.
Everyone can do something; each of us should do as much as we can. And no one should feel guilty for not doing something else – or something more. The important thing is to keep saying no to each new outrage, and not to become complacent or inattentive.