Marching up Fifth Avenue on Saturday, November 12th with about 10,000 other protesters was both familiar and surreal. It was familiar because it’s been happening for decades: antiwar marches, the Nuclear Freeze Movement, campaigns for human rights, and movements to stop the political right from taking away human rights. The protest marches go on and on with millions of people, but we have never faced the potential for fascism and repression as we do now. The end of a habitable world is possible. Many people inquired on the subway and streets of New York City asking where and when the demonstration would begin and what its objectives were. This is in the city that was hit so hard by the September 2001 attacks, but the city still maintains its open-minded spirit. Demonstrations like this one were taking place across the U.S.
We marched on Fifth Avenue where Trump boasted that he could shoot someone and still get votes.
Michael Cohen argues in the Guardian that
Last, they cannot forget that even though Trump will be sleeping in the White House, America remains a Democratic nation. Hillary Clinton will almost certainly end up winning the popular vote, perhaps by more than a million votes (“Progressives need not lose heart- we are still a Democratic nation,” November 13, 2016).
Sanguine about impending doom is the best name to put on this capitulation at this point. It was as if the concession and congratulatory speeches by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama would lead Mr. Trump to become conciliatory on any one of his reprehensible and far-right policy positions. This is the President-elect who has denigrated, humiliated, and insulted everyone from disabled people to women and immigrants. His worst demeaning language has been used against those he has allegedly approached sexually and have fended off his advances. And since his narcissism knows no normal bounds, he has threatened those who dare to raise their voices against him with lawsuits. This is the U.S. in the 21st century, and it’s not a pretty picture!
Trump will place a fossil fuel company shill as head of the EPA and has announced plans for deporting massive numbers of immigrants. The Guardian reports that “Trump plans to deport 3 million criminal immigrants,” (November 13, 2016). And in an interview with CBS, he boasted in his usual right-wing bluster that he knows how to bar more immigrants from entering the U.S. because his construction expertise [sic] will help his administration build the wall along the U.S. border with Mexico. Some may wonder if he’ll pay those contractors and workers to build the wall and fence he envisions, or leave them in the desert, or on the banks of the Rio Grande empty handed? Will he send the bill to Mexico?
His list of probable advisers and appointees to key posts will include Bolton, Sessions, Palin, Christie, Giuliani, and assorted other Know Nothings and neofascists who will dismantle the government and leave only the military and police powers of the government intact. According to the Guardian (November 13, 2016), Trump will name Stephen Bannon as his “chief strategist and senior counselor.” Bannon, head of Trump’s campaign, has a website that carried racist, anti-Semitic and sexiest propaganda on it (“Bannon and Priebus to lead Trump White House”). It will not be the smiling form of fascism that some predicted under Reagan and Bush II, but a repressive regime that sows its might across the globe like a Biblical prophecy and allows the 1 percent, through additional tax cuts and unregulated business practices, to live like an ancient ruling elite while the environment burns up around their final global bonfire.
On military matters, after Trump attacks Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, Obamacare, the Supreme Court, and a whole host of social welfare programs, John Bolton or Mike Pence may spearhead a vicious policy of war making that will make the Democrats look like Mahatma Gandhi. Particularly troubling is expanded war in the Middle East. Iran will be in their crosshairs before day one of a Trump administration. Only those with expansive imaginations can guess where the warmongers will go then.
There is only one force that will resist the reaction that will come. That force was on the streets on Saturday in Manhattan and in other places across this nation. It is the same force that drove the Sanders’ campaign and was apparent in campaigns in what came to be known as down-ticket candidates. It is the voice and fervor of the young (and others) who have less to risk and much to gain from a reinvented world order. This is not to minimize risks, however, of a reactionary government. There will be risks even for the fearless and those committed to the idealism that may be the only bar to the unimaginable. A militarized police force and even the military could be used in a Trump administration. Judging from his campaign rallies, fascists and violent racists may be emboldened to act. The Southern Poverty Law Center has already received reports of physical assaults on people.Trump has threatened to push for libel laws against journalists, which would end the First Amendment protection of a free press.
The ancient Roman satirist Juvenal said that
The public has long since cast off its cares: the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things: bread and circuses.
Trump will have no epiphany of conscience. No holy voice from above will admonish him to mend his ways. He will never act to humanize himself or the world he lives in. Abbie Hoffman said in the last speech he gave at Vanderbilt University before his death that “The young must be there.” It is only through their resolve and the resolve of many, many others that we may yet be saved.