I was a teacher at an International School in Iran in 1979. My friends and I went to a demonstration against the Shah. The crowd was estimated at two million. It was a peaceful march led by students. Many students carried flowers that they offered to the troops who were lining the streets. The crowd was lively and positive. Then something unexpected happened. A number of soldiers lay their weapons down, turned and walked away. Soon after that, the Shah left Iran.
Recently, Governor Baker announced that he would not be sending National Guard troops to our southern border because of Trump’s policy of separating families seeking asylum. Maura Healey has initiated a number of lawsuits against Trump and his policies. Mayor Walsh and Mayor Curtetone have both declared their cities, Boston and Somerville, Sanctuary cities, despite Trump’s stances against them. Elizabeth Warren went to Texas and spoke out against the caging of immigrant families. These are all acts of resistance. When Mueller files his first report this summer there will be more reasons to resist. At the same time, it is already clear that Trump and his sycophants will deny any findings by Mueller. And despite the acts of our local politicians, Trump carries on. In fact, he is more popular with Republicans than ever.
Nonetheless, Republicans like Paul Ryan are leaving office in a passive aggressive move to stop cooperating with Trump. It would help if Ryan and others would state publicly why they are leaving and why Trump is unfit for office. Conservatives must have the courage of their convictions and speak out like George Will and Bret Stephens and Max Boot have.
What really has to happen for the resistance to succeed, though, is the equivalence of soldiers laying down their guns. People need to refuse to comply with Trump’s policies. NFL players must remain in the locker room during the National Anthem. Border Patrol Agents and Customs Agents need to refuse to treat people inhumanely.
Trump recently tweeted that asylum seekers should be denied due process. What Trump supporters and all those Americans so in love with authoritarianism don’t seem to realize is that giving power to those in charge can one day be used against all of us. If the government has the right to detain people without arresting them, they could detain you or your kids. If the government can skip due process in one instance, it can skip it in others.
Marches are all well and good, but something more has to happen if we really want to make American great again. We need a one-day massive strike. Maybe November 6 would be an appropriate day for that. The only way Trump will leave office is if ordinary Americans, including those enforcing his policies, refuse to go along and that includes the police, ICE, and the military. Otherwise, Trump will use those forces against the rest of us.