In A People’s History of the United States, the late Howard Zinn included a chapter that offered his own perspective on how progressive social movements can derail a political status quo. During the first 10 days into Führer Trump’s regime and visible resistance to his Electoral College appointment as U.S. president, I’ve been recalling Zinn’s perspective that
“Most histories understate revolt, overemphasize statesmanship, and thus encourage impotency among citizens.”
This is critical for the ruling class:
“In a highly developed society, the [political] Establishment cannot survive without the obedience and loyalty of millions of people who are given small rewards to keep the system going”
Zinn goes on to name those of us he is talking about:
“the soldiers and police, teachers and ministers, administrators and social workers, technicians and production workers, doctors, lawyers, nurses, transport and communications workers, garbagemen and firemen. These people – the employed and somewhat privileged – are drawn into an alliance with the elites.”
While trying to work within the established system for the betterment of all people, we can unwittingly enable the continuation of the status quo. We then can
“become the guards of the system, buffers between the upper and lower classes.”
Nevertheless, since the pseudo-democratic election of Trump and his right-wing billionaires, the resistance has been evident, especially during a month when a new president can usually bask in the temporary afterglow of an election. Zinn recognized how resistance can shake the agenda of power elites, especially one such as Führer Trump’s dictatorial and racist orientation:
If we, the “buffers” for the rulers “stop obeying, the system falls.”
So, let’s take an inventory of some of the most recent incidents of resistance.
The Women’s March in the national capital not only surpassed the “alternate facts” of the Führer’s estimates, an estimated 5,000,000 individuals globally participated January 21 in at total of 673 marches in support of women’s rights to live without discrimination and fear, including control over their own bodies.
The mayors of cities whose councils have passed resolutions to serve as sanctuaries that have refused to cooperate with Trump’s draconian executive order that targets undocumented immigrants and Middle East refugees. The resistance is not across the board, but is significant in refusals to federal requests to hold arrestees in jail due to their immigration status. This led mayors in my region, specifically Olympia and Seattle, to respond:
Olympia Mayor Cheryl Selby: “I wish that this president would quit making our community so anxious. Our community can trust that our employees will continue to serve all residents regardless of their status as immigrants. We’re standing by it.”
Seattle Mayor Ed Murray: ““We will not be intimidated by federal dollars and we will not be intimidated by the authoritarian message coming from this administration. We will not — as we did in World War II — allow our police to be deputies of the federal government and round up immigrants.”
The Führer’s executive order “Enhancing Public Safety in the Interior of the United States” claims,
“Sanctuary jurisdictions across the United States willfully violate Federal law in an attempt to shield aliens from removal from the United States [and] have caused immeasurable harm to the American people and to the very fabric of our Republic.”
Wow! Let’s be afraid of these scary aliens in our midst who are supposedly “criminals who have served time in our Federal, State, and local jails.” But, wait, what do federal databases reveal about all of this? Thanks to Dr. Tom Wong, a political science professor at the University of California-San Diego, who crunched some numbers for us, we discover the following:
- There are, on average, 35.5 fewer crimes committed per 10,000 people in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties.
- Median household annual income is, on average, $4,353 higher in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties.
- The poverty rate is 2.3 percent lower, on average, in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties.
- Unemployment is, on average, 1.1 percent lower in sanctuary counties compared to nonsanctuary counties.
This data makes me feel like my sanctuary city is actually providing all of us a sanctuary from the Führer’s bully politics.
In a Washington Post interview, Dr. Wong concluded,
“The data are clear that sanctuary counties aren’t crime-ridden hellholes.”
And then there are police chiefs representing the largest urban areas and who are not known for bucking the status quo. Nevertheless, the long-standing position of the Major Cities Chiefs Association is that
“immigration enforcement by local police would likely negatively effect and undermine the level of trust and cooperation between local police and immigrant communities,” which would “would result in increased crime against immigrants and in the broader community, create a class of silent victims and eliminate the potential for assistance from immigrants in solving crimes or preventing future terroristic acts.”
One week after the historic Women’s Marches, two days of spontaneous protests erupted at airports and elsewhere over another of the Führer’s executive orders, which temporarily bars entry to the United States from seven Muslim-majority countries. The administration’s lackeys had to partially back down in face of massive protests and the negative response of many in the political class.
To be clear, this is not about immigration or crime. The Führer wants to flex his executive pen to match his ban-on-Muslims campaign rhetoric intended to appeal to the lowest common denominator of the electorate. Using the identity politics that the Right supposedly deplores, the Führer made clear his preference for “Christians” over “Muslims,” regardless of their refugee or immigration status.
But the religious “guards,” to return to Zinn’s term, have also denounced this particular executive order. For example, a representative of the Christian-led Church World Service called it a “shameful day” in United States history.
And this just in tonight: the Führer fired the Sally Yates, the Acting U.S. Attorney General over her refusal to enforce his immigration executive order. Yates stated,
“For as long as I am the acting attorney general, the Department of Justice will not present arguments in defense of the executive order, unless and until I become convinced that it is appropriate to do so.”
All of this after federal Judge Ann M. Donnelly on Saturday night put a stay on the Führer’s immigration executive order, saying it would cause “irreparable harm.”
These are a few hopeful examples of Zinn’s “guards of the system” who have resisted, actions that will need to continue.
Congressional Democrats need to get over any sense of “compromise” with an uncompromising Führer. Backlashes are developing against Democrats going along with the Führer’s nominees for various cabinet positions. And shame on Elizabeth Warren for voting in support of Ben Carson for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Warren defended her vote because he made “good, detailed promises” on anti-homelessness programs and fair housing law enforcement that encouraged her. Warren obviously could not have missed the ideological idiocy of Carson during the Republican primaries, but her actions represent her role in this instance as an actual guard of the new administration.
The resistance needs to continue with the activism of local citizens. Increased resistance from the Establishment guards in political and economic positions of power is necessary to limit a government based on hate, misogyny, fear, racism, and a neo-Christian Crusade.