"Resistance" is a word I hear more often these days than any time since the Vietnam War. And I hear it from unexpected persons, not Catholic worker folks seasoned in civil disobedience or people with a history of nonviolent protest. I hear it from my neighbors — from professional people who are simply shocked by what they see emerging in the upcoming Trump administration.
These are not people given to marching in the streets or doing civil disobedience. They are concerned citizens who think they may have to become active now like never before.
They talk about resisting Trump's policies on immigration and of finding ways to protect undocumented immigrants in danger of deportation. They go to town meetings and advocate that their municipality become a sanctuary city or town. Some are helping local churches to prepare sanctuary spaces. Many talk about resisting the possible "registry" for Muslims by registering themselves even though they are Christian, Jewish, agnostic or whatever (and not Muslim). And lots of people are planning to attend the large march planned for January 21, the day after the inauguration, in opposition to all Trump stands for.
As the names of Trump cabinet nominees roll out, these same people think about how they can lobby the Senate to derail at least some of them, especially those that would have any "say" in his climate policies, such as Scott Pruitt, the nominee for head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). (Pruitt doubts the reality of climate change, and he claims that the "debate is far from settled," although the scientific consensus says that climate change is real and is caused by humans, and that the evidence is overwhelming.) Talk about putting a lion in the hen house!
And those same neighbors would work to de-rail the Senate confirmation of an oil company executive as Secretary of State: Exxon Mobil Corp. Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson. In addition to his climate skepticism, Tillerson has close ties to Moscow and Vladimir Putin. The Putin connections to Tillerson, and to Trump himself, are worrisome.
Needless to add, I join them in being aghast as I watch the news these days and see the Trump appointments (or possible appointments) roll out across the TV screen. I worry that Trump may change the United States for the worse in a few short years. And I am deeply worried about the thousands of people who follow him, applaud his "style," and cheer him on no matter what.
I think long and hard these days about the word "resistance." I connect it to the Catholic worker, to protestors against nuclear weapons, to those who cross the line at Ft. Benning, Ga., every year. We need those folks now to help us develop new and creative forms of non-violent resistance — legal and illegal — as we search for effective ways to oppose Trump, and especially his attempts to roll back our progress on climate change.