A Buffoon or a Tyrant?

trump-hard-hat-coalMy biggest preoccupation since November 8 has been wondering whether Donald Trump is competent enough to be a tyrant.

The Founders took great pains to king-proof our government. Having just fought a war for independence from a king, they thought of every conceivable path from self-government to autocracy, and designed mechanisms to prevent it.

The Constitution includes dual protections against tyranny. The first safeguard exists to prevent the people from rashly electing a demagogue who stirs their passions. The second safeguard is the balance and separation of powers.

The first safeguard already failed. The Republican nominating convention could have stopped Trump, but didn’t. The electoral college could have stopped him, but didn’t.

Now we wait and see if our leaders will utilize the second safeguard. They don’t inspire confidence.

Before the election, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan literally would not be seen in public with Donald Trump. But he still voted for him.

In the first move of his presidency, Trump lied obsessively for three days about the size of the crowd at his inauguration. His loyal apologists hit the TV shows to contradict what everyone could see with their own eyes.

In a second move, thanks to his delusional obsessiveness over losing the popular vote, Trump promised to investigate voter fraud, falsely claiming that millions of people in urban areas voted illegally. Sensible Republicans were forced to admit that voter fraud is not, actually, a real problem.

Last weekend, sparking the second round of worldwide protests in two weeks, Trump sneak ordered a ban of refugees and immigrants from specific Muslim countries. His loyalists hemmed and hawed in its defense. Nevermind logic, damnit, we feel tough now! Sensible Republican leaders rightly criticized the ban for being impulsive, horribly mismanaged, and counterproductive to the goal of keeping the country safe.

Trump then insulted Australia, a close ally, over a refugee agreement signed under the previous administration. Congress scrambled to reassure Australia that everything is OK.

Talk is cheap. Republican lawmakers can easily save face like they did during the campaign– criticizing Trump’s words and actions when they violate fundamental American principles. But will they ever put their votes where their mouth is?

One option is to keep enabling Trump’s reckless incompetence. American credibility will corrode with each passing week. Allies and enemies will lose patience. The proverbial shit will hit the fan, sooner or later.

Another option is to rid the body of the poison. Block everything. Isolate the damage. Jump at the first opportunity for impeachment.

The Founders saw impeachment as the ultimate check on power, the appropriate response for a leader who demonstrated gross incompetence or abuse of power. James Madison argued that impeachment was necessary to protect the community against the “incapacity, negligence, or perfidy” of a president. Benjamin Franklin saw grounds for impeachment when a president “rendered himself obnoxious.”

In the crafting of the Constitution, the language for impeachment first included only “Bribery and Treason.” Briefly added to the list was “maladministration,” but this word was thought too vague. They eventually settled on adding “high crimes and misdemeanors.” The phrase was common parlance to describe not only specific violations of law, but betrayals of public trust and actions injurious to society.

A simple majority vote by the House of Representatives starts the impeachment process. The Senate can then conduct a trial, followed by a two-thirds vote needed to remove the president from office.

Might it be bad for democracy to thwart an elected president?

I don’t think so. Trump is an aberration. This is not “obstruction” in the sense of using political motivation to prevent the president from implementing policy. Nobody would be protesting in the streets if Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio, or even Ted Cruz, had been elected. Trump is unfit for office by temperament, lack of knowledge and experience, conflicts of interest, etc. This becomes more obvious by the day.

Yes, the voters elected Trump. But the voters were rash. Passions captured by a fire breathing made-for-TV demagogue.

The Founding Fathers anticipated this error and provided tools for the error to be corrected. We have a filtering mechanism for would-be country wreckers.

We just need leaders with the fortitude to use it.

Manufactured Distraction

glass-shardsLast week, as a hook into an economics lesson on globalization and trade, I played a short video called Shift Happens. The video uses a bunch of stats to illustrate how fast everything is changing. People change jobs with more frequency than ever. Students today may eventually work jobs that don’t even exist yet. We’re living in exponential times, the video asserts. In 1984 there were a thousand internet devices. In 1992 there were a million. In 2008 there were a billion. Twitter, founded in 2006, has nearly 330 million active monthly users. Facebook has 1.8 billion.

In class discussion afterward, we pointed out an ironic example of “shift” from the video itself. The video referred to Vine, a social media app for sharing 6 second video clips, as the “fastest growing app on the internet.” The video was made in 2013. Vine shut down two weeks ago.

The students then sat rapt, listening to my tale of growing up without social media. Facebook first popped up in 2004, my first year of college. You had to have a college email account. Each profile was static. No feeds or notifications. You had to click on someone to look at their profile.

The point in class was to get the students thinking about the need to be adaptable in a rapidly changing world.

The point for this blog post is that we’re entering uncharted psychological territory.

I’m happy I didn’t grow up with handheld internet and social media. It was enough to develop an identity in real life, without having to craft an online persona. I think I’m better off by learning to navigate awkward social situations without a handheld avoidance device to save me.

Ah, the good old days. Doesn’t every generation think something better about their own upbringing?

But there is something unique about this particular technological shift.

The average person looks at their handheld screen upwards of 75 times per day. The studies I found ranged from 60 per day to 90 per day, but each study had one finding in common: people’s estimates of the amount of times they looked at their phone were way smaller than the amount of times they actually looked at their phone when measured.

The average time period of each screen engagement was 30 seconds.

So basically, without being fully aware of it, we are interrupting ourselves every 15 minutes of our waking hours. Every 15 minutes we take a break for a 30 second burst of other stuff. Unpredictable bursts of exciting stuff. Kind of like a slot machine.

Never before has a technology or phenomenon systematically targeted the human attention span like that. Sustained concentration is necessary for all sorts of things. Thinking of solutions to difficult problems. Considering multiple perspectives. Checking yourself for bias or errors in judgement. Understanding something in depth. Self reflection. Imagination. Any human endeavor and all human culture is affected by this shift.

An experiment at UCLA’s Brain Mapping Center looked at the effect of “likes” on the teenage brain. The researchers found that the reward centers of the brain lit up when made to believe that their post had many likes, compared to a dimmer response to just a few likes. Additionally, teens were significantly more likely to “like” another user’s picture when it had many likes to begin with, compared to the same picture with a small number of likes.

As a brain accustomed to a drug responds with reduced intensity to the natural pleasures of life, so too a brain accustomed to the dopamine bursts of online media may respond less actively to the deeper rewards of slower processing. Some of these reward bursts, according to UCLA researchers, may be influenced by the whims and herd mentality of other users.

In my own social media use, I started to have the horrifying realization that I was bending my experience into shareable bites. Trying to draw traffic to the blog, I thought to get more active on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. I would look at a sunset and wonder if it would make a good post. I would hear a news story, think of an insight, and then start to trim the thought down to try to make it fit into 140 snappy characters, hoping to make a splash on someone’s 30 second window of attention. Maybe get some likes.

The freeing realization was that I don’t care to compete for bursts of random attention. And I don’t care to put my attention on the chopping block.

I am currently making an intentional effort to reduce interruptions. So far, I’m finding that what seemed urgently important two weeks ago, really isn’t anymore. It hasn’t been about shunning technology, but about using it differently.

I will report back soon with further reflections on this effort.

Fare Thee Well

ap-obama-trump-994x743“The great problem confronting us today is that we have allowed the means by which we live to outdistance the ends for which we live … and so we are in danger now of ending up with guided missiles in the hands of misguided men.”

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave the commencement address at Lincoln University in 1961, titling his speech “The American Dream.”

Dr. King began that speech the same way President Obama began his farewell address– hearkening back to the Declaration of Independence, marveling about a country of self-governance founded on the principle that our equality is not gifted by the state, but rather exists in our nature. It is our God-given essence. Simply by our birth, we are endowed with the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

In 1961, Dr. King claimed that the American dream is unfulfilled to the extent that poverty and violence and unequal treatment remain prevalent. He argued that the “interrelated structure of reality” tells us that no one is truly free unless all are free. Not only are the fates of Americans bound up with each other–white and black– but the fates of the entire world are bound up together. The speech predicted a new problem of globalization: “The world in which we live has become a single neighborhood … Through our scientific genius we have made of this world a neighborhood; now through our moral and spiritual development we must make of it a brotherhood.”

Some people blame Obama for his naïveté in dealing with world events. Shoulda been stronger and tougher. I saw him as having a grander, longer-term vision on how the world might, if it ever could, someday live in peace.

From his launch into the national sphere in 2004 to his last week in office, Barack Obama remained the perennial optimist, a believer in a positive human nature. This was somehow both a weakness and a strength. Hope. Unity. Yes We Can.

Dr. King spoke of the need to make the globalized world a spiritual brotherhood. That’s the same spirit Obama carried with him to the presidency. In his final State of the Union, and again in his farewell address, Obama waxed poetic about the struggles and virtues of democracy, and about the values that Americans have the responsibility to uphold.

Hope. Unity. Yes We Can. Yes We Did?

Obama admitted one regret during his last State of the Union: the country seems to be more divided as he concludes his presidency. Some people blame Obama for this division.

The policies and strategies of our 44th president are certainly up for criticism, but I think history will remember him positively for his idealism. He wanted opportunity for the children of undocumented immigrants. He wanted to protect the environment. He wanted to legitimize military action by joining with allies and getting congressional approval. He wanted to stop gun violence. He wanted everyone to have access to health care.

I will remember him for being a good dude. He was a class act and a role model for a young man these last eight years. He was sharp, thoughtful, reflective. He was funny. He cared about morality, and his eloquence matched his heart. I could count on him for a touching speech during a time of tragedy, or a witty rejoinder to a sportscaster poking fun at his March Madness bracket.

***

Obama’s presidency agitated many people. Including the 45th president, who began his ascent of American politics by spouting an unfounded conspiracy theory that Barack Obama was not an American citizen.

Like the manipulating narcissist he is, Donald Trump held a press conference in September 2016 claiming credit for bringing the ‘birther’ issue to rest, reassuring the world that Obama was, indeed, an American citizen.

Donald Trump cares nothing about the American story or the American dream. He aims to vindictively repeal Obama’s signature legislative healthcare achievement and build a monument to his own racist campaign in the form of a wall on our southern border. He attacks the character of war veterans and civil rights heroes when they criticize him, but praises repressive foreign leaders when they compliment him.

Two weeks after his election, Trump settled a $25 million fraud lawsuit for operating a fake university, where he used his image of business excellence to con hardworking Americans into giving him money. Only no one seems to care about this fraud settlement, because he has created so much outrage and chaos with his conflicts of interest, cabinet picks, media bashing, blatant lies, inflammatory tweets, and a host of other scandals.

Trump is a unique threat to American democracy. Which is why Obama spent much of his final speech urging Americans not to take our democracy for granted.

In the 1960s Dr. King called for “creative protest in order to break down all of those barriers that make it impossible for the dream to be realized.” The idea was using non-violence to show moral superiority of the cause. To gnaw at the conscience of those in power and, thus, create laws to ensure equal treatment. Laws were a temporary fix. Long-term, King envisioned a world where the hearts and minds of all races, religions, and nationalities were transformed. A world where everyone would live together in peace.

I’m not sure what creative protest Dr. King would have in mind for an American president with no conscience. But the dreams of King and Obama are in grave danger.

Dr. King ended his American Dream speech, as Obama did in his farewell address, with a call to action. He called for the students in the audience “not to be detached spectators, but involved participants in this great drama that is taking place in our nation and around the world.” He vowed to be maladjusted. Though everyone wants to be well-adjusted in life and in society, there are situations that call upon men of good will to maladjusted. To not give in to the status quo, but instead to fight for a deeper purpose– like the principles of the Declaration and the possibility of a universal brotherly love.

“It may well be that the salvation of our world lies in the hands of the maladjusted … I believe that it is through such maladjustment that we will be able to emerge from the bleak and desolate midnight of man’s inhumanity to man into the bright and glittering daybreak of freedom and justice.”

Godspeed.

The End is Near

end-times-copyWhen the year turned 2000, everyone was worried. Would computers work the same after Y2K? Or would there be massive power outages and chaos? Maybe the world was ending. But, I mean, was it even the turn of the century? Doesn’t that technically happen in 2001?

I was in eighth grade. Our math teacher warned us that our calculators wouldn’t work in the new year, so we better learn these calculations by hand. He was storing water and canned food at home.

Y2K turned out to be a buzzkill. The world didn’t end, and it wasn’t even the turn of the century. All we got were these “00” glasses that people awkwardly tried to extend to 2010 and beyond.

Then there was 12.21.2012. People thought this might be end of the world. According to the Mayan calendar, this date marked the end of a 5,125 year time period. Perhaps a cataclysmic event loomed. Others countered this gloomy theory, predicted the dawn of a new age of peace and harmony.

In 2017, people mostly feel relieved that 2016 ended. Instead of an exciting start or a blank slate, it feels like we are flushing something unpleasant down the toilet. Problem is, one of the unpleasant parts of 2016 is now President of the United States.

But this is not a political screed. This is not me screaming on a busy street corner: Hey everyone, wake up! Donald Trump is about to control the nuclear arsenal! Run for your lives! This is not me hoarding water or moving to Canada. This is not me, afraid of being thrown in a political prison, deleting all critical writings from my blog.

The New Year is a time to reflect and to look forward. Any transition is ripe with opportunity to enter the doorway with intention.

So here are three New Year’s resolutions:

  • Unplug to connect. My urge to connect with the world often causes me to scroll through social media. This is the biggest lie of the decade. I want to spend more time this year striking up real conversations with members of my community, and learning stories. I want to spend more time reading books, magazines, and newspapers–things into which individuals have invested time, research, and reflection.
  • Pray, in my own way. To act with intention, I am convinced that a person needs to connect with some deeper reality. To avoid going through the motions, a person needs to get in touch with deeper desires. Some may call their deeper reality God. Others might call it getting in touch with their emotions. All I know is it takes place in silence. In nature. In slowing down and being aware of interior movements. I want to cultivate more of that this year.
  • Stay mindful to the personal sphere. I tend to be an optimistic person, but I am not optimistic about the world right now. So be it. I still have students in the desks in front of me. I have friends and family. I’m getting married this year. There’s plenty of good things to keep at the center of attention. Plenty to be grateful for. Living simply, living well…This can be a heroic act in disruptive times.

Happy New Year to everyone reading this blog. I appreciate your time.

Stay human in 2017.

Of Christ or Herod?

stainedglassnativity7There was something sinister about the Christmas message of the Republican National Committee. Or was there?

Here is the message in question:

“Merry Christmas to all! Over two millennia ago, a new hope was born into the world, a Savior who would offer the promise of salvation to all mankind. Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King. We hope Americans celebrating Christmas today will enjoy a day of festivities and a renewed closeness with family and friends.

Certainly– written into a church bulletin in 2014, this message would raise no eyebrows. Written by the Republican Party in 2016, people accused the authors of drawing a comparison between Donald Trump and Jesus Christ.

“Just as the three wise men did on that night, this Christmas heralds a time to celebrate the good news of a new King.”

A few thoughts about the message itself and the theology of Christmas in the political context.

First, there are a million ways you could have written that third sentence without causing controversy:

  • You could have capitalized “Good News,” like Christian references to the Gospel usually do.
  • You could have capitalized “New King,” like a full reference to Christ often would.
  • You could have written about “Christmas” or “Christmas time” instead of using the article this Christmas, which signals something particular to this year.
  • You could have re-worded the entire sentence to make it not sound like you might be talking about the newly elected president.
  • You could have left out that sentence altogether. What is it’s purpose? To clarify that we’re celebrating like the wise men did? To say something about the Kingdom of God?

Maybe it was an innocent message. Perhaps sloppy writing caused the confusion. Maybe some liberals really don’t know that Jesus is sometimes referred to as a King, and overreacted.

That sentence as written, however, is slyly ambiguous. If it was meant to be provocative, it succeeded. Liberals called out the so-called “defenders of Christmas” for sacrilege. Christian conservatives could play holier-than-thou and mock liberals for their religious ignorance.

In light of the controversy, let’s take a step back and ponder the Christmas story.

Jesus was born without a home. He was either an immigrant or a refugee, depending on how you want to define his situation. In real life he was probably brown-skinned. The birth narratives in the Bible emphasize these humble beginnings to contrast the opulence and earthly power of an actual king. Jesus’ Kingdom was one of unconditional love and humility. Where the first shall be last, the last shall be first, and the meek inherit the Earth.

King Herod was known as a builder. He spent lavishly on ambitious projects. He built fortresses and harbors all over Judea, and even refurbished the Jewish temple in Jerusalem. He had several wives and lovers. He was paranoid and protective of his ego and his throne, which is why the wise men had to lie to him to visit Jesus. Herod had heard about the “newborn king” and was trying to kill him.

The scriptural analogies speak for themselves.

Hark! The herald angels sing: At least we are saying “Merry Christmas” again, thanks to the Donald and his lackeys.

Just Surviving

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“Just surviving,” he said as I introduced myself and asked how’s it going. He wore a long gray beard and a black beanie. He sat on a rock in the desert landscape of a government building, saying hello to the passersby.

O.G. looked up at the dark sky. “Hope it doesn’t rain,” he said. “If it rains, you get wet. And if you get wet, you have to wait around ’til you get dry.”

“You said your name was O.G.,” I said. “Those are initials.”

“Yea,” he said. “You know what they stand for?”

I guessed the familiar ‘original gangster,’ but he corrected me: “Old Guy.”

But he also goes by O.T. (old-timer.)

He tells me what it’s like to live on the streets. “You know I used to watch those shows about the street,” he says, “like about Skid Row, with drugs and crime and misery everywhere. That’s really how it is out here. You have to watch your back. People will jump you, rob you. You wouldn’t think that would happen– homeless people robbing homeless people– but that’s what it is.”

He’s been beaten up a few times, and robbed. I asked him if that’s difficult, mentally, to have to stay on guard at all times. He thought for a minute. “It keeps me sharp.”

O.G. grew up in Phoenix before the freeways were built. For a long time he lived on a farm north of Central. His parents owned the farm. They grew grapes and pecans. They also raised goats and kept people’s horses. O.G. used to wake up before school, put his work clothes on and work the farm. Eat breakfast, go to school, get home, put his work clothes on again, and go work the farm again before dinner. By that time you had to take a bath and go to sleep. When he got to high school, his parents sold the farm. He missed the farm, but at least he didn’t have to work before and after school anymore.

His father fought in WW2, stationed in Alaska and the Philippines. He was an engineer, but saw some gruesome combat. The right side of his face was pocked from an explosion that blasted sand off the beach.

O.G. was a little too young to serve in Vietnam, but some of his friends were drafted. “Most of us thought it was a stupid war. Either nuke ’em or get out.” His theory was that they were just testing out war equipment. Said you wouldn’t believe all the new helicopters they used over there. The worst thing, he says, was that they lied about it. The body counts and stuff. “I think we lost that war.”

He’s convinced it’s just a matter of time before someone, somewhere, drops another nuke. There’s too many of them out there.

O.G. has been experiencing homelessness for three years. Currently he sleeps in the shelter and spends his afternoons downtown. People treat him better downtown than near the shelter. Cops treat him better. He likes the homeless facilities in Phoenix. They have better services for folks like him than any other city, although the place gets crowded in the winter.

Before he started to experience homelessness, he lived in his own place, had plenty of gas to get around, and plenty of food in his refrigerator. He worked in construction most of his life. He was a superintendent. He points to the buildings across the street. “I worked on a lot of these buildings.” The real money was in government contracts for the new freeways. $28 an hour. Many years he brought home $60 grand. He had some friends, but never too close. They were there when they needed loans, but disappeared when O.G. could have used one. He was never married, never had kids. He was used to taking care of himself.

But the economy turned bad and he got sick and spent time in the hospital. About getting sick he said, “I hadn’t planned on it.”

Life has been a series of seven year spurts for him. Things would be going well for seven years. Then everything would fall apart. It’s tiring having to rebuild your life every seven years.

Living on the streets has changed his perspective. He thinks he’s a kinder person. Sees good in people. Even people down at the shelter. “There’s not a lot of normal people down there– not like I’m normal– but I don’t look at anyone like they’re an idiot.”

“Now growing old,” he says, shaking his head. “Don’t let anyone tell you that growing old is graceful. It isn’t.” He tells me about his doctors, his recent diabetes diagnosis and his new high blood pressure diagnosis and various other concerns. Reflecting on the appointments and tests he has been doing lately he says, “I sort of wish I hadn’t started going.”

His face brightened as he looked forward to Christmas under the bridge on 7th avenue. Groups show up to serve food. Plenty of good food. Bacon. Eggs. Potatoes. Coffee. He was definitely looking forward to Christmas.

I’m grateful for old-timers like O.G., whose hands helped build my city.

***

Note: O.G. gave me permission to share his story, but asked me not to put his picture on the internet. I asked him if I could use his name and he said, “Yea. There’s a lot of O.G.s down here.”

What is Fascism, Anyway?

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Mussolini Headquarters in Rome.

The word “fascism” gets thrown around so casually that it has lost meaning. It can be a clever way to call your boss a “jerk.” Or it can be a political accusation, used by left or right, to strongly disagree on policy.

The word has a real meaning, though. We would be wise to stay sensitive to what fascism looks like.

The fasces was a symbol of power in ancient Rome. A fasces is an ax surrounded by wooden rods. Notorious dictator Benito Mussolini used the symbol for his political party– the National Fascist Party.

After the first World War, Italy was down and out. Though they helped the victorious Allied Powers, they felt disrespected, left out, underappreciated. Mussolini used this sentiment to disparage Western democracy and build a coalition around himself, asserting Italian strength.

When Adolf Hitler was competing for power in a fractured Germany, he looked to Mussolini for an example. Many of Hitler’s tactics came directly from the Fascist playbook.

The fascism of Italy and Germany had a few things in common:

  • a nationalist spirit, trying to reinvigorate their country’s previous glory
  • belief that the path to restoration needs a strong leader
  • building a cult of personality around that leader
  • working to silence critics and control the media
  • consolidating industry, business, and military around the leader’s intentions
  • scapegoating and attacking “outsiders” for being disloyal or hurting the country
  • strong-arming the democratic process to gain more power
  • manipulating events and circumstances to suspend civil liberties and take total control

We know how things turned out back then. Just remember they didn’t happen overnight.

***

We take political freedom for granted in the United States. It’s an automatic assumption. It’s what we have. We’ve always had it, and we always will.

That is a dangerous fallacy. According to the Freedom House, only 40% of the world’s population enjoy true political freedom, measured by the existence of competing parties, the universal right to vote, valid elections, and a free press. The Greek and Roman democratic governments, from which our government is modeled, both fell into autocracy. And they didn’t fall in a day.

My generation has never experienced a serious threat to our way of life. Our biggest frustration is not climbing the ladder as fast as our parents. We get bashed for being self-absorbed. We are the selfie generation. Our faces glued to phones and TV screens, awaiting the next burst of entertainment. Self-expression bought and posted online, carefully compared to those around us. Politics, another fad, another way to express myself– as a contrarian, or an accepting and compassionate person. Or a blissfully aloof soul.

After the Constitutional Convention, someone asked Benjamin Franklin, the aging diplomat, what kind of government the Founding Fathers came up with. He replied, “A Republic, if you can keep it.”

Thousands of passionate heroes over the years have sacrificed to keep it, or to define it.

My fear is that, as we play with our shiny objects, we will lose it.

***

I used to think the answer to “real engagement with the world” was shutting down and logging out. Can’t even count the number of times I have deactivated Facebook or deleted all social media apps from my phone. Always to come crawling back. Lately, I feel like I am stoking a fire of online connection. Trying to stay warm, but not get burned. Sometimes I open a book or newspaper with the intention to read, and spend the next 30 minutes scrolling through Twitter, watching pro-Trump and anti-Trump users hurl insults at each other. Depressing. During those times I feel like I am managing a drug addiction.

Balance is needed, but I don’t know how to achieve it.

Anyway, the best advice I have seen on how to approach the next four years came from a tweetstorm. By an independent 2016 presidential candidate out of Utah named Evan McMullin, who has become the most vocal conservative critic of our president-elect.

He says:

If Trump governs as an authoritarian like he has promised, it will be critical that Americans do the following 10 things:

  1. Read and learn the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights. Know that our basic rights are inalienable.
  2. Identify and follow many credible sources of news. Be very well informed and learn to discern truth from untruth.
  3. Watch every word, decision and action of Trump and his administration extremely closely, like we have never done before in America.
  4. Be very vocal in every forum available to us when we observe Trump’s violations of our rights and our democracy. Write, speak, act.
  5. Support journalists, artists, academics, clergy and others who speak truth and who inform, inspire and unite us.
  6. Build bridges with Americans from the other side of the traditional political spectrum and with members of diverse American communities.
  7. Defend others who may be threatened by Trump even if they don’t look, think or believe like us. An attack on one is an attack on all.
  8. Organize online and in person with other Americans who understand the danger Trump poses and who are also willing to speak up.
  9. Hold members of Congress accountable for protecting our rights and democracy through elections and by making public demands of them now.
  10. And finally, in the words of Abraham Lincoln, have “malice toward none, with charity for all” and never ever lose hope!

These words are more than a recipe for Trump-resistance. They are basic guiding principles to keeping a republic and building a better society.

Continue reading “What is Fascism, Anyway?”