Scenario: Battle lines are drawn. The fascists are in power. The people are in the streets. They put a couple hundred in the Congress and White House. We put between 3 and 4 million in the streets of US cities and towns, and millions more in cities all over the world. They have the government, but we out-number them, and we are ready to RESIST.
But what does that mean? What does resistance look like?
One of the great weaknesses of protest is that it’s hard to sustain the passion. Few protests spawn actual movements, as messages get diluted and frustration saps energy. Maybe this is why we have not had a true protest movement that accomplished great changes since the Civil Rights Movement. Since then, Americans have become distracted, disorganized, complacent. Terrible things have spawned protests, and some of those protests have prompted positive change, but nothing has seemed able to pull us out of our bubbles enough to join in common cause for a long haul.
But now we face an existential threat to our nation, to our way of life, and even to our actual lives. Not winning this political and societal battle is not an option. To win, you must have a plan.
So I’m going to toss something out here — just an idea, maybe it’ll spark some brainstorming or something — here it is:
A boxing tactic of pretending to be trapped against the ropes, goading one’s opponent into throwing ineffective, tiring punches.
Imagine we’re in a boxing match. In one corner, weighing in at a 150 tons of pure bullshit, El Cheeto Loco, the Mango Mussolini, Donald Trump and his troop of trained neo-nazis.
In the other corner, weighing in at the entirety of the United States of America, We the People, the majority of Americans who did not vote for these assholes and don’t want a single thing to do with them or any of their toxic crap.
El Cheeto comes out swinging. (Politico, 2/25/17) He and the GOP are raining blows on our heads. Mortgage costs hiked. Shut-down of the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities. Rollback of the Affordable Care Act. Cuts to ethics watchdog offices. Bills to allow the sell-off of public lands and national parks. Reactivation of DAPL and Keystone. Threats to our NATO allies. Threats to move our Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Threats to trigger new hostilities against our own troops in Iraq. Suspension of visas to Muslim-majority nations. Freeze of EPA grants. Recall of our diplomats with no one to replace them. Attacks on women’s rights and world health. Total freeze of federal hiring and regulations. That stupid border wall thing. Witch-hunts against climate scientists and a wholesale spree of scrubbing scientific data from public view. Etc. Etc. Etc.
Plus, of course, the usual stream of petulant tweets and bizarre public performances.
I realized suddenly what Trump and the GOP are doing. They are trying to exhaust us. They want our anger to get diluted by confusion under an onslaught so fast and chaotic we can’t possibly keep track of it. They want us to spend our energy in reactive protests against a hundred different outrages, but never pull ourselves together into a cohesive, organized resistance movement.
And I further realized that two can play at that game. What was it Hillary Clinton said? Something about “a man who can be baited with a tweet…”
Trump can’t take it. He’s soft. He’s weak. He has a glass jaw. He can’t handle criticism, mockery, dismissal, or any kind of opposition. The GOP screwed up with this one. They hitched their wagon to a dud star.
So, rope-a-dope, the legendary tactic of the great Muhammad Ali. Beat them at their own game. They want to overwhelm us with a blitz attack? Let them punch themselves out until they are the exhausted ones, and then we put them down on the canvas.
The trick is we have to keep our cool. We need a vision of what resistance does, and we have to stick with it. We’re trapping them, not the other way around.
1) Keep up the protests – march, demonstrate, speak – against everything. Keep up the mockery – the taunting, the comedy, the memes – on everything Trump does without exception. Freak him out. Keep him obsessed and twittering at all times. We know it works.
2) Go after Congress. Call your Senators and Representatives relentlessly. Use the Indivisible Guide to help organize this. They’ll try to sic their attack dog, Orange Julius Caesar, on us but he’ll be busy (1, above). Our goal is to fill the hearts of members of Congress with sickening dread of their upcoming elections. We know that works, too.
3) Meanwhile, don’t wait for elections. We take the lead and start the grassroots change with a multi-pronged movement that will knock these Bastard Villains out.
– At the consumer level and the municipal level, we get off fossil fuels. No whining, just do it.
– At the personal level, we work together to break the chains of debt culture and consumerism that put us into the hands of this budding oligarchy.
– We divest and boycott bad businesses and support good ones.
– We develop cooperative societies to support each other until we take back our government.
– We tell truth where they tell lies. We save data they wish to erase. We join forces where they try to divide us.
– We keep moving. We keep our eyes on the prize.
I think these three sets of actions, together, will allow for the best chance of preserving what matters in the US while taking real action to undermine the fascists. It’s by no means a final or complete plan, just the beginning of one.
Like classic bullies, they want to beat us into submission. But if we can take a few hits and dodge most, we can keep them swinging until they collapse under their own tired bulk. Rope-a-dope.
What do you think?