How are you resisting Trump today?
Today? Today I told someone on the phone how much I disliked Donald Trump. And the person I was talking to told me how much she disliked Donald Trump. Then we sort of went on and talked about cat videos. I think I told someone at work how much I disliked Trump today. Or I added to the affirmation of the people around me who disliked Trump. For bonus points, I have even told a Trump supporter how little I think of our current president and then went on to extrapolate how much better the present would likely be if Hillary had won the election.
So other than occasionally boostering people already on my side and occasionally ticking some innocent person off with my expressed opinions, I have done little in the way of resisting Trump.
I have been writing a novel. No, it’s not about Trump. And it is little use as a manifesto on resistance to Trump, or, for that matter, any sort of resistance whatsoever. I don’t write those sort of novels. Mind you, I do not deny the power that such novels have. An Uncle Tom’s Cabin or the Grapes of Wraith about Trump is certainly called for. But I am not writing it.
I work full time, too. And I’m working on a revision of my game. And I have social obligations and laundry to clean and meals to make. Although resisting Trump is very high on my agenda, I frankly have not had the time.
I made a logo.
I even made a second logo. (Not shown, although it is a little more even.) And I have a big sign for my logo to go on. All I now need is a protest to join and I am there.
I live in Chicago. Well, I live near Chicago. There have been some protests here. I accidentally walked through one the last time I was downtown. The protest was in a rather logical and easy to get to place, right across the street from Trump Tower Chicago. And I am ready to head back there to join in.
Problem is, that’s not where the protests are. The protests move. A lot of the protests are in places where it is difficult (*) for me to attend. And not all of them are about the IMMEDIATE REMOVAL OF DONALD J. TRUMP AS HEAD OF THE AMERICAN STATE.
Case in point: the last protest that I could attend was also downtown, but its purpose was not primarily Anti-Trump, but rather Anti-Balbo.
Balbo? Italo Balbo, an Italian Fascist. Don’t get me wrong, I am completely against fascism. And I am willing to extend Dotard Trump the honor of calling him a fascist, although of the nitwit variety. If Italo Blabo was going to appear downtown to talk up either Trump or fascism, I would be there waving my sign and my logo, protesting with all of the fever I can muster.
But Balbo wasn’t there. Because he’s dead. Been dead since 1940--when a bunch of other Italian fascists mistook his civilian aircraft for something more menacing and shot his little ass down. And that happened in Libya, not Chicago. The Chicago connection is that back in 1933 Italo Balbo flew an Air Armada of 24 sea planes from Italy to Chicago, arguably to help put a little fascist cherry on a festival called the Century of Progress.
It was a neat feat. (Even though Balbo did not fly direct.) Balbo even came with a gift, an ancient Roman column, which he presented to Chicago’s city fathers. It was later put out on display, complete with its own little plaque praising the achievements of fascism. Chicago held Balbo a parade and renamed part of 7th Street as Balbo Drive.
Both the street name and the column and the plaque have remained, curiosities of history. At the time Balbo made his trip, Italy was not at war with the United States. Balbo himself would be dead by the time hostilities broke out. The monument and street name stayed in place all during WWII, without protest or undo mention.
Why the sudden rush to bring it down now? I haven’t a clue. Perhaps it is because we have no Confederate monuments to pull down and the protesters feel left out? (**)
I am not for renaming the street or tearing down the monument. I am not here to defend Balbo, other than to say he is not Hitler, not a gestapo agent and not anywhere near as bad of an actor as Benito Mussolini. He’s a rival of Mussolini’s who became politically sidetracked. Balbo went on record against joining up with Hitler and was opposed to Jewish segregation. While in political exile in Libya, he engaged in a number of military actions meant to advance the Italian position against other colonial powers—certainly involving the bloodshed of thousands of innocent Africans. That makes him a standard issue European leader of the time. When push came to shove—when it was politically dangerous for him to do so—Balbo wanted Italy to side with the United Kingdom. As historic figures go, he’s more questionable and misguided than he is an unvarnished monster. If Chicago starts tearing down every edifice erected by questionable people, we will be standing in open prairie.
Similarly, I am not out to participate in any rally against the police. Or the school district. Or builders using scab labor. I have some sympathy for Black Lives Matter and the Dreamers, but the issue is Trump. Until we get rid of Trump, nothing else matters.
This makes me reconsider what it is I am protesting against, whether I belong in the mob of the professional protester class. (At least in Chicago there is such a class.) I want this president out because he is a clown. He is embarrassing our country, both with his erratic comportment and his active ignorance of human decency. And he’s incompetent. If anything, the Trump administration has shown how strong the rest of our institutions are. The country isn’t crumbling. (***) It is merely everything that is under the president’s direction control that is acting winky. Unless he reaches for the nuclear football, it is not an immediately fatal position. It’s like having a bad quarterback or a bad pitcher (or a bad striker). He’s gotta go. We don’t need an American Nero.
What we need is a mechanism to directly elect the president. A value-added move would be a mechanism for public recall. Those are the underlying causes. This isn’t the first time the Republicans have foisted upon us a president the majority of voters didn’t vote for. By popular count, both Trump and Bush lost. Two is the charm, transforming anomaly into defect. The electoral college needs to go.
Now all I need is 20 million other people who feel the same way.
What are the chances that protests alone will bring down the president? Empirically, none. One can argue that widespread discontent over the war was the reason LBJ did not run again. The same ‘discontent’ cause was the reason there were no second Carter or Bush I terms. But these presidents weren’t unseated. The last widespread popular protest led to the Civil War—and that did not unseat Lincoln. So my fellow protesters and I are up against it.
Causing a coup or prompting a resignation would require either a nationwide strike or widespread civil disorder. None of that is likely nor desirable. The best I can do by protesting is to lend my support to other actors—the free press, the agents of the law, politicians—hopefully inspiring them to do the right thing.
Long odds and imperfect allies alone are not good reasons to stop. My logo and I are ready.
IF YOU HAVE ANY IDEAS ON HOW TO EFFECTIVELY RESIST TRUMP, PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE!
(*) I am not driving downtown. I commute via rail. If the protest is reasonably reachable via public transport, I’m there. There are also certain places where I frankly am not going. Your rally at 8 PM in Logan’s Square can go on without me.
(**) The majority Confederate monuments should be pulled down. Most were put up during the aftermath of Reconstruction, primarily by whites attempting to reinforce Jim Crow. That said, there are no Confederate monuments in Chicago, yet the place remains fairly segregated. It’s the monuments in people’s hearts which need to be torn down.
(***) Puerto Rico is a disaster and it’s all Trump’s fault. It is true that three large disasters in a short period are hard for even the best run governments to cope with. But Florida and Texas are now under control. Where is the plan of attack for the island? This is a national disgrace of the highest order, on a par with the fumble on New Orleans. Republicans truly do not like brown people.