Rasey: Get involved and avoid resistance fatigue
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On Jan. 21, I attended the Million Women March on Washington, D.C.. I cannot fully express the feeling of marching with hundreds of thousands of folks who, for the most part, share my sentiments regarding the recently inaugurated president of the United States. It was renewing and enlivening to be there among other folks who most likely consider Trump to be a dangerously unstable fascist who has taken over the core of American democracy.
It does not help to see the ruin he has already done within just one week in office—and to think he has 4 years to do even more. That thought leaves me disappointed and wondering about the future of our country.
My biggest concern about Trump’s presidency is how the people are going to be able to hold him accountable. More importantly, will the people who voted for him hold him accountable? For those that didn’t, what deeds, aside from direct action, can be taken to prevent what seems to be an onslaught of fascist executive orders and legislation that are already hurting innocent people? Other than calling or writing to Congress, or writing in the local rag, how can the people resist Trump’s fascism?
It would seem that one potential answer, or at least a good starting point, is something along the lines of getting involved and staying connected together, as well as participating in the local democratic process.
There are several things that folks can do. Let’s start with students and student organizations. Student bodies for example, could demand that the municipality, in conjunction with the county and campus be a “sanctuary” for anyone that is threatened to be deported. No human being is illegal. I know we’re told that sanctuaries are bad, but what’s worse than tearing families apart and denying refugees? You would think that Trump and his colleagues would understand the value of family more than anyone else. They say it doesn’t matter, that some of these people they want to deport came to this country when they were little and thus, had no decision in the process.
Then the community at large, civil society organizations and local government all have a role to play. For instance, Toledo’s City Council meets every other Tuesday to review the agenda for upcoming Council meetings. This is a good platform for civil society organizations concerned with issues relating to basic rights to lobby and get their issues across to local policy holders. I should commend the Community Response Network, Black Lives Matter & Justice Or Else movement, NARAL pro-choice Ohio, Planned Parenthood and the UT Feminist Alliance for the great work they’re doing in this regard.
But this is not enough. It behooves every concerned member of our communities, students or just residents, to be actively involved with these groups. Find a group that represents your interests and help them in getting their message across. It’s not enough to complain:We need to take action. If there’s any lessons from the last presidential elections, it is that the lower-class folks and minorities pay more dearly for their apathy towards the political process than any other group of people.
Finally, I think you can take care of your “self” to resist Trump’s fascist moves and work towards holding your friends accountable for their own selves. I’m talking about mutual accountability here. At the risk of sounding like your mother, go for a walk, see friends, exercise, do yoga, get sleep, make a nice meal — do whatever it is that helps you stay sane and soothes your soul. Most importantly, find social support. Plenty of research shows that social capital is good for your holistic health. Get off the computer, away from the books and be with friends. If you don’t have friends, well, there are plenty of ways to get involved on campus and many other pathways to getting connected with the community — both will help you find and be a friend to someone. As for me, I enjoy petting the cats at the Lucas County animal shelter. There will be a need for stable people over the next four years. I am going to try my best to take my own advice, don’t worry.
Zachary Rasey is a graduate student in the education program.
Update: This article was first published under the heading, “The voice of the people is the voice of God—it’s time to get involved”