While we are blunting the destruction of supports for our friends and families, we also have to learn from the experiences we have in resisting, and begin the arduous process of preparing our eventual counteroffensive. It is still very early in this second phase of the Strategic Defense, but it isn’t too early to start organizing it.
Right now, the public hope of resistance is focused on somehow ending the presidency of Donald Trump.
This hope is a little like the story of the drunk crawling around under a street light obviously looking for something. A guy comes over and asks him what he is looking for. The drunk says he lost his car keys. The guy asks him where he thinks he dropped them, and the drunk points out into a field next to the road and says, “Somewhere out there.” The guy asks him why he isn’t looking out in the field, and the drunk says, “Because it’s too dark out there to see my keys.”
Like a flare set off in the wrong place during an attack on the perimeter of a combat base, the President attracts all the attention but creates none of the value in dealing with the threat. Attacks on the President are proxies for attacks on those who voted for him. While it is gratifying to express contempt for those who cause your current pain, no one ever changed their vote because they were treated as vermin. And, every ounce of effort to pin where we are now on one person is effort taken away from preparation for the second phase of the Strategic Defense.
Clicks in social media have no impact on the long-range turnaround of political values in our country.
There is no comprehensive solution to the current situation because of the systemic forces that led us to this juncture. Any viable strategy has to be for the long term. While effective change can improve our situation, no change in the short term will alter those systemic forces.
Our first operational boundary as we go about building resistance is the 2018 election cycle. A small change in the Senate, say three seats changed from Republican to Democrat or to what used to be core Republican values would put a halt to the legislative destruction of support to our friends and family members.
For this to happen, there has to be a very large turnout of those most affected by the destruction of the support system, including members of minority and poor communities, older citizens, and people with disabilities and chronic health conditions. That means that simply asking people to vote or scaring them into voting won’t be enough. We need to take a lesson from the resistance to voting barriers in the early sixties and assure our community’s participation by accompanying voters, transporting voters and intervening at polling places when eligible voters are harassed or prevented from voting.
The British have begun to turn back the forces that led to Brexit only by increasing the turnout of young voters by 70%. 45% of eligible voters in the US 2016 election, clearly the most important in several decades, did not vote. It isn’t at all clear to me that we are willing to make the relatively small sacrifices necessary for a large turnout.
If we are willing, we need to start now.
Another operational arena that has a lot of potential impact on the values of our society is to begin organizing locally so that we can do what the right has done for a half century-organizing from the bottom up. There is probably no better place to start this organizing that supporting our community members in running for school board positions. There is an overview of how to run for school boards in Michigan and there is a site called Vote Run Lead that has much information on running for a lot of offices and a section on school boards.
If you are not an experienced politician, you need to pull together a support network that can help you learn and succeed. This network can be the beginning of larger networks that will keep us in the resistance over the long term.
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