Trump awakens a sleeping giant — on the left

People protest outside Trump Tower following President-elect Donald Trump's election victory in Manhattan, New York, U.S.

The results of the election were discouraging, depressing, maddening, and downright scary for progressives across the country.

Actually, not just for progressives. For women everywhere. For Muslims. For immigrants. For people of color. For LGBT folks. For anyone who falls outside Trumpland and the viewpoints of Steve Bannon, the CEO of Donald Trump’s campaign who gave a megaphone to the worst of the white nationalists at the conspiracy theory site Breitbart News. Breitbart regularly ran anti-Semitic, misogynistic, racist, and worse headlines like “There’s no bias against women in tech, they just suck at interviews,” “Gabby Giffords: The gun control movement’s human shield,” and “Racist, pro-Nazi roots of Planned Parenthood revealed.”

And now Bannon will be Trump’s closest adviser in the White House.

Despite the fact that Hillary Clinton won over a million more votes (and counting) than Donald Trump, the Orange Menace will be the 45th president. He edged her just enough in swing states to overtake Clinton in the Electoral College. Thanks a bunch, Gary Johnson and Jill Stein voters!

Within two days of Trump’s victory, there were more than 200 reported incidents against minorities by Trump supporters. Within three days, there were 300 incidents.

The Southern Poverty Law Center already has documented the “Trump Effect” at the nation’s schools. “Teachers have noted an increase in bullying, harassment and intimidation of students whose races, religions or nationalities have been the verbal targets of candidates on the campaign trail,” says a report on the phenomenon. This is from the introduction:

  • More than two-thirds of the teachers reported that students—mainly immigrants, children of immigrants, and Muslims—have expressed concerns or fears about what might happen to them or their families after the election.
  • More than half have seen an increase in uncivil political discourse.
  • More than one-third have observed an increase in anti-Muslim or anti-immigrant sentiment.
  • More than 40 percent are hesitant to teach about the election.

All of that was before Trump won. It’s only getting worse. And with the GOP in charge of the White House and both houses of Congress, basics like Social Security and Medicare are now at risk. House Republicans are already developing a timeline to privatize and overhaul Medicare, probably the most successful part of the safety net. You wonder how the GOP-voting senior citizens are going to like that.

Here’s the thing, though. People are realizing what they are up against, and they’re starting to fight back.

There are continuing anti-Trump protests throughout the country. Donations have been pouring in for Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and other groups dedicated to protecting access to health care for women, minority rights, and the environment. Those protestors are vowing political action, even before the 2018 midterm elections.

David Cole, the incoming legal director of the ACLU, put it this way in an essay in the New York Review of Books:

We let a minority of voters give Trump the presidency by not turning out to vote for Clinton. (Trump didn’t even get as many votes as McCain and Romney, but Clinton received nearly five million fewer votes that Obama in 2012). But if we now and for the next four years insist that he honor our most fundamental constitutional values, including equality, human dignity, fair process, privacy, and the rule of law, and if we organize and advocate in defense of those principles, he can and will be contained. It won’t happen overnight. There will be many protracted struggles. The important thing to bear in mind is that if we fight, we can prevail.

Let’s end with the words from the blog of our favorite octogenarians, Margaret and Helen. They were as gob-smacked as anyone by Trump’s win, but this post shows that they’re the ones who are as mad as hell, and they’re not going to take it any more.

Maybe the big news didn’t happen on Tuesday. Maybe it was Wednesday. They say Trump woke a sleeping giant, but maybe that giant didn’t wake up before the election. Maybe it woke after the election when we all finally realized that everything we hold true and dear about this nation can indeed be taken away. Maybe, just maybe, the sleeping giant is actually the millions who trusted in hope and love instead of those who walked into a polling booth and secretly voted for hate and fear. …

I’ll be damned if we go down without a fight. We’ll promise to try and hold on until 2020 if you promise to hold on with us.

First up, 2018 midterms. We’ll be here. Will you?

Whomever we are and whatever color we are, and whatever age we are, and whatever gender we are, and whatever sexual preference, religious belief, city or town, church, mosque or synagogue … we are awake now. And this is our country.

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