What Unifies The Resistance?




As I write this, we are about to hit Day 100 in President Donald Trump’s America. The United States is no less divided than it was when President Trump took office.

The American people still face the same problems they did before the President was sworn in. There are still people who have a hard time affording health care. There are still people who cannot put food on the table.

There are still people that cannot get a job, worry about providing for their children, and worry about paying off debt. There are people now who are more worried about the threat of climate change than they were a year ago.

Since President Trump took up residency in the East Wing, a new cadre of people have stood up in opposition. The Resistance — a grassroots collection of people from across the political spectrum — has spoken out.

They are students and teachers, laborers and management, millennials and AARP members. They come from all walks of life, and different ideological backgrounds. Their opposition to the President, and defense of clean air and water, science, women’s rights and protection against persecution are what bring them together.

However, the biggest problem with the so-called Resistance movement is that there has been much talk about what it is against, and less about what it is for. To some extent, that is down to the nature of American politics — the Resistance is no new political party, it has no explicitly defined leader to articulate what it does stand for. It is a loose grouping of Americans from all walks of life, trying to defend what they believe in.

So, what is it that the Resistance is for? Is it a broad package of reforms, the sort of political revolution that Bernie Sanders called for? Does it hearken back to older politicians, and try and pick up the mantle of past political leaders like Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John Fitzgerald Kennedy, Lyndon Baines Johnson and Barack Obama? Beyond combatting Trump, what does the Resistance want?

I am not a community organizer. Nor have I done a lot of concrete work within the Resistance, beyond occasionally calling Senators and marching at the Minnesota State Capitol a handful of times.

However, I think that one of the biggest problems that Americans in opposition of Trump have is articulating what we are for. I know that I will not speak on behalf of everyone who stands against the President, but I want to try and give voice to the change that we want to see in the world.

Those of us in the Resistance believe in a fairer, more equal and more just society. The sort of society where the rules are not rigged to benefit the wealthiest, or only those fortunate enough to get a fancy education.

We want an America where everybody, regardless of where you come from, be it Middletown, Ohio or Atlanta, Georgia, has a chance to succeed. We want an America where no matter what you look like or who you are, you have a fair chance to make something of themselves, and pass on a better life to their children.

We believe in a world where someone’s gender, sexual orientation and ethnicity should have no bearing on what you can achieve.

We believe that for everyone to get the fair chance they deserve, we must work to eliminate the gender-wage gap, and the ethnicity-wage gap. There is no reason in the 21st century for a working mom to be making less money than a white, male counterpart simply because of how they were born.

We also believe that regardless of whether you are black or white or brown or some mix in between, no matter who you love or what your gender identity is that all people belong in the United States.

We believe in a world where everyone – regardless of who they are – has equal access to quality education. That means we believe in funding education, from the K-12 to university level, so that no person, no matter where they are from, who wants to build a better life for themselves and their children cannot afford to.

We believe in a world where people can get the health care they need to preserve their lives, enjoy liberty and truly pursue happiness.

We also believe that government has a duty to ensure that health care is treated as a human right, so all people can enjoy their inalienable rights.

We believe that science exists, and that when funding for science is protected and nonpartisan that we will learn more than we ever have before. We also not only believe but know that climate change is happening around us, and that more must be done to protect the Earth for future generations.

We do not want to be the ones tasked with telling our grandchildren what it was like to see bees buzzing around, and what polar bears on the ice caps looked like. We want the same wonderful planet that we have enjoyed to be there for them as well.

One thing that became clear from town hall meetings, the Women’s March, Tax March and March for Science is that the Resistance draws from different political ideologies.

This is not a movement of people on the far left, but rather has people who voted for Democrats and Republicans at different points in time. It has people who identify with different parties today. It includes people with different policy preferences, and different worldviews.

However, there is one common thing that unites us all. In short, it is the words of former Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone. We believe that we all do better, when we all do better.

That does not mean we are asking for one specific piece of legislation to be passed, nor does it mean we seek one particular change in our government. It means that we want a society that works for everyone, rather than a select few.

At our core, those of us engaged in the Resistance want an America that works better for each of us, regardless of political affiliation.

We want African-Americans in cities like Ferguson, Milwaukee and Chicago to feel as though their government is working on their behalf rather than against them, for the children of Latino and Asian and Middle Eastern immigrants to feel as though they are wanted and welcome here.

We want the working-class people in post-industrial America to feel that their concerns are important too, and that the prospect of better jobs and a better life is not impossible.

We know that when everyone does better, we live in a better country, and in a better world. We are fighting for that world, and that Republic, which so many of us dream of.

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