The Immediacy of Now

Some of our greatest politicians have understood and practiced the concept of the “fierce urgency of now.” Under that philosophy, there will never be any greater time to take steps in advancing a progressive, pro-social, pro-racial, pro-science, and pro-environmental agenda than there is right now.

I was first introduced to the idea during the 2008 elections, but I feel those words ring true, more now than ever. To give you an idea of the urgency, I must first give you an idea of the context. We are six months into the American tragedy that is the Donald Trump presidency.

In his first thirty days after the inauguration, Donald Trump was named in more than 50 lawsuits. He signed multiple executive orders, many of which were almost immediately overturned by the courts as illegal on the grounds of racial, religious, and social segregation. Trump was widely criticized for spending almost a quarter of his time in his Palm Beach resort home, wasted an entire 25 hours golfing and 18 hours tweeting, and yet spent only 6 hours in intelligence briefings. He’d also managed to spend more taxpayer money on travel in his first month than Obama spent per year during an eight-year administration.

Let me be clear. Those statistics are only from his first thirty days. Prior to taking office, Trump was accused in numerous sexual harassment, wrongful termination, and defamation lawsuits. We had a physical video of him talking about sexually assaulting women. He’d gone through numerous bankruptcies and had been sued for robbing millions from people seeking education from his fake university.

I recall noting during his first joint address to congress, I had witnessed some of the shortest and quietest applause breaks seen in long televised history of congressional addresses. Trump condemned threats on Jewish community centers, but wholly disregarded Hispanics, Muslims, and many other nationalities and religions, like the two Indian victims of a hate crime, shot just a few short days prior by a white extremist claiming to have saved the world from two terrorists.

In my post-address rebuttal for my Ben on Politics Webseries, I remember reiterating that we will not abandon our values of all individuals, of all races and religions, operating free of persecution in America, regardless of a close-eyed presidency.

Trump is adamant about eliminating the national deficit and openly criticizes spending abroad, but quotes building the military by almost sixty billion dollars, spending hundreds of billions on mass deportations, countless billions on a nonfunctional southern border wall, and promotes a one trillion-dollar investment in American infrastructure. Keep in mind, he does all of this in the same breath the criticizes President Obama for spending to end an economic recession by similarly stimulating the economy.

He gladly states that dying industries will come roaring back to life, like coal and steel, but with no indication of how or why a dying industry would or should come back when demand for their products are gone because the products are obsolete. He also took steps to deregulate environmental restrictions on those industries, claiming those regulations were hurting the businesses. Here’s a comparison. For the same reason, Americans are not buying cassette tapes and CDs in favor of streaming services and phones, we’re no longer buying coal and steel in favor of wind, solar, natural gas, aluminum, plastics, and carbon fiber technologies. Yet, we don’t invest billions in subsidizing the portable cassette player, nor do we tell the tea industry they can put go unregulated and put poisons in their products, just because coffee is now more competitive.

Back to racial issues, Trump is always excited to discuss his ban on Muslim countries as a defense against attacks such as those on the World Trade Center almost 20 years ago. If his fear is that these attacks were caused by immigrants, I remind him his ban misses the largest contributor to those attacks in 2000: The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The same nation he signed a hundred-million-dollar arms deal with and chose to prioritize above our warming relationship with a non-nuclear Iran.

Trump loves to cite Alexander Graham Bell as an American pioneer of technology, but forgets Bell was a Scottish immigrant in a time when Irish and Scottish immigrants were facing some very similar public criticisms to those of Hispanic and middle eastern nationalities being attacked and persecuted by the acts of, and hatred from, modern day white nationalist and conservative political groups.

It is because of these embarrassing acts tarnishing America’s morals and standards that I can also report the resistance to Trump’s rhetoric is strong. Every single Democrat in this nation, and every single Republican wise enough to recognize the torrent of tyrannical behaviors, is rising up to meet and eventually overpower this tidal wave of white extremism and aristocratic bias.

Looking once again at marches and protests, Trump’s rainy inauguration of only 160,000 attendees was overshadowed by not only Obama’s 1.8 million attendees in 2009, but also a record-setting peaceful demonstration of 500,000 Women’s March attendees in DC, 408 domestic marches attended by 3-4 million from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and 673 marches worldwide, totaling approximate attendance of 5 million protestors, in all. Marches ranged across all seven continents, including Antarctica. If you’ll excuse the millennial phraseology, America is woke.

These have not been our only marches. We’ve hatched inauguration protests, airport protests against Trump’s targeted Muslim ban, protests against both of his immigration enforcement orders, Not My President’s Day rallies, vigils for immigrant families, days of immigrant and refugee rights, marches for his tax returns, marches for science, and marches for climate change awareness have stormed capitol buildings, court houses, city, and town halls from coast to coast.

Across the country, voters are turning out in record numbers to congressional town halls to let our elected officials know we won’t stand up for this sort of behavior from them or our president. Our voices were heard so loud and so clear, a number of congressmen and women cancelled their rallies, no-showed, or held last-minute conference calls to avoid being held accountable to their behavior.

In fact, my home congressional district – the Texas 25th – hosts town hall events for our corrupt Congressman, Roger Williams, who hasn’t held his own town hall in nearly a decade. These aren’t the wild and heated overtures Republicans and Fox News would have you believe. A panel of policy experts is gathered, questions are asked by the audience, and answers are provided to the best of the ability of the panelists. In lieu of our always absent Congressman, a local volunteer collects binders full (Mitt Romney joke) of statements from Williams, and reads them when they’re pertinent to the question.

On the possibility of millions losing healthcare coverage, public outcry over the repeal of the affordable care act has caused yet-surmounted obstacles to republicans taking swift action to do so. They managed to barely force a Republican victory in the House, but the possibility of any success being found in the senate remains to be seen.

Our question remains how to continue to channel that strength. Almost 600 new Israeli settlements are now threatening the balance of peace and imposing potential turmoil in the Middle East. Trump’s administration has fully disavowed some of the most prestigious and accurate news agencies of our time, even banning them from closed-door sessions. Their attacks on truth and fact can be interpreted in no way other than as disinformation to fuel their own ambitions. Promises to release his tax returns leading up to the election and post-election have now been walked-back, especially in conjunction with new allegations about the administration’s ties to foreign leaders and intelligence agencies. To that same point, after only thirty days in office, we’d seen a resignation of two cabinet members, one for collusion, and another for a history of domestic violence before he could even be confirmed.

The nation has shown an aversion to the Trump presidency, with over 2,000 appointed positions yet unfilled. This temporary reprieve leaves his administration without the arms and legs needed for him to carry out his shameful seminal policies and prevent his promises for the dissolution of guaranteed social equalities like basic human, gender, and racial rights in this nation.

We, as the resistance, have some words for Donald Trump. When you STAND in favor of racial intolerance. And you STAND in favor of religious intolerance. When you don’t STAND in the way of racial and religious turmoil in America, AMERICA does not STAND with you.

We stand against you, against the violence and hatred you fail to adequately condemn. We will build the bridges you fail to build, and we will re-build the bridges you’ve chosen to burn. When you stand, in smugness, in the hallowed halls of the white house, you stand bearing the torch with which you’ve burned our bridges of peace and unity. We will not let you lead us down those dark hallways of hatred, bigotry, fear, and classism. We are the resistance. Hear our roar.

Ben Garves