Sunday, April 30, 2017

100 Days of Trump, A Thousand More Days of Resistance: Who Will Define What Counts As Protest?

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, Harrisburg, 4.29.17
Yesterday signaled the 100th day of the Trump regime. 

And while he celebrated at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex with a crowd of 7000, hundreds of thousands more from Harrisburg and across the country took to the streets to signal their enduring resistance to The Donald's erratic autocratic kleptocracy. 

Inside the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex, Trump returned to performing the only stunts he knows: campaigning for an ego whose voracious appetite demands countless fawning acolytes and supplicants.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 4.29.17
But while Trump is busy ravaging the media, promising the wall, lying about healthcare, refusing to hand over his tax returns, playing loads of golf at our direct expense, whining about how hard it is to be president, smooching it up with Vladimir Putin, and wallowing in the blind veneration of followers apparently prepared to follow him down the rabbit hole of poverty wages, rejected health insurance claims, a decimated environment, potential nuclear war, and climate change, millions of others are right outside protesting--every single day. 

And every day includes Trump's 100th day.

Indeed, I was very proud to march with the several hundred resistance fighters along the "free speech" zone on Forster Street in Harrisburg yesterday--an unusually hot day, and a long one. Many of these intrepid patriots had already spent their day protesting The Donald at the People's Climate march in Washington DC. 
Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, Harrisburg, 4.29.17

But we made the trek to Harrisburg because we know that our presence must be as relentless as our message: 

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, Harrisburg, 4.29.17
Resign Mr. Trump. Take your entire incompetent, corrupt, anti-democratic cabinet with you. Do it for your country. Do it for your self-respect. Do it for your friends.

The likelihood, of course, is that Mr. Trump won't take our advice. Why would he when he and his children stand to profit to the tune of millions upon millions of dollars so long as he can keep just enough of us bamboozled for the next four years--minus 100 days?

It is, however, this prospect--the unimaginable damage this administration could create--that must inform the resistance.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, Harrisburg, 4.29.17
While I applaud the endurance and commitment of my fellows yesterday and everyday in what has now become the permanent protest, we must also muster equally resolute resistance to the Trump regime's readiness to criminalize civil disobedience.

Indeed, if we allow the Trumpsters to convince us that refusing to follow a police command to disperse is an act of violence--when it is not-- we will neither be taken seriously when we insist we've had enough of the administration's fascism, nor will we be able to recruit other citizens to our cause.

Refusing to move--sitting down and locking arms--is not an act of violence.

It is an act of solidarity--en masse, protecting one another, in justice.

It is a recognition that the violence is all on the other side.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee

The denial of healthcare is an act of violence.

Bombing Yemeni children is an act of violence.

Vomiting greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is an act of violence.

Refusing to move is an act of courageous commitment to justice, to the future, and to each other. 

And the fact that the police are just doing their job is irrelevant. Of course they are. This is what they do in a police state. Fact is, our refusal to acquiesce to the violence that's becoming institutionalized as the Trump kleptocracy is a moral duty, and that is what we must say to the police as they mace us, tear gas us, arrest us, and carry us away.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 4.29.17
To be clear, I'm not suggesting that yesterday's event in Harrisburg was that day.

To be even clearer in the interest of thwarting those who seek to use any excuse they can find to criminalize dissent, I do  not advocate violence--or even the appearance of it.

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 4.29.17
We cannot afford that. What we must keep at the forefront of our resolve is that when the police tear gas us, rubber bullet us, arrest us, and haul us away, we are simply choosing to absorb and thereby make absolutely public the violence of this fascist state. 

We symbolize the turn to tyranny of the Trump regime simply by refusing to accede to it.

And that day must come, and it must come soon. The day when we decide collectively, deliberately, and without flinching to refuse to move

That day where we must sit down, lock arms, and refuse to move. 

Where we sit down in order to stand up.

That is the moment when we personify a democracy.

That is the moment where the freedom Trump so blithely debauches as an advertising strategy becomes real and unimpeachable.

That is the moment we liberate our children.

That is the moment where we become "The People."

Wendy Lynne Lee

Photo Wendy Lynne Lee, 4.29.17

For the full set of photographs, please see:


Unknown said...

Thank you, Professor Lee for your forthright denunciation of the accelerating criminalization of dissent. Many of us with decades of experience of civic speech have seen the police violence, the escalation of military style technology brought into play against the simple "protected speech" of the citizen protestor.
While Presidents Johnson fumed, and President Nixon enabled CoIntelpro the increasing attacks by the Bush and even Obama governments against dissent and whistleblowers show the begrudging respect paid the power of the brave citizen that brings their voice, their simple voice and presence to the civic square. We will not be commodified, but we may we'll be herded, pepper sprayed, surveilled across all electronic data landscapes and when we will find our mere presence offends the corporate mission we will find our very voice or stance criminalized by those who find poisoning by corporate polluters or massive theft by bankers and insurance industrialists too complex to prosecute, your failure to forgo your right to dissent has magically been transformed from a Constitutional Right/Duty to felonious hyper-criminalized behavior. ( Even at times in advance of any action ). We shall see under the Trumpean Display period, ever increasing need to dissent, with the near complete Corporate Capture of what used to be at least "symbolically" representative governance - with a non responsive legislative branch and a gutted regulatory arm and a right wing judiciary- American's Right to dissent will be both needed and under assault like never before.
We shall overcome, but we will sing our songs of freedom from smaller and small sanctuary.
S o l I d a r n o s c!

Wendy Lynne Lee said...

Thank you Mr. Spisak for this kind and perspicacious comment. It is indeed time to make not only our voices heard, but our demand to live in a world free of the dictatorship of wealth.