We are facing the fight of our lives. It’s that simple.
Not that you would know it from listening to leading liberal politicians, media mavens and even labor leaders since Donald Trump won the electoral college and the presidency on Nov. 8.
“If you succeed, the country succeeds,” President Obama told Trump when they chatted in front of reporters during his successor’s November 10 visit to the White House. In her concession speech Hillary Clinton urged Americans to “keep an open mind,” about what Trump could accomplish as the 45th president of the United States, even as his emboldened supporters engaged in a wave of bias attacks across the country.
What to expect from Trump was made more abundantly clear on Nov. 13 when he appointed white supremacist media mogul Stephen Bannon (See Page 7) to be a top advisor in his administration. Bannon heads Breitbart News, an influential far right website that offers its readers a steady diet of racist tropes and wild conspiracy theories. Neo-Nazi groups and the Ku Klux Klan marveled at how they had suddenly gone from the fringes of politics to having one of their own literally steps away from the Oval Office.
This is not normal.
The past 60 years has seen a vast expansion in the civil rights of members of historically marginalized groups in our society, i.e. every one who is not a straight white male. Cultural norms about what is acceptable behavior have also changed. Now that progress is going into reverse.
Yet the normalizing of Trump continues. This isn’t about the personal failings of establishment liberals. The problem is they are fully encrusted inside a power structure that rewards them handsomely. They may revile Trump but in the end they are more concerned about the legitimacy and stability of the system of which the presidency is a key part than about the people who will be targeted by Trump.
In this environment, the Left’s role is to put the safety and well-being of people first and resist all the ugly manifestations of incipient fascism at every turn until it is defeated. Here at The Indypendent, we will accompany social justice movements every step of the way in this struggle and continue striving to give voice to those most affected. It was what this publication was created to do.
We won’t know how bad it’s going to be until Trump and his minions take power in January. We can expect them to go on the offensive on many fronts at the same time. Liberal opposition will likely be weak and inconsistent. We are going to lose a lot. There will be people and places we love who will be hurt and we won’t always be able to protect them, which will sting even more. Social movements will also fight back fiercely and win victories that would not seem possible.
One thing I learned from the Bush-era is that we will have to pace ourselves for the long haul to avoid demoralization and burnout. If there has been a saving grace since November 8, it is that these terrible events have driven us toward each other in our fear and our vulnerability. In the face of great evil, we value all the more that which cannot be taken away — love, friendship, our compassion for others.
In my own life, I find myself not only cherishing friends and family more keenly but feeling an acute appreciation for any and all signs of kindness and human decency. The mess we’re in can only be solved through politics and collective action. But the strength we will need to persevere may come from quieter moments between the storms.
Here’s How You Can Help
The Indy’s ability to be a powerful voice going forward is growing. Thanks to foundation support, we began placing outdoor news boxes around the city earlier this fall for the first time. This will allow us to double our circulation for starters and reach audiences who would not have otherwise discovered The Indy.
To continue expanding we will need the help of supporters who are willing to keep an eye on boxed placed in their neighborhoods. We also are looking to get the paper into more venues and distribute it at more events and subway stations. It takes a village to move a newspaper. To find out more, email us at email@example.com or call 212-904-1282.
— John Tarleton