In the US in modern times with every new government we get, we also get a new Resistance. Under Bush, the liberals/progressives came together to fight against the “oppressive regime”. Under Obama, the conservatives banded together to form various resistance campaigns and groups. And now with Trump in office, the liberals/progressives have formed counter resistance groups and campaigns, again. And even I have gotten sucked into it with my Smokey the Bear’s hat Resist t-shirt. I’m not sure resisting is getting us anything but more gridlock. We go back and forth. For eight years, we move in one direction and then for another eight the United States moves in the opposite direction. And hopefully we don’t have to wait so long this time for the pendulum to swing in the opposite direction it’s currently going. With each swing, moderates make more head way than anyone else it seems. A little bit here and a little bit there, we all move together. Who knows where we’ll end up?
When I originally wrote this, I wrote a bit about how it would be wonderful if our leaders could have a constructive dialog with each other, which is just a pipe dream given the grid-lock we have had for the last two to four decades. We’ve been watching a reality TV program of rich people squabbling in the name of politics. All the while, we are playing a long drawn out game of culture war badminton. Where we send our legal and editorial volleys back and forth so fast, the other team doesn’t have time to blink.
If we are heading towards a moderate policy, it would be great if we could get there in a sensible manner. But were to start when we approach the problem with the underlying idea of confrontation which is what resistance is. Sure the Resistance can be fun to watch in the movies as it takes on the evil First Order, but we don’t live in the movies. We live in a time where elderly people rely on meals for wheels, people need healthcare, and our environment needs to be protected. Resistance is a slow use of force to stop something from moving forward. It does feel good to stand up to someone who is oppressing you. It not only reminds them that others disagree, and it also stems off depression about the current situation. With each stand, we tackle the war move by move. Our energy is directed at each battle with no clear path to finish the war. We are a society that has mastered the art of never ending war, so it’s not a surprise that this one drags on, too.
One of the most recent matches was the Muslim Travel Ban. There were lots of back and forths. Some of it interesting, but mostly embarrassing for our country. Ultimately, a ban went into effect which no one is happy with. In the end, it really doesn’t protect us given our ability to grow terrorists at home. Sure, it can be argued that the policy that is in effect is a compromise, but not one we really need. Our cultural war is a pendulum with resistance slowing it down to stop in the middle. A middle can be muddled and no one is truly happy, but that is compromise which is a lost skill in this country. A middle can be a common place where people can learn and grow from each other, too. Something we all can do a little more of.
There are plenty of legal cases were the ruling went more left then right and vice versa. Where will we be in 10 or 20 years from now when the Millennials and Generation Z (sounds like a bad movie by the way) are at their height of political power or rising? They are the most open minded and tolerant generations living today. At times, I wonder what they would be intolerant of besides rape and murder. With each generation that rises, our society becomes more open. Even conservative politicians are aware of this. Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson refused to sign a religious freedom bill because of influence from his liberal son. Hutchinson knew it was a lost cause.
When I was the age most Generation Z folks are now, the magazines geared towards us were not writing about social issues like Teen Vogue does. Who knew a kids magazine about fashion would cover such topics as the traveling ban to North Korea, Florida politics, criminal justice reform, and how to be gay in Trump’s America – just to name a few. They even recently had an article about American Eagle selling a denim hijab, which by the way is sold out.
We need to continue to stand up for what we believe in and work for a caring society and a healthy ecology, but in many ways this is a war that is already over. The Trumps of the our country might pull us backwards for a few years and win battles here and there. Yes, they could do some irreparable damage to our environment which is why we need to keep the pressure up in that area. Some would say that they could pass laws to restrict our liberty, but this country would plunge into another civil war. We have been on the edge of that from the beginning. Their time is fading which gives me hope. Once they are gone, our resistance will not get us much further. We need to stop reacting via resistance, and instead lead. We need to plan for a secure future that will be tolerant for all people no matter one’s skin color, sexual orientation, gender, age, class status, etc. that will show people they can thrive in America. With a plan in place, it could be a beacon to those in our country who feel that we have forgotten them. It should be a rallying cry to unite and send a clear message of what it means to be inclusive.
Right now, the Democratic party can’t get a clear message out to voters about what they stand for. This is one of many reasons voters are turned off from the Democratic party. There are movements in the Democratic party to make a clear message, but there are also alternative movements outside the party doing the same thing. But those many voices on the left don’t trust or work at odds with each other which gets in the way of a clear path coming together. Hopefully, one will rise with a solid message before 2018 when it will be needed. If the end of the Democratic party happens when a new movement rises, so be it and maybe we are better off.
In the meantime, the call to office should be thought of as stepping up for the greater good, not a place for politicians to act like selfish children. But human nature being what it is, we can’t rely on someone doing the good thing because the good thing is not the same for all of us. In lue of firing everyone in Congress (sorry to see you go Bernie and Warren, but I’m sure you will find new jobs soon), the executive branch, and the Supreme Court and electing people from the Millennial and Generation Z demographic, I suggest we give policymakers a checklist. If a bill doesn’t meet the items on the checklist, then they don’t pass the bill. We can make it simple. One list item could be – does someone get physically hurt if this bill passes? Will someone lose their home? Could be another one. We can use the checklist until the pendulum stops for good.