The marches and demonstrations against Trump have been successful and they should continue, but what else should we do. If the outpouring of concern stops with the marches we will not have effectively resisted Trump. Remember the Occupy movement. We must take continued action to either rebuild the Democratic Party to get back to its FDR concerns for the common man, or we need to build a new party that will. As our guiding vision I think we need to go back to Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr. preached concern for others and standing up for what you believe is right, but he did more than that. He espoused the creation of a beloved community in which there would be no poverty because society would support all at a basic level of existence; there would be no racism because each would see the other as a brother or sister; there would be no war, not because people would live without conflicts, but because they would find non-violent ways to settle them. This beloved community was not some pie in the sky utopia for King, but an achievable goal if enough people adopted his belief in nonviolence.

Over the last few weeks I have been collecting the ideas of others as to what to do going forward. A friend of mine recently wrote me:

“The difficulty of convincing Americans that this [MLK’s beloved community] is possible presents a challenge that has stalled social change in our country. I don’t see it as utopian at all, but it is beyond the recent or living experience of many. It is also contrary to the ideologies and social logics of Lockean liberal individualism, Social Darwinism, Ayn Rand, neoliberalism, and machine politics. [It is] incompatible with the reward-your-allies-screw-your-opponents politics that Congressional leaders have often practiced, encouraged by … cycles of gerrymandering that replaced competitive legislative districts with safe ones often represented by extremists who pay little attention to the views or wishes of constituents outside their party.” (Patrick Inman)

“What to do, you ask? It begins with the first step of awareness and commitment. Just go forward. Engage. Don’t despair.”  (Ken Burns)

Educate yourself. The Trump presidency will operate on misinformation and misconceptions. You need to investigate each claim, analyze each move, and find out the facts. Trump says we need more law and order, but crime is actually down. He says we need more jobs but unemployment is lower than it has been in several years. Trump says immigration from Mexico is a problem; this immigration has been dropping for years. Apply your critical thinking skills to examine the assumptions, evidence, and reasoning of the new administration.

“Expecting marginalized people to educate you isn’t being an ally, it’s being lazy and expecting others to do the work for you. Being an ally also means actively doing your part and learning more about the inequalities that certain people face on a daily basis. At this point, there are endless resources that we all can use to learn more about a variety of issues – from racial inequalities to transphobia. While it is beneficial to hear how people have personally been affected by injustice, Google is always free and there to find you resources of all kinds.” (Christopher Lawrence )

“You should find like minded people — not just from your social circle, but everywhere. Change the opinions of others, not with ridicule, but reason.” (Ken Burns) Social media is not the place for this, it demands face to face interaction. We can respond in a number of ways. “Assuming the main issue is misinformation, science about climate change and data analyses on the feasibility of various proposals including mass deportations, border walls, and registries can be brought forth. Assuming the main issue is dialogue, friendly conversations can be pursued.  Assuming the main issue is fake news, more real news can be circulated. We must understand that those people who did not vote as we did are not our enemy. In fact, true engagement is walking into the heart of that constituency, offering shared stories and real solutions rather than narratives that are calculated to divide. We should offer fellowship and unity, where fake news has helped stoke tribal angers.” (Daniel Jose Camacho)

These are only starting methods to bring about King’s ideas. The problem is that the opposition to King’s dream has a particular vision of the world supported by people with the power to carry it out. “This kind of political project can’t be fact-checked away. As the profoundly undemocratic conditions in the state politics of North Carolina have recently proven, conciliatory attempts to compromise with this project are absorbed and outmatched by those wielding power. In such cases, our American value of bi-partisanship is exposed because there are certain things that cannot be met halfway and there are times when both parties fail us.” (Daniel Jose Camacho)

You should contribute to organizations that will press the agenda you support.  We can no longer count on the federal government to press King’s issues for us. “Give to organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, the Anti-Defamation League, or to the Sierra Club, and Planned Parenthood. Making a donation to help someone else is no substitute for individual and collective mobilization, but it is one thing we can do. In any liberal democracy, the ultimate guardian of decency and civil liberties is an active civil society, which can push back against efforts to mislead the public, flout accepted norms, and centralize power.” (John Cassidy)

We should support civil society. “What is civil society? In addition to big national organizations, such as labor unions, the A.C.L.U., and the N.A.A.C.P., civil society comprises countless local groups, including charities, environmental activists, church groups, think tanks, reading groups, peace campaigners, parents’ associations, and youth groups. It encompasses any group that mediates between the individual, the government, and the market, and whose goal is promoting the common good. The thing to do is to pick an organization that reflects your personal interests or an issue that motivates you, get involved, and stick with it.” (John Cassidy)

We should support independent journalism. For all the power of Twitter, fake news, and the social-media echo chamber, real news can still break through all the noise. “We must understand too that we have also been betrayed by the so-called “mainstream media,” who fawned for months over one candidate, giving him billions of dollars of free media. We have been betrayed by cynical executives more interested in a buck than the facts of the matter. We have been betrayed by the lazy paid pundits more interested in protecting their own “brands” than in the well-being of the Republic they pretend to serve.” (Ken Burns)

We should contact your congressman and senator and tell them to stand up for King’s ideas. “For good or ill, the first line of defense the will be the U.S. Capitol. It will be up to legislators in both parties not to cut deals that target the weak, encroach upon civil rights, or enrich the new first family. Thanks to the Internet and a growing number of apps, it is now very simple to find your elected representatives and let them know what you think. Surprising as it may be to some skeptics, elected officials do listen to their constituents, especially when they get in touch with them personally in large numbers by telephoning their local or D.C. offices.” (John Cassidy) You can also contact Congresspeople and Senators in other districts who take the proper stands, to let them know they are not alone and their courage is appreciated.

We should support local initiatives. “Democratic lawmakers in California, put forward a series of measures designed to protect undocumented immigrants in the state from deportation.” (John Cassidy) Anthony Rendon, the speaker of the State Assembly, said “We are telling the next Administration and Congress: if you want to get to them, you have to go through us.” (Anthony Rendon) Jerry Brown, California’s governor, vowed to fight any efforts from the incoming Administration to rollback efforts to tackle climate change. Reacting to a suggestion from one of Trump’s advisers that Trump could eliminate NASA‘s earth-science programs, Brown said, “We’ve got the scientists, we’ve got the lawyers, and we’re ready to fight. . . . If Trump turns off the satellites, California will launch its own damn satellite.”(Jerry Brown)

We should support electoral reform. “In still relying on the Electoral College, we are beholden to the prejudices and interests of an eighteenth-century ruling class that was white, landed, and dedicated to preserving the prerogatives of their individual states. With the winner of the popular vote having lost two of the last five Presidential elections, you might think there would be a movement to change the system—and there is. It’s called the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, and it’s an agreement among a group of states to award all of their votes in the Electoral College to the candidate who wins the popular vote. The beauty of this scheme is that it doesn’t require a constitutional amendment to insure a truly democratic outcome. But it does need the support of states with two hundred and seventy electoral votes between them, and so far only eleven states, representing a hundred and sixty-five votes, have signed on.” (John Cassidy)

We must organize, organize, organize. Organize wherever you are so that actions taken are the work of a group not just an individual. “We must try to remember that the tactic of demonizing whole groups of people, nearly always backfires, that real change will come when middle class whites, Hispanics and blacks realize they share more in common with each other than those in whose interest it is that they stay divided. This has been a successful strategy for generations in this country: why not blame the other, who might take your job, rather than blame the boss who laughs all the way to the bank.”  (Ken Burns)

We must engage the business sector — “corporate America will play a huge role in helping maintain our equilibrium, either by applying pressure to retrograde political forces or facing the pain of consumer boycotts. We must try to point out that even with a progressive president who taxed the wealthy, the gap between the haves and have-nots has grown; we can be assured now that this gap will only grow, not shrink.” (Ken Burns) However, Henry Ford paid his workers well because he wanted them to be able to buy his cars. We just have to convince businesses that paying workers well will result in high sales and profits in the long run.

We must protect the vulnerable whether this includes Muslims, immigrants, women, or the LGBT community. I read just today about a petition organized by actor George Takei. (You might remember him as Sulu on the original Star Trek) As a child he and his family were put in a Japanese internment camp. He has vowed to fight anything that would lead to that for others. His petition is against the formation of the Muslim registry that candidate Trump proposed.

In the end the important thing is to keep our eye on the power we do possess and the various avenues by which we can resist. Don’t let anybody steal your power by convincing you that you don’t have any. What can resistance look like? Not everyone can do all of the things on this list, but everyone can do some of them. As Trump represents all that is bad about America, let us be all that is good about it.

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