Musings

What Shall Our Resistance Be?

“You can build walls all the way to the sky and I will find a way to fly above them. You can try to pin me down with a hundred thousand arms, but I will find a way to resist. And there are many of us out there, more than you think. People who refuse to stop believing. People who refuse to come to earth. People who love in a world without walls, people who love into hate, into refusal, against hope, and without fear.

I love you. Remember. They cannot take it.” 
― Lauren Oliver, Delirium

Emergency! We’re in a state of Emergency! Apparently we are still in a state of emergency over the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Still in a state of emergency over 9/11. According to yesterday’s NPR’s The Indicator on the Planet Money show, we’re currently in 32 national States of Emergency that just keep getting renewed year after year after year. They’ve become routine. It seems to be about how a president gets the money to go where she (yeah, yeah–or he, in this case and every previous case) wants it to go. So what to do about this Border Wall Emergency?

I don’t know what to think. It seems that perhaps the comparisons to Hitler’s declaration of a State of Emergency in Germany after the burning of the Reichstag in 1933 are pretty alarmist, but that comparing it to President Obama’s declaration of a State of Emergency regarding entry of citizens from Venezuela in 2015 is a little too mild. It seems to foretell, as the man said in his speech yesterday, a lot of bureaucracy, a lot of wrangling in Congress and the courts. Who knows where it will end?

It’s another step. Another petulant grab for attention and air time by a narcissist reality television president who creates drama in order to up his ratings. Another manipulation to get his way for a petulant leader whose unfounded scare tactics have failed to secure him his xenophobic legacy wall.

I’ll be the first to admit that it ramped up my anxiety to a higher level of shrill, that I jumped on the train to Anxietyville without looking at the other possible destinations. I posted a White Rose as my Facebook profile picture, a signal to myself to stay awake and ready to resist.

Still, I think it is perhaps wise to take this moment to consider our resistance, to consider what preparations we need to make and continue to make in order to create and maintain just systems and structures.

1. Clearly, this is part of the ongoing demonization of Mexican and Central American asylum seekers. When the anti-immigrant groups speak in strident tones about our problem with illegal immigration, it would behoove us to keep in mind that the number of unauthorized immigrants in the United States has been steadily declining since 2007, not rising catastrophically as the president and his associates would have us believe. See this Pew Research poll for more information. Resistance Point One: Keep the facts in mind.

2. This current leader announced his candidacy for president by characterizing Mexican immigrants as rapists and murderers, and his calls for a wall have consistently characterized the people who are coming to our borders seeking asylum as drug traffickers and gang members. While some people do no doubt cross our borders for nefarious purposes, the president has used this stereotype to call upon racial anxieties. Resistance Point Two: Call out racism whenever and wherever you see it. It is not enough to be disgusted by someone’s racist public speech. If we do not speak out against it, we are complicit.

3. In response to this administration’s border obsessions, ICE appears to be overstepping its boundaries. Resistance Point Three: Be prepared to protect and harbor people targeted by ICE. Speak up for due process. Stand in the gap. Offer sanctuary.

4. Resistance Point Four: Use language which breaks barriers and tears down walls. Collaborative conversation opens people’s minds much more readily than shaming does. (Still, don’t be afraid to call out malice–see point 2.)

5. Resistance is also about building the just structures and systems that we want to see. We don’t have to wait until this fiasco of an administration is out of power. Resistance Point Five: Work for justice and equality in everything you do.

What are your ideas for Persistent Resistance?

What do you think?

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