Politically I have felt like I was in the minority most of my adult life. Even when the presidents for whom I voted have held office they were either too conservative too much of the time (for me) or in constant deadlock with congress (or being impeached). Generally speaking, I didn’t whine too much. The country waxes and wanes, yes? When Clarence Thomas was confirmed as a justice to the supreme court I turned to a friend and said, “a Democrat was just elected president.”
At the time, I think I was hoping it would be Jerry Brown.
On election day in 2004 I had no plans to vote. I knew Kerry couldn’t win and I was absolutely despondent aside from my confidence that in 2008 we would elect a Democrat. I was walking home from the bus stop when I noticed a hand written sign stapled to a telephone pole, just high enough that it couldn’t easily be torn down, that read: “Terrorists for Kerry.” I shrugged it off but then I saw another one. I changed my route and headed for my polling station to vote, passing four more signs along the way. At that point, I didn’t feel like I was in the minority, I felt like I was part of the opposition. For the last six years I have felt like I belonged to the opposition party. But that was fine. That’s what we do, despite the fact (okay, my belief) that our country was, as George Carlin said, bought and paid for a long time ago, our job was just to keep the money from ruling absolutely.
Looking at the current crop of Republican candidates I’ve had to rethink how I would refer to myself if one of them became president.
As much as I dislike Jeb Bush as presidential material or Chris Christie as human material, if either of them, or several other candidates, became president, I would soldier on as part of the “opposition.”
Even if Ted Cruz became president, I would still think of myself as part of the opposition. I would be more active but I would think of myself as standing in opposition to an extreme interpretation of our democracy. If Ben Carson were elected, I wouldn’t be happy but I wouldn’t worry too much. I’d become a Paul Ryan supporter overnight and I would pay close attention to the White House staff and we would survive. If Nixon couldn’t control the bureaucracy, Carson won’t be able to get out of bed without permission. He wouldn’t win a second term.
But if Donald Trump were elected president, that’s a horse of a different color entirely. If it happened, how would I think of myself? To me it seems like “opposition” is too tame, woefully inadequate.
I mean, I can throw fits pretty good (no surprise) and be good and angry and spout off with a fair degree of steam and a little poetry mixed in, but what do I do, who am I, with a Donald Trump in the White House. I wasn’t sure until recently.
If Donald Trump were elected president of the United States of America, I would then be part of the resistance. What does that mean? Well, I don’t know yet. Elect Trump and we’ll find out, but be certain that if the rules change enough to put a Trump in the White House then the rules change everywhere and in every way. The day Donald Trump is sworn in as president of the United Sates is the day that all bets are off and precedent, tradition and expectation are flushed down the toilet. You will no longer be allowed to expect me to play nice or adhere to any convention whatsoever. I will resist. I will resist. I will resist.
And finally, I think what it means is I will rebel. And maybe it’s time anyway.