Sydney M. Williams
Thought of the Day
“RAT – Resist Anything Trump”
December 18, 2017
“You see, the point is that the strongest man in the world is he who stands alone.”
Resistance is ancient. A few brave men and women have always stood against tyranny. The movie “Spartacus” depicted a slave rebellion in ancient Rome. The Protestant Reformation was resistance against Catholicism. Henry David Thoreau gave us civil disobedience. We associate resistance with the French and Polish undergrounds during the Second World War. More recently, George Lucas used resistance as the center of his epic film “Star Wars.” Leia Organa founds a small military force, “The Resistance,” to combat the First Order, which had risen from the ashes of the Galactic Empire.
Resistance is a call for freedom and a means to defend liberty. It was resistance against King John that established the Magna Carta in 1215, which limited the powers of the king. American patriots resisted the imposition of taxes, by tossing tea into Boston harbor in 1773. Woodrow Wilson noted that “the history of liberty is the history of resistance.”
But today’s resistance against Donald Trump has none of that legitimacy or idealism. It’s driven by hatred. It grew out of last year’s election, when Mr. Trump, anti-establishment and an outsider to Washington’s Beltway politics, was elected President. It claims spontaneity, but is led by a group called Indivisible (www.indivisible.org), and comprised of organizations like Black Lives Matter, Women’s March Global and the Center for Community Change. It has been funded by Democracy Alliance, which has steered more than $600 million toward selected liberal groups since its inception in 2005, and by MoveOn.org, the PAC set up by billionaire George Soros. It is supported by those in the media who decry Mr. Trump’s “toxic and menacing presidency,” as L.A. Kaufman, in The Guardian, put it. The “resistance” has the endorsement of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Organizing for Action, the PAC set up by Mr. Obama in 2008, has been relaunched with its purpose to derail Mr. Trump’s Presidency. Ms. Clinton incorporated Organizing for Action, a PAC to help fund resistance groups, transferring $800,000 from her campaign funds.
Most disconcerting, “resistance” is embedded in federal bureaucracies, like the IRS, the State Department and the Department of Justice. It descends from resistance to conservatives – recall the stone-walling of Lois Lerner at the IRS in 2015? Today, the State Department is boycotting the President’s Jerusalem policy, as can be seen with 15-year-old American, Menachem Zivotofsky who was born in Jerusalem and is trying to get his passport to say he was born in Israel. We saw it in James Comey’s testimony, and in the anti-Trump e-mails between Peter Strzok and his paramour, Lisa Page. It was seen in Sally Yates, a holdover from the Obama Administration, refusing to enforce a legal order on immigration, and in the refusal of Leandra English to hand over control of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau after the President had appointed Mick Mulvaney to be interim head. It can be seen in the Senate’s “slow-walking” of hundreds of administrative appointments, and in the endless investigations into alleged Russian-Trump collusion.
The “resistance” has been abetted by a press more interested in advocacy than news. In his recent history, The Second World Wars, Victor Davis Hanson writes about one of Mussolini’s characteristics: “…appreciating the power of propaganda, especially ideological driven journalism.” The “resistance” has the same skill; they are fortunate in an accommodating media. The repeated use of fake stories – even those later retracted – serves their purpose. As Lee Smith of the Weekly Standard and Hudson Institute recently wrote: “When you repeatedly publish ‘news’ that isn’t true, you’re no longer in the news business.”
Granted, Mr. Trump makes an easy target. With his dyed hair, Tweets, solecisms, vulgarisms, complex financial history and three wives, he is a caricature of a modern-day Mr. Potter, as portrayed by Lionel Barrymore in “It’s a Wonderful Life.” In looks and behavior, he is the antithesis of the bureaucrat who, mired in establishment muck, speaks impeccably. Lacking suavity, Mr. Trump treats people the same, regardless of race, sex, age or religion. He doesn’t differentiate, as his recent Tweet to Senator Gillibrand (D-NY) showed. (He used the same words “will do anything” about Mitt Romney.) He does not subscribe to identity politics. He does not compartmentalize voters. He is a threat to a progressive culture that has dominated Washington for the last eighty years.
Mr. Trump’s character prevents me from being a whole-hearted endorser of the man. However, I agree with most of his policies, especially those that relate to the economy, taxes, regulation and his handling of Islamic extremists. Mr. Trump is that rare individual who says what he means and means what he says. Diplomacy and the English language are not his strong suits. I admire him for calling out the sanctimony and hypocrisy that have become the norm in Washington. We see the latter in the pomposity and duplicity of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, who, with each Presidential Tweet, dash toward cameras and microphones, to condemn him with feigned astonishment and undisguised scorn.
What has happened in the past twelve months is unprecedented in American politics, with the exception of the Civil War. Political parties have disagreed, but none since John Breckinridge in 1861 have tried to destroy a Presidency so blatantly. Smooth transitions in democracies are integral. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were political enemies, but when Jefferson won the election of 1800, Adams did not try to sabotage Jefferson’s administration. Lyndon Johnson and Hubert Humphrey did not try to invalidate Richard Nixon, and Gerald Ford gave way graciously to Jimmy Carter. Carter, while disappointed with his loss in 1980, did not impair Ronald Reagan. George H.W. Bush did not undercut Bill Clinton. The Clintons may have trashed the White House, but they didn’t interfere with President Bush. And George Bush did not criticize Barack Obama. A Presidential transition is the point when democracies are most at risk. In the past, outgoing Party’s stood by and let the new take over – not enthusiastically, but not as resistors.
Think about it: After leaving office, Jimmy Carter built houses with Habitat for Humanity; Ronald Reagan disappeared into the mists of Alzheimer’s; George H.W. Bush enjoyed his large family; Bill Clinton went to New York and made a couple of hundred million dollars; George W. Bush went to Texas and painted portraits of veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Barack Obama, however, is staying in Washington to set up a PAC to help discredit his successor.
Democracies are fragile, so vigilance is wanted. They are susceptible to the whims of powerful, but evil, seductive and persuasive men and women – autocrats who can come from either the right or the left. In my opinion, the risks are greater from the left, as those manning the ramparts – the Fourth Estate – have eyes right, watching for Fascists and nationalists. They ignore the slow-growth, but insidious, left-leaning administrative state, which is quietly gathering strength and size. The federal government employs two million people – overseen by 535 elected representatives. The bureaucrats who day-to-day manage those employees are, for the most part, progressives who, because of where and how they live, are largely immune from the effects of their policies – programs said to be beneficent, but designed to give them more power.
Keep in mind, it is mice that do not stir, when “the stockings [are] hung by the chimney with care.” As for RATs, they’re still scurrying around, and will be on Christmas Eve. Nonetheless, enjoy the Holidays!