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A Proposal for TIME to Declare the “Resistance” as 2017’s “Persons of the Year”

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There are moments in history when conditions come together to create the impetus for great social change. We now rest on the cusp of one of those foundational moments as greater numbers of people of disparate social identities, backgrounds, and ages have been organizing, resisting, throughout the nation, in cities and towns large and small, to challenge an ever-widening existential assault on our nation’s critical democratic institutions and on democracy itself.

We have long since past the point where it is merely hyperbole to compare the rise and control of European nationalism / fascism in the 1920s and 1930s to the rise and possible take-over of nationalism / fascism in the United States and in other countries around the world.

In both 1920s Europe and in U.S.-style alt-right fascism, strong leaders whipped up dehumanizing stereotypes resulting in the scapegoating of already-marginalized groups of people to blame for causing past problems and posing clear and present dangers to the state.

During the campaign season and after taking office, Donald Trump mocked a disabled reporter; called undocumented Mexican immigrants drug dealers, criminals, and rapists; denounced a U.S.-born federal judge on the basis of his ancestry; threatened to reinstate the failed and unconstitutional “stop and frisk” tactics used against primarily people of color; threatened lawsuits on anyone who speaks against him.

He promised to monitor U.S. Muslim residents and impose bans on Muslims entering the U.S.; vowed to reverse women’s reproductive freedoms and marriage equality of same-sex couples; retweeted white supremacists’ racist and anti-Jewish propaganda; boiled his rally audiences to a fever-pitch by demonizing and bashing the press. And most recently, he highlighted trans people’s already minoritized “other” status with his military ban.

The difference, however, between the great successes of fascism in Europe and the ultimate defeat of the Trump regime in the not-too-distant future is that while relatively few individuals and national leaders stood up early to fascism by forcefully speaking out and intervening, the unprecedented outpouring of resistance, protest, and intervention by individuals and entire nations demonstrates that the ultimate balance of power rests with “we the people.”

We cannot merely dismiss Donald Trump as a narcissistic and emotionally deranged sociopath who gained the most powerful position in the world simply for his own personal gain. While all this is possibly true, Trump represents the mouthpiece of the so-called alt-right in spreading his alt-facts within his alt-reality universe.

The political center and left, through the Resistance, speaks truth to power in actual reality serving as an antidote to Trumpism / fascism. In Trump’s own perverse way, he has acted as the catalyst sparking the connections and coalitions between people of disparate social backgrounds who maintain similar philosophies of social change and social justice.

The Resistance embodies Patriots challenging jingoist Nationalists.

Resistance members are organizing against a corporate culture that dictates economic policy through the purchasing and ownership of politicians at the expense of the people and our country, a corporate culture that eliminates workers’ health care and collective bargaining rights, one that promotes and maintains workplace inequalities based on race, nationality, age, sex, sexual identity, gender expression, and disability, one that forecloses our homes through scurrilous business practices, and one that holds students hostage to loan structures that jeopardizes their futures.

They are resisting a corporate culture that tortures animals, outsources our jobs, manufactures faulty products, privatizes previously public services, obstructs the development and production of clean energy technologies, one that poisons our food and our environment while pushing for deep cuts and restrictions in regulatory procedures.

They are resisting a military industrial complex that marches to the beat of industry, an educational system based on standardization and allegiance to corporate needs, and a prison industrial complex that perpetuates the racial and socioeconomic class inequities pervasive throughout the society.

They are resisting to ensure that health care is viewed as a human right and not as a privilege for only those with means. They are fighting for appropriate regulation over corporate extravagance and malpractice. And ultimately, they are working to take back a nation that truly serves its people, and to reinvigorate the “American dream.”

Veteran grassroots social justice workers and a new generation of activists are joining together in resistance to keep this concept called “the democratic experiment” alive. They are not willing to relinquish personal freedoms for false promises of increased national security through manupulation and scapegoating of an imaginary internal and external enemy.

The new Resistance is now transforming and revolutionizing the society and its institutions by challenging overall power inequities. They are making links in the various types of injustices, and they are forming coalitions between marginalized groups.

They are dreaming their dreams, sharing their ideas and visions, and organizing to ensure a world free from all the deadly forms of oppression, and along their journey, they are inventing new ways of relating and being in the world. Their stories, experiences, and activism have great potential to bring us to a future where people across backgrounds and identities will live freely, unencumbered by social and economic structures that benefit the few and limit the many.

Joining together they are making real Margaret Mead’s insightful and stirring statement:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The new Resistance movement has amended and transformed Mead’s “small group” to one of “every-increasing” size.

For these and many more reasons, I propose that TIME magazine awards the “Resistance” as its “Persons of the Year” for 2017.

But let’s not stop there. I also propose that the Nobel Committee grant the “Resistance” its 2017 “Peace Prize,” because in actuality, it is working to prevent the tragedy that was World War II.

Dr. Warren J. Blumenfeld is author of Warren’s Words: Smart Commentary on Social Justice (Purple Press); editor of Homophobia: How We All Pay the Price (Beacon Press), and co-editor of Readings for Diversity and Social Justice (Routledge) and Investigating Christian Privilege and Religious Oppression in the United States (Sense).

Permission to forward, print, or publish this proposal: warrenblumenfeld@gmail.com

Written by Warren Blumenfeld

July 29th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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