We have a responsibility to get back up and fight like hell


(Nov. 10, 2016) — It was hard to get up yesterday. I was certain we were going to see our first woman president. But that isn’t what happened. Instead, we have a racist, sexist, xenophobic, lying, sociopath who seems to be possibly the least qualified person to hold the presidency ever.

But Trump didn’t come out of nowhere to suddenly capture the hearts and minds of middle America.

Trump didn’t invent American racism, sexism, xenophobia, or the sociopathology and lies of neoliberalism and corporate capitalism. And I think it is just those things that got him elected. There’s been an undeniable surge of resistance that has been highly visible through the last few years — Occupy, Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, climate activism, labor unions are seen more favorably, capitalism isn’t the sacred cow it was, and there’s been people’s actions against neoliberalism across the globe.

I think we are seeing a backlash. It’s been convenient for the Republican Party to use race and class and gender to serve the interests of capital — it’s been a pretty effective tool, since the beginning of this country’s founding, to prey on the fears of poor and working class people, to pit poor whites against poor people of color, to pit powerless men against strong women, to pit the last generation’s immigrants against the newcomers. This strategy wasn’t invented this year.

But opposition to this is still strong. Even those who voted for Trump reject his policy solutions — a majority of Americans wouldn’t outlaw abortions, wouldn’t end Social Security, don’t want a wall, want to raise the minimum wage (this passed in all four states where it was on the ballot), believe climate change is real and has to be addressed, don’t think the way to prosperity is to give more money to the rich, and on and on.

Hillary actually won the popular vote, but too many middle and working-class white Americans see power slipping away and blame it on immigrants, poor people, people of color, rather than the policies of neoliberalism that are really taking power from working people. And sadly, it seems too many Americans would still rather elect an incompetent man than a woman as president.

But change is happening, and while we’ve been set back, we haven’t been crushed. We can’t be crushed. Hard though it is — now is not the time to give up. It’s time to double down. Time to organize resistance. Time to build coalitions and unite. Time to recruit, train, and mobilize. Time to fight hate with love. There’s a lot of shit coming, but that isn’t new either. We’re down, not out.

We have a particular responsibility now, as people with privilege, to get up and fight like hell. We aren’t the ones who will be most targeted, we have to be the ones to get in the way. We have to turn our sorrow into productive anger and our despair into resolve. This didn’t start this year, and it didn’t end yesterday.

We will not be broken.

Lynne Dodson is secretary treasurer of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

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