If the inauguration of Donald Trump goes through this week and he becomes president, there will be a period of chaos in the United States that has not been seen since the Depression of the previous century. Financial and political blows will weaken our country in ways that we have never seen.
With this looming on the horizon, it is time to make plans as to what to do. We must realize that when people run short of money, they band together for mutual support. Several couples or families can live in a large house, forming a co-operative mini-community to pay bills and mortgages. It may be that by April it will be time to stage a tax revolt–why file to pay your taxes if they are going into the pockets of corporations and not to protect the lives of your fellow citizens?
If the public education system is dismantled, there may be empty school campuses available to occupy. Unemployed teachers can start charter schools teaching regular academics and not ideology. Support for these enterprises can be in the form of money, food, or some kind of barter system. You may be thinking in disbelief that this is never going to happen, but it is almost upon us.
We will turn to our African American citizens to teach us how to live under oppression. Those of us who are not evangelical un-Christians may have to hold services in our homes. Muslim Americans may have to abandon the customs that mark them out for persecution and make common cause with other immigrants and those who sympathize. Employers and local elected officials will have to risk their jobs if they refuse to comply with registration databases and refuse to turn in reports on teachers or others who espouse “liberal” views.
Sounds absurd, doesn’t it? But do you realize that it is exactly what Donald Trump promised the American people, and the Republican Party defrauded our election to put him in this position of impending inauguration as president? The American people are rising in opposition to a Trump administration, and all that it entails, just this week. They should have risen in protest when it became clear months ago that Hillary Clinton had been elected by a large margin.
Do you suppose that many German people fussed about Adolf Hitler but laughed him off as an egotistical clown? Do you suppose that many Germans began to be afraid when men in brown shirts began marching in the streets of their towns? As it is, we are getting reports about neo-Nazi groups that plan demonstrations in American towns that have enough of a Jewish population to warrant anti-Semitic demonstrations. And I have heard that American veterans plan to confront the protestors. Stay out of the crossfire if you can.
My mother, who was of Polish descent, told me once about one of her most vivid memories. She lived on Chicago’s Northwest Side, a haven of diversity with many ethnic neighborhoods. One afternoon as she was studying in her room she was startled to hear my grandfather screaming curses in Polish out their living-room window towards the street below. She rushed into the room to see her mother crying on the couch and a group that was known as Das Bund marching in the streets below. Das Bund was made up of German loyalists who believed that the Axis powers were going to win the war. They were demonstrating in the Polish neighborhood to celebrate the Nazi invasion of Poland.
The scenario of the Bundists underlies the great war movie, Stalag 17, which deals with spies in a prison camp. I recommend the film for the Oscar-winning performance of William Holden as well as for the sentiments of the film itself. You might also like to review another very relevant film called A Face in the Crowd, which marked the debut of Andy Griffith as an actor. Interestingly, the downfall of the main character in this film comes from the discovery of his bigotry and contempt for his audience–but we already know this about Donald Trump and there isn’t much objection to it in the media, is there?
America has the opportunity–still–to rise above fascism and take back our democracy. This week is crucial. There are enough disqualifying factors in the public realm right now to prevent the inauguration of Trump. If the Trump presidency goes through, we will fail just as Germans failed to stop the juggernaut of hate and bigotry that is approaching us at breakneck speed.