Wise Words From Former Director Jon Jarvis of The National Park Service

Image may contain: one or more people, hat and outdoor

“I have been watching the Trump administration trying unsuccessfully to suppress the National Park Service with a mix of pride and amusement. The NPS is the steward of America’s most important places and the narrator of our most powerful stories, told authentically, accurately, and built upon scientific and scholarly research.

The Park Ranger is a trusted interpreter of our complex natural and cultural history and a voice that cannot not be suppressed. Edicts from on-high have directed the NPS to not talk about “national policy”, but permission is granted to use social media for visitor center hours and safety. The ridiculousness of such a directive was immediately resisted and I am not the least bit surprised.

So at Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta should we not talk about his actions to secure the rights to vote for African Americans in the south, or is that too “national policy”? At Stonewall National Monument in New York City, shall we only talk about the hours you can visit the Inn or is it “national policy” to interpret the events there in 1969 that gave rise to the LGBT movement? Shall we only talk about the historic architecture of the Washington, DC home of Alice Paul and Alva Belmont or is it too “national policy” to suggest their decades of effort to secure the rights of women can be linked directly to the women’s marches in hundreds of cities last weekend?

And as we scientifically monitor the rapid decline of glaciers in Glacier National Park, a clear and troubling indicator of a warming planet, shall we refrain from telling this story to the public because the administration views climate change as “national policy”?

These are not “policy” issues, they are facts about our nation, it is how we learn and strive to achieve the ideals of our founding documents. To talk about these facts is core to the mission of the NPS. During the Centennial of the National Park Service, we hosted over 300 million visitors (now that is huge) to the National Parks and most came away inspired, patriotic and ready to speak on behalf of the values we hold most dear. The new Administration would be wise to figure out how to support the National Park Service, its extraordinary employees and their millions of fans.”

 

By Jon Jarvis

Von Clausewitz Vs. Trump

von-clouswits-vs-trump

So, how can an average schmuck like me bring down Donald Trump? After all, he is (and I still choke on these words when referring to him) the president of the United States. And who am I? Nobody important, I’me just a guy with a blue collar job and a blog. Somehow the contest seems a bit unfair…that is until you start thinking like my boy Carl Von Clausewitz!

Who the heck is/was Von Clausewitz and what does he have to do with the price of pinatas in Oregon?I’m so very glad you asked!

I’m so very glad you asked!

General Carl Von Clausewitz was a 19th-century Prussian soldier and writer who stressed the psychological and political aspects of war (see where this is going?). His most famous book was titled “On War” and is considered a masterpiece of military theory that is still studied at West Point today. Why? Because soldiers like to win and old Carl had some pretty good ideas on how to beat a superior opponent with whatever force you happened to have.

One of his most applicable ideas to the Trump problem was his concept of “friction.” Von Clausewitz used this word in a very specific way. He said, “fiction is that which makes the easy difficult and the hard impossible.” Marching troops from one town to another may be easy, but if the roads are muddy, the bridges are out and the troops all have the flue the easy soon becomes impossible. Thus, if you want to win, you should do all you can to increase the friction of your enemy and decrease friction on your own side as much as possible.

So, how does this apply to the anti-Trump resistance movement?

Simple, we must make the easy difficult and the hard impossible for Trump at every opportunity! If he wants to build a wall, we must protest upon the construction site. Can he have us forcibly removed? Certainly he can, but we have just increased his friction…and we ain’t done yet. Next, we slap him with a lawsuit, write letters to the editors of local papers, and flood the phone lines of every congressman in Washington. Soon, his easy little construction project becomes more and more impossible difficult until he gives up because it’s not worth the effort.

In short, throw enough sand in the machine and the machine stops working. Every action you or I take is just such a grain of sand and I intend to throw in fist fulls!

As an individual, I don’t need to be so strong that I can take down Trump by my own self. I merely harass and annoy him while joining my efforts with as many others as I can. We resist with every means we have available until we gum up the gears beyond repair. Using this understanding, no act is too small as long as it either adds to Trump’s friction or decreases ours.

How do we decrease our own friction? By working together. We must join with others who share our concerns and work toward the common goal. This is why I was glad to see a pro-life women’s group included in the Women’s March on Washington, DC on January 21st. True, I and most other liberals disagree with their position on abortion. But today the fight is against Trump and every grain of sand counts!

We are already seeing the effectiveness of this strategy as Trump released an executive order this past week banning Muslim immigrants. In one day massive protests took place at airports nationwide, followed by an ACLU challenge that a federal court supported. Is this battle thus won? Maybe, and maybe not; but no soldier expects to win every battle in a war. But we keep fighting just the same. By keeping up the pressure in big ways and small, we will wear down our opponent until he finds himself utterly exhausted and demoralized.

And in the end, Von Clausewitz and folks like us will defeat Trump!

 

Never give up! Never Surender!

Well, it’s been a long couple of months. Back on November 8th, I got down…and then I got mad. I got tear up the walls mad. Of course, anger without action is impudence, and that’s something no man likes to be associated with. So I got busy fighting Trump. Right now, many people are wondering what they can do and are feeling powerless. After all, the big buffoon is now the president and that fact must be accepted on some level. So we lost, right?

Friends, we have not yet begun to fight!

I am still looking for more I can do, but if you need inspiration, here is a list of actions I’ve taken. They are all easy to do and feel really really good when you do them. Because action is the will given form, and that is a power no tyrant can survive for long!

So here its is: a list of things I have done since Trump got elected…
1) Got really really mad.
2) Wrote every elector who’s address was public.
3) Attended my first protest march
4) Attended other protest marches
5) Called all my representatives on the phone to express my concerns several times (maybe two hundred by now…not sure)
6) Sent postcards to Trump Tower expressing my true feelings for him and his staff picks.
7) Written letters to editors
8) Started an anti-Trump blog
9) Joined Planned Parenthood
10) Joined the ACLU
11) Subscribed to Mother Jones
12) Became a sustaining member of NPR
13) Attended activist meetings
14) Decided never to give up and never to surrender!

None Of Us Are Free

As I write this, today is Martin Luther King Day. I must say, I am both thankful for the work he did and reminded that much of the job remains to be done. Now, to speak plainly, I’m a white guy. I am unaware of any racial slight that I may have ever encountered in my lifetime, and I know the color of my skin grants me privileges denied to other Americans. So…why should I care about equal rights?

Because, folks, none of us are free.

“None of Us Are Free” was a song written by Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann, and Brenda Russel, and was first recorded by Ray Charles in 1993. However, most people are more familiar with the 2002 version that was recorded by Solomon Burke. If you’ve never heard the song, I recommend you click on the link above and give it a listen as the song makes my point better than I can in some respects. My point, of course, is that a free society is an all or nothing gambit. Either we are all free or we are all in some way enslaved.

Don’t believe me? Well then, let me give an example or two.

In June 1964 two white guys named Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner got in a car with their mutual black friend James Chaney and drove from Ohio to Mississippi (and, if you know your history, you know this story didn’t end well for any of those guys). All three of three young men were civil rights workers from Miami of Ohio (my alma mater). The black guy, Mr. Chaney, was naturally fighting for the rights of people like himself. The two white guys, however, were also passionate about the cause regardless of the advantage whites enjoyed in this society.All three were brutally murdered by the

All three were brutally murdered by the Kul Klux Klan and it took a massive search effort to find their mangled bodies.

To the Klan, it did not matter at all that two of their victims were white. All that mattered to those murders was that all three men shared the same beliefs. Now, you may ask, “If Goodman and Schwerner had just ‘minded their own business’ would they be alive today?” That is, I concede, possibly true. However, they would be alive but not free. Face it, if the only beliefs you are allowed to express are those sanctioned by the KKK, then you are a slave and they are your masters.

Similarly, I while serving in Iraq, had the chance to meet a man who once tortured people for Uday Hussein.  What this man did to other human beings with a knife was truly sick, and I will not describe it here. But when I asked him why he did it, I was surprised by his answer. He said that if he did not do as he was told he knew he’d be the next man Uday ordered tortured. It seems that in Saddam’s Iraq, nobody was free…not even the man wielding the knife.

Frankly, I find this reasoning sufficient to motivate white folks, like me, to support equal rights. but that is a negative reason I admit. I do, however, have a positive reason for supporting Dr. King’s cause…I don’t want to be led by morons!

In a society where only white people can advance to top leadership positions, necessarily a lot of qualified non-white folks are left out of the game. And why should I accept second or third best as my leader? Would it not be in my best interests to work for the better supervisor who would keep the company in business for longer? Because, unless race is taken out of the supervisor selection criteria, how can I know if my boss is really the best guy to lead me?

Orchestras discovered this phenomena when they started doing blind auditions. In the old days, orchestras were predominately made up of white, male musicians. But were they the best musicians available? NO! Once they put up a curtain between the musician auditioning and the folks who did the hiring, American orchestras got a lot more diverse and started sounding a lot better.

Which brings us back to the unfinished work of Dr. Martin Luther King. Folks, we’ve still got a lot of problems and our society is far from free and fair. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2014 the median household income for whites was $71,300 compared to $43,300 for blacks. And for college-educated whites, the median household income was $106,600, compared to the $82,300 for households headed by college-educated blacks. Also according to the American Journal of Public Health black Americans are three times more likely to be killed by police than whites. These are just two examples but I could certainly go on and on…and on. By almost every measure whites are doing disproportionally better than anybody else in this country, not by merit but by racism.

And, folks, until the playing field gets leveled, none of us are free.

 

By Clayton J. Callahan

Walls Don’t Work: a better way to handle immigration

walls-dont-work

Well, big surprise, The Donald has broken another campaign promise. It seems that his new plan is for us American taxpayers to pay for his idiotic wall, and then maybe Mexico will pay for it (on an especially cold day in hell).

To me, the problem is not only that such a project would be extremely costly, but more importantly that it can not work. As I best understand from the president-elect’s incoherent rants, he wants to build this 1,989-mile long wall to keep foreigners from illegally entering the United States. This would also supposedly save us from the great threat posed by illegal immigration. He fears that illegal immigrants are undercutting the US labor market, bringing crime to our neighborhoods and smuggling drugs into our nation.

Thus, The Donald argues, a wall would constitute a “secure border” along our southern frontier making us far safer and more prosperous. Now, please let me explain why all that is pure bunk and doomed to fail…

First, we need a little perspective on what exactly a border is meant to do.

This may come as a shock, but borders were not originally intended to keep ordinary people from crossing from one country into another. I know that sounds weird (especially if you’re a conservative) but it’s a fact. When ancient kings and emperors began drawing borders on maps, it was primarily to establish what farmland belonged to whom. Face it, in a time when most people couldn’t even read, few could be expected to know precisely where the borders were even if you put up a sign.

But back then, no one particularly cared where a peasant decided to build his cottage. They did, however, care which king got to tax that poor schmuck. That’s why Europe has ethnic German populations in Poland, ethnic French in Germany, and so on.

Borders are, of course, still useful today. They decide who has jurisdiction over a criminal case and keep armies from accidently bumping into each other while on maneuvers. The United States has only had a dedicated border patrol since 1915 and for much of its history, it was a small force with few resources. Let me say that again: we have only had a border patrol since 1915, and our nation was founded in 1776! Other nations have never had such a force and consider crossing an international border as significant as we consider crossing a state line.

However, there have been times when nations have attempted to turn borders into real barriers. Hadrian’s wall separated the Romans from the Picts, the Great Wall of China separated the Han Chinese from the Mongols, and the Berlin Wall separated the communist Germans from the free parts of Berlin. And all of these walls share one important thing in common, my frinends—failure! Each and every one of ’em failed in its stated objective. Today, the remains of these massive structures are nothing more than architectural reminders of what empires do just before they crumble.

So, let’s say Trump does manage to get his great wall built, then what? Well, the casual foreigner is out of the illegal immigration game so perhaps that counts as a “win.” No longer could some guy without resources sneak into the United States just to find a job. Oh no, now only the professionals can get through our border.

After all, drug smugglers are not going to let a little concrete and steel get in the way of profit! Tunnels will be dug under our wall, holes will be punched through it, and one can envision specialized drones constructed to hop people over it. In short, people wanting to slip into the United States would now need a great deal of cash, but hey, the desperate will pay…and the smugglers will grow ever richer.

After a time, we may well discover that the cost of building the wall in the first place was the smaller price tag. The bigger expense would be repairing the holes, filling in the tunnels, and patrolling the length. As the years go by, our taxes will continue to flow into this monstrosity until the average American citizen has had enough. Then, our wall will begin to crumble and be just another monument to another failed empire.

But I do have a better idea, folks. Conservatives will think it crazy but hear me out.; instead of building a wall, why don’t we open the border!

We’d start a “guest worker” program. With proper ID from the foreigner’s nation of origin, he or she could pay a fee to get a United States guest worker card. This card would serve as proof of identification so the foreigner could get a driver’s license or whatever. On the back of the card would be the phone number of theDepartmentt of Labor so the guest workers can report if they are not being paid the same wages and benefits as their American co-worker in the same job position.

Oh, I can hear the conservatives flapping and squawking now.  “Oh, no you don’t! That’s AMNESTY! They will take our jobs, live off of our welfare, and bring crime and drugs wherever they go. We can’t allow that!”

To which I say, yes, it is a kind of amnesty, but it also saves us the bother of rounding up some eleven million people and putting them on south-bound buses. Honestly, can you think about how much that would cost? So, instead of throwing money away on deportation, why don’t we make a little dough instead?

The fees can fund the ID program in total, and once we know who they are, we can tax them. As the law stands now, they would not be eligible for welfare anyway because they are not US citizens. Now as to crime, the foreigner can now feel free to call the police when a gang moves into his neighborhood without fear of being deported. Thus immigrant communities will have the same reason to turn in thugs as anybody else–safer neighborhoods! When a guest worker is caught breaking the law, we send them to prison and deport them after they serve their sentence.

And, since guest workers would be entitled to be paid exactly like a US citizen, there would be no advantage of hiring a non-English speaker over a native American. Therefore, we need not fear them undercutting our labor market.

But what if one of these guest workers wants to vote? So sad and too bad; because they are still not US citizens. However, if a guest worker wants to become a US citizen, he or she would have the opportunity to apply and go through the usual process.

I know, I know, this means we would now have to tolerate a bunch of non-white strangers with different languages, religions, and food in our midst. But seriously, if that was the problem all along then the real issue has been racism, not immigration.

Does my idea sound fantastical?

To my mind, it’s simply practical. A guest worker program would raise revenue, discourage criminality, and end “under the table” wages that undercut American citizens in the workplace.

What sounds like pure fantasy to me is building a gigantic wall and expecting Mexico to pay for it. Now, that’s just nuts!

 

By Clayton J. Callahan

 

Conservatives, Put Up Or Shut Up

americansunitedagainsttrump

Allow me to quote The Donald…

“The Democrats, lead (misspelling his) by head clown Chuck Schumer, know how bad ObamaCare is and what a mess they are in. Instead of working to fix it, they do the typical political thing and BLAME. The fact is ObamaCare was a lie from the beginning.”

Well, Grab Our Pussies, now is your chance to make things right for America!

Since the Affordable Care Act was passed back in ’08, Republicans have been pulling their hair out and crying “socialism” and have even gone so far as shutting down the government to try to kill it. Several times Obama offered to work with them to improve the ACA, but nothing would satisfy them short of a total “root and branch” repeal. And yet, in all the time since ’08, the conservative party has produced a total of zero alternatives to Obama’s signature health care reform.

Nothing, nada, zip, squat, a big goose egg!

So now they’ve won the 2016 election and it’s their time to shine…but they still they got nothing. “Repeal Obamacare!” and then what? Face it, all the Republicans have done for the last eight years is play the blame game like a pro team. To be sure, it’s easy to call people “clowns” and raise hell about every little flaw in something as complex as a major healthcare reform law. However, it’s quite another thing to put your shoulder to the wheel and do some actual work. The big question, of course, is “Can they do it?”

Personally, I have my doubts. True, Republicans now control all the levers of power—House, Senate, and Executive Branch, so everything they want should be doable. But they are a gaggley bunch of infighters who are prone to argue over the color of an orange. You’ve got the Tea Party zealots who are ideologically opposed to just about any government program, because “socialism.” Then there are the old school Republicans like Linsey Graham and John McCain who are smart enough to know that jerking away twenty million people’s health insurance might cause a little backlash. And finally, there’s the Trumpster himself, who frankly has not a clue what the hell he’s doing and is just as likely to torpedo his own party with some asinine tweet as he is to scratch his nose.

The simple truth is that it’s always been easier to tear something down than it is to build it up. Under the “leadership” of Mitch McConnell, the Republican party became nothing but a wrecking ball, doing all it can to smash down Obama policies, programs, and reputation. Now, the GOP needs to completely re-invent itself into a full tool box with hammers, saws, screwdrivers, and wrenches to get the job done. So far they have shown no signs of doing that. Their workday has already begun…and the foreman is glaring at them.

As for me, I am free, baby! I no longer feel compelled argue with conservatives about Obamacare, or Selendra, or ISIS, or any Democratic policy. I will simply ask the question, “What are YOU GUYS going to do about it–SPECIFICALLY?” I expect to get a lot of blank stares followed by abrupt changes of subject, but I will not be dissuaded.

Because now, it’s time for them to put up or shut up!

 

By Clayton J. Callahan

 

My Socratic Rant

1509792_624409617636521_5704218174208853197_n
Oh, dearie me. Just saw another of those “people protesting T.Rump are just sore losing, whiny millennials” comments.
What is more likely: that this woman (me), who attended Nixon’s first inauguration (1971 in case you’re too young to remember), was a Republican for much of my adult life, and has lived through many elections, and took comfort in and contributed to the orderly transfer or power, is protesting this one because A) I’ve suddenly become a whiny sore loser, or that B) my years of observing the political process has shown me that there is something uniquely dangerous about He Who Doesn’t Deserve to be Named?

Just…think about it.

 

By Shelley K. Callahan

What’s Wrong With Islamophobia?

me-in-vet-atire

Well, quite a lot actually. After all, it is a form of bigotry. I served in Iraq, and (full disclosure) some Muslims did try to kill me. But, to be frank, if ALL Muslims had tried to kill me I would not be writing this blog post today.  In fact, in Iraq, I worked with Muslim Americans who served as interpreters, and they were some darn good folks to know.

Bigotry is sustained by wilful ignorance. Sadly, bumper stickers reading, “All I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11,” are taken as doctrine by some people. That’s obviously horse crap, but they refuse to see it that way. I mean, just follow that logic and see where it leads. Do you know all you need to know about Germans based on World War II? Do you know all you need to know about the British from the Boston Massacre? Clearly not, so why the double standard?

The answer is fear.

Germany and Britain are no longer a threat but Islamic terrorists are, and they are afraid. And in that state of fear, they pull their blankets of ignorance up above their heads and refuse to hear anything else on the subject believing themselves safe so long as they stay under the covers. It is a sad state of affairs to be sure—because, in this day and age, ignorance is entirely optional, it has to be chosen, and many people are choosing. You keep your head under the covers to be safe, but this actually increases the danger, by not allowing you to see where any real threats are. And it endangers innocent people.

Heck, a quick Wikipedia check will teach you more about Islam than 9/11 ever could. Within the first paragraph, you’ll read that Islam is an Abrahamic religion, which means that it shares certain teachings with Judaism and Christianity. Islam first became a thing about in the year 600 CE when Mohammed is said to have received revelations from God. His revelations were subsequently written down in a book called the Quran, and Muslims are expected to turn to that book for lifelong guidance. Naturally, to get the full picture one must go a little deeper.

For one thing, the Quran is a fairly thick book that tends to ramble about (It seems that God’s revelation did not include a table of contents). Furthermore, some passages seem to contradict each other. For instance Surah 8:67 states, “It is not for a Prophet that he should have prisoners of war until he had made a great slaughter in the land…” While Surah 2:208 states, “O You who believe! Enter absolutely into peace…” Muslims scholars have great disagreements about how to best interpret the Quran. These disagreements have led to schisms within the Muslim community and even the occasional war.

Now, when you think about it, Christianity has a very similar history and a similarly thick book. And the Bible even seems to contradict itself just as often. For instance; 1 Samuel says, “…Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey,” while  Matthew 26:52 reads, “Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” No wonder Christians have split into so many denominations and have also occasionally gone to war with each other.

People are people.

Have you ever met a person who claims to be a Christian and is also a major jerk? I’m guessing the answer is “yes.” Travel amongst the Muslims long enough and I guarantee you’ll meet a major jerks just as often. Why? Because we are all human!

The truth is—it’s not so much our stated religion that affects how we behave as much as our own unique personality and moral choices. Regardless, most folks just want to take care of their families, keep their jobs, pursue a hobby or two and be left alone. Our religious beliefs are largely a result of our upbringing. More often than not, people claim the same religion that their parents did. After that, some people take great care to live devoutly in accordance with their faith and others not so much. In my life, I’ve eaten bacon with Muslims and drunk coffee with Mormons, and neither seemed to care that they were violating a religious rule. So, when people insist to me that all Muslims are a certain way, I roll my eyes every time.

So what’s up with radical Islamic terrorism?

I’m glad you asked. Many countries with large Muslim populations are in a bit of a pickle right now. Their economies are in bad shape, and most of the governments are dictatorships. Also, western nations always seem to be butting into their business politically and militarily. Naturally, people in these countries often feel powerless and frustrated. Since they cannot change their situation economically or politically they often turn to God for help. But although God might hear all prayers, he certainly doesn’t answer them on our schedule.  So, in desperation, some take it upon themselves to do God’s job for him, and that’s where you get the radical Islamic terrorism.

Needless to say, the vast majority of every-day Muslims look at terrorists as bad apples. Like I said earlier, most folks just want to live their lives in peace and don’t appreciate the drama. But, like  Christian groups such as the Klu Klux Klan and Westboro Baptist Church, Muslim terrorists are all about the drama and will not leave well enough alone. I’ve seen Klansmen interviewed on the news and heard them talk about wanting to separate the races. Islamic terrorists have a similar goal (because they’re a similar type of lowlife).

The terrorists want to separate the Muslim from the non-Muslim. Basically, they want to isolate the Muslim community from all outside influence so that they can be in complete control over their brethren, and in this terrorist goal the KKK has been very helpful to them.

In fact, the KKK has done its level best to help Islamic terrorists separate Christian from Muslim. After every attack, terrorists can count on a lift from bigots who drive Muslims from their neighborhoods, schools, and businesses. This puts your every-day Muslim in a bind; they don’t want to hang with the terrorists, but they are tired of being harassed whenever they hang with the non-Muslims. Thus the cycle of bigotry and hate continues to the advantage of the lowlifes of both Muslim and non-Muslim communities.

And that is where it is up to us to stop it!

After all, we are Americans, and we are better than this. Our First Amendment guarantees us the freedom to practice any religion we please. Our fellow citizens are Christians, Atheists, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Hindus and whatever (Unitarians). Religion in America has traditionally been viewed as someone’s personal business and not a matter for public input. Thus, we have lived in our diverse salad bowl of a nation for generations, and I see no reason why we should change our ways now. And I certainly do not intend to cave to the will of either the bigots or the terrorists.

What is it the Bible says in Matthew 7:1-6? “Judge not others, lest ye yourself be judged.” Whether the person sitting next to you on a train is wearing a yarmulke or a hijab makes no difference. Only a person’s behavior can tell you if they are a good person or not. And based on that behavior, I will decide how to interact with them. Because, at the end of the day, bigotry is cowardice, and I do not prize that trait.

 

By Clayton J. Callahan

 

Progressive Thoughts (And Deeds) For The New Year

new-years-resitance

I will be the first to admit that November eighth, 2016 shook me to the core. It was not just because “my side lost.” No, it was more that. My world view was lost. You see, I used to believe that progress was a force that simply could not be stopped. Oh, sure, it could be slowed down and perhaps at times seem to be halted, but never actually stopped and certainly never reversed. In this, I was wrong.

I based my old belief in progress upon my study of history. After all, even a casual read of American history tells a tale of progress. We once were subjects of a King, now we are citizens of a democracy.  Once slavery was legal, now human trafficking is a criminal offense that is vigorously prosecuted.  Once only white males could vote, and now everybody above the age of eighteen who is not a felon can. Once there was “Jim Crow” and now…

Folks, I’m sure you see where this is going. The return of “Jim Crow” in the form of voter suppression laws should have clued me in. But I refused to see it because I fiercely wanted to believe that progress was somehow a law of nature. I wanted to keep believing that once a freedom was granted to the formerly disenfranchised there would be no going back. But that no longer seems to me to be the case. Trump’s election reveals that progress can be undone and, if we don’t resist, undone utterly.

The forces of regression have been revealed to be just as strong and just as determined as are those of progress. They see the advances of the last few generations as especially vulnerable and have been on the attack for decades whether we noticed or not. In 2015 gay marriage became legal in all fifty states, but already state “religious freedom” laws are attempting to undermine that gain. In 1973 women won the right to choose, but every year more and more legal roadblocks are put up to take that freedom away. In the 1960s Jim Crow segregation was smashed by the civil rights movement, but now many states are churning out voter suppression measures to bring it back.

In this time of regression, Trump is only the most visual manifestation of this cancer that is eating away past generations progressive gains. It is as if the blood and sacrifice of progressives from Fredrick Douglas to Harvey Milk are to be rendered moot by this onslaught. And as the 2017 US congers gets to work, I expect the regression to go national. Funding for education and social programs will be cut to starvation levels, and religions such as Islam will be placed under the federal microscope. Trump will happily appoint the most reactionary of judges to the Supreme Court and the Republican congress will approve them with an evangelical blessing.

In short, every right and every freedom that our parents and grandparents fought so hard to win will be under siege. And at a time like this, there is only one thing for people of good conscious to do—resist!

For every civil right they threaten, we must organize and we must push back lest the light go out forever. No longer can we rest in the assurance that previous progressive generations have done all the heavy lifting. The struggle goes on, and now it is our time! As Martin Luther King marched, we must march. As Joe Hill organized labor, we must re-organize labor. As Susan B. Anthony fought for women’s suffrage, we must fight for everybody’s suffrage.

There is a common saying in the US military, “Freedom isn’t free.” Soldiers know a price must be paid, a sacrifice made if we are to continue to bask in liberty’s warm glow. And I am willing to do everything a citizen can legally do to preserve freedom’s past gains, but I know that is not going to be enough.

And I’m not talking about breaking the law! I’m talking about pushing things forward. For it is not enough that we maintain the progress achieved so far. We must instead work to secure even more freedoms for us and generations to come. Face it, we will not win every battle. However, by standing still we invite them to push us back inch by inch until our forerunners gains evaporate entirely. But by pushing forward we open ourselves up to new victories while taking the foe’s attention off of the old ones. Like the football types say, “The best defense is a good offense!”

So we move forward. We press ahead. And we don’t leave future generations wondering why we let our society get dragged backward after the loss of 2016. Mohammed Ali said, “Don’t let a disappointment bring you down. Use it for power in the final round.” And, folks, this match isn’t even half over!

When Trump attempts to dismantle the EPA, we will not simply fight to preserve it but to expand it. As states fight to take away a woman’s right to choose, we will fight to make the procedure more affordable for low-income women. As they try to make voting harder, we will work to make is easier. As they marginalize religious and immigrant groups, we will bring them into the fold and welcome them to America. At no time will we cease in our march forward. And soon they will learn that attempting to push us back is merely a good way to get trampled.

This is my new world view. It is as hopeful as my previous one, but not nearly so apathetic. Freedom isn’t free, but it can be purchased with the honest sweat of determined struggle.

Now it’s time for us to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

 

By Clayton J. Callahan