The comparison I am seeing to the election of Trump, over and over again, is to the election of Reagan. An actor, a Hollywood personality, with few genuine political chops, who failed ever upward until he reached the White House; as a president, he literally joked about nuking Russia (have you heard the recording?), became a war criminal so many times over, fucked things up impressively in Central and South America, gave us the plague years (the loss of a generation of our best and brightest), and in the end was in such bad shape from dementia that basically anybody could tell him what to do.
Trump will be worse than Reagan. His targets will be different groups. But there is a limit to how much worse he can be without literally bringing on the apocalypse. Assuming that Trump does not bring on the apocalypse, the eighties passed. Reagan passed. And what were the nineties and two-thousands like? If you went to a queer activist in 1988 and said, same-sex marriage will be legal in this nation inside thirty years, that would have been-- not even bitter laughter. Just not conceivable, out of ambit, ludicrous, couldn't happen. Happened.
There will be horrific casualties, there will be crimes we cannot prevent. There will be the equivalent of the plague years, where communities had to bury their dead with their own hands. It is going to suck.
Thirty years from now, let's have the thousand-teens be the equivalent of the eighties to us. Let's have nobody able to believe how much more progressive things are, how much more free, how much more respecting of human rights. This is the eighties. Let's think of this time that way.
Now, what can Trump actually do, and what can we do about it?
-- He can push The Button, and have a nuclear war.
Directly: not much can be done about this.
Indirectly: contribute and volunteer to nuclear disarmament groups, nuclear watchdog groups, groups promoting the cause of the U.S. honoring its treaties, pro-U.N. groups, peace groups, cultural intercommunications groups.
Consoling Thought: Reagan didn't. Trump is known to be sexually violent, but does not to my knowledge have a history of, like, punching people, and there are no serious allegations that he's ever killed anyone or had anyone killed, so he must have a very slight modicum of control over his temper or he'd be dead or in jail by now. Small things to cling to, but.
-- He can attempt a coup d'etat and try to cancel upcoming elections, get illegal orders carried out, become dictator, &c.
Directly: If the rule of democracy and law in this country breaks down entirely, and there's a war, nothing else I say here applies, and we will have to choose our roles according to our skills and consciences.
Consoling Thought: Two hundred years of peaceful transfer of power casts a long shadow, especially among the apparatus of government, a whole bunch of people in everything from the Post Office to the Coast Guard who have sworn oaths to the Constitution and not to any individual President. I am far more worried about people carrying out illegal Trump orders on a small scale than I am on a loss-of-democracy scale. This is not to say that I'm not worried, because I'm pretty worried, but.
-- He can order people to do things.
At this point, I'm going to go into the only bits of law and policy that I know any damn thing about, namely LGBT issues. I would love to know more about the details of what to do about race, immigration, environmental, and general economic issues, but seeing as how I am a white middle-class person I don't know as much about many things as others do, or as I would like to.
So, an LGBT issue: same-sex marriage. What can Trump order people to do against this, and what can we do about his orders?
-- He issues an executive order that says it's illegal now.
Directly: Uh, he can't actually do that. Not one of his powers, because he's executive branch, not judicial. If he tries, we sue. And sue. And sue. And what the law says is pretty clear. And it's listen to the courts or coup d'etat, those are his options. Sue those who carry out illegal orders. Make it expensive, in time and in money. As long as it's clear what the law says-- and it is, right now-- the lower courts will cite Obergefell
as precedent and we will win these cases.
Indirectly: Contribute to Lambda Legal Defense Fund and other LGBT organizations.
-- He tries to back a case to overturn the legality of same-sex marriage before the Supreme Court.
Directly: Remember, the Justice he definitely gets to replace is Scalia's seat! Obergefell
went through without Scalia; he was in the dissenting minority. Trump needs more than one new Supreme Court Justice to overturn same-sex marriage in this country. I repeat: he needs MORE THAN ONE new Supreme Court Justice to overturn same-sex marriage in this country. Nominating and seating one Justice will take up some significant chunk of 2017, especially if we protest his nominee like hell and the Democrats in Congress filibuster. Then it's 2018, and we MUST, MUST, MUST take back Congress in the midterms (and we must get them FRIGHTENED before the midterms arrive). If that happens, we can stop him from seating a second Justice should an opening arise.
Indirectly: Support your local Democrats. Raise funds for the midterms. Start planning to get out the vote for the midterms. Figure out the local-level rising stars, or become one yourself-- you could run for the school board. You could run for dogcatcher. Pray, if you pray, and otherwise hope strongly for the healths of Ginsberg, Kennedy, and Breyer. Keep supporting those LGBT organizations.
-- He issues an executive order saying that while of course same-sex marriage remains legal, no clerk or office is required to perform it (on religious liberty grounds, of course), and those which do may mysteriously find their funding cut. (Note: this may also be an illegal order, as Kim Davis went to jail, I believe, but it's less obviously, flagrantly illegal.)
Directly: Track which clerks and offices do and don't perform marriages. Make it clear that public approval is on the side of those who do, and public disdain on the side of those who don't, showily-- in-person protests, advertising, both positive and negative. Donate to support the careers and offices of those who do. Donate to travel funds for LGBT people who need to travel to reach an office that will marry them.
Indirectly: If the government stops funding a service, the community will have to do what we can to fund it ourselves, whatever that ends up looking like.
Now, those are pretty much his three paths of action on any major front: illegal executive order, whereupon we take it to the courts; backing cases to the Supreme Court, at which point there are some things about which we are probably boned (Roe v. Wade
, dammit), some things he needs one new Justice for, and some things he needs two, so we must do everything possible to make him getting one hard and two impossible; legal/shady-but-obnoxious executive orders, in which case we must circumvent them, fund the services we need ourselves, and bring public opinion down on our side.
For other things, like possible shitty new immigration laws, we're going to need to fight Congress, which is a somewhat different story and outside the scope of this post.
This is the eighties. Time to make the future change.You can comment here or at the Dreamwidth crosspost. There are comments over there.