Many years ago, Richard Nixon proclaimed that he had the support of a “silent majority”. Years later, Jerry Falwell and extreme right-wing allies in the Republican Party touted their so-called “moral majority”. Well, my friends, the cold hard truth is that we are an actual majority. Donald Trump received only 46.1 % of the popular vote. That means that the majority of Americans (53.9%) voted for someone else. In fact, if we remove the votes cast for Jill Stein and Gary Johnson, Trump lost to Hillary Clinton by almost three million votes. Contrary to his rants and tweets, his victory in the Electoral College does not constitute a mandate, but rather a mishap; a national tragedy. And, as evidence continues to come to light regarding Russian tampering on Trump’s behalf, along with the deliberate timing of James Comey’s letter, the very legitimacy of any Trump presidency is called into question.
This leaves us with the question of how best to deal with January 20th... and beyond. I would suggest that we initially celebrate the many “Trump-free zones” already in existence, and endeavor to create many more. Certain locations automatically qualify as TFZs: institutions of higher learning, and every public school across the country (along with any number of private schools), for example. Anywhere where healing is practiced: hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, birthing centers, rehabilitation facilities... all of these would automatically be “Trump-free zones”. Then, of course, places of beauty, art, culture, etc... all of these would also be regarded as TFZs: museums, theaters, concert venues, galleries, public gardens, parks, etc. Finally, our churches, temples, and mosques--anywhere that welcomes faith and contemplation--these would also be TFZs.
Based on the popular vote, it’s certainly reasonable to conclude that most homes across our great country (and it never stopped being great), are Trump-free zones. We must nourish the TFZ within each of us, and support it in others. We are called to cultivate more and more Trump-free zones, thereby creating a brighter world based on justice and respect. It may take time, but we have to believe that in the end love and decency will indeed trump hate. If TFZs flourish throughout the land, the roots of racism and fascism will be choked--and those weeds will dry up, crumble, and the ashes will be blown into the darkest recesses of history.
Beyond January 20th, it will be up to each of us to speak up and act out. Talk to your friends and neighbors, use every facet of social media, and even go “old school” by writing letters to the editor of any newspaper or magazine you may read. Because, one thing is for certain: virtually every Trump proposal or policy will require determined and constant opposition. We must take a page from the Republican playbook of 2008 wherein McConnell famously (infamously) stated that the primary Republican achievement had to be that of insuring that President Obama would be a one-term President (sorry Mitch, you failed). Democrats should remember McConnell’s obstructionist tactics, minus one key component. While McConnell, Ryan, Boehner, and Cantor (remember him?) could scarcely conceal the racism at the heart of their hatred for Obama, we’ll be battling Trump on the basis of truth, social justice, and a genuine concern for the future of our country. That, my friends, is genuine patriotism.