Here is what cannot happen. People cannot continue to underestimate Trump. He is much smarter than most of his critics think. As people have mocked him and treated him like he was a clown, he created one of the most powerful and most dangerous political movements in the history of the United States. He knows what he is doing. We must also not underestimate the evil that he is capable of committing (he has already done great evil by running the most hate-filled campaign in U.S. history and by fostering an environment of much more open hate and violence in relation to women, Latin@s, African Americans, LGBTQ persons, and Muslims).
When Trump is going after one group hard while he appears to be laying off of another group, do not ever think that the other groups are somehow safe. He is going after the most vulnerable first – undocumented immigrants (plans to immediately deport or incarcerate 2 to 3 million people), but if you think that is where it ends, you are continuing to underestimate him.
Trump thrives on our underestimating him, and as we underestimate him, people and the planet will continue to suffer. He will have to be resisted every step of the way. Whatever their motives might be, those who are saying give him a chance to govern do not understand what racist, xenophobic authoritarians do when they come to power. If we give him an inch, he will take a mile. Mr. Trump will have to be resisted at every single step of the way. In addition, Democrats along with some Republicans in Congress and currently sitting judges will have to find courage and a moral compass to block lasting damage to our fragile republic, protect the most vulnerable among us, and avoid potentially irreversible harm to the planet.
Some people who are complicit in Trump’s rise to power and the media who keep finding ways to normalize his actions want to believe that it will not really be as bad as Trump promised it would be with his very own words. I hope that they are right, but that does not change the fact that we have to be prepared for what Trump said he would do and resist every unjust act of his administration – relentlessly. The people with whom Trump is surrounding himself as he prepares to take power make me believe that he is very capable of following through on many of his worst promises.
May we never forget the words Marine Niemöller during this perilous time:
“First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”