When is the time to accept the status quo,and when is the time to stand up and fight? I hear the term “normalization” a lot, and I feel like it can be applied to either those who accept, and those who fight. For some, the rallying cry is “My country, right or wrong!” and they feel that protest is a defiance of one’s patriotism. For others, the default position seems to be one with fists raised, either because they want radical change, or because acceptance of anything feels bad and fighting feels good. Both of those stances are anti-democratic and wrong. The first is wrong because living in a free country means that protesting is the most patriotic thing you can do. The second is wrong, because always being ready to fight means that when there is really something worth fighting for, nobody takes you seriously because they assume you’re overreacting as usual.
So, again, when is the time that we should stand up and fight? As a formerly well-behaved woman, I ask myself this. I spent most of my life not fighting. I didn’t like when George W. Bush won the presidency with a popular vote deficit, but I accepted that it was an anomaly of the system. I didn’t like the way he handled the presidency, but I never felt that he acted in bad faith. I still believe that he likely thought he was doing the right thing, even as he brought our country to the brink of financial collapse and enabled the worst terrorist attack in our nation’s history through sheer ineptitude.
And yet, now I fight. Why now and not before? I fight now because I fear the authoritarianism of Donald Trump threatens my freedom as an American. I knew very early on that I would have to fight against normalization of Trump every day as a defense of my own rights, not merely as the mocking of a buffoon who said and did and believed crazy things.
So when Donald Trump says that Barack Obama was not born in the United States and stages a fake investigation into the archives in Hawaii where he claims that amazing discoveries of previously hidden secrets are being found, I say, no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump claims that climate change is a hoax perpetuated by the Chinese, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump claims that vaccines cause autism, which decades of study have proven not to be the case, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump makes a false claim that Muslims in the United States were filmed and broadcast on television celebrating the 9/11 attacks, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s spokeswoman, goes on television repeatedly and claims that people criticizing Trump should be afraid of the legal ramifications of their actions, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump gives only the most tepid disavowals and rejections of white supremacists, and claims that the instances of hate crimes reported in the media are overblown and sensationalized for ratings, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump uses his position as president elect to curry favor and bribes with foreign diplomats, and when previously held-up projects in foreign countries are now going full-speed ahead since the election, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump settles a $25 million fraud lawsuit and admits to using contributions to his charity for his personal gain, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump reacts to the typical comedic ribbing of Saturday Night Live, a comedic institution in our country that has literally made fun of every single president since Gerald Ford, by claiming he deserves equal time to refute their points and make his case so nobody will believe the things they say about him, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump reacts to a very sincere and polite request from the cast members of the musical “Hamilton” for inclusion and acknowledgement in a Trump/Pence administration by saying that they should apologize, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump claims he will not consider Mitt Romney, a competent politician and decent man, for a government position until Romney grovels and apologizes for every slight he ever uttered against Trump, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump makes false claims that he won the popular vote against Hillary Clinton, and claims that many of the votes cast for her were illegal, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump acts as though jailing Hillary Clinton were something he could do on a whim, even though the constitution doesn’t even grant the president the power to prosecute someone for crimes, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
When Donald Trump claims that the FBI/CIA/other US intelligence agencies are not reliable and that we should disregard their findings on the Russian election hack, I say no, I fight for my freedom.
And when Donald Trump accepts a fake news rumor that the mobs of protesters against him are merely paid off by some international billionaire, that there is not really a popular dissent movement against him, that we’re all merely shills, then, I say something different.
I say no, sir. I fight for free.