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Dear resistance, from one exhausted yet persistent woman

This is not an easy time. The resistance has suffered painful and fear-provoking defeats, and we are now also facing the uncertainty of an unfit Commander-in-Chief engaging in military action. It is understandable if you are feeling scared. It is understandable if you are feeling frustrated or feeling hopeless. It is even understandable if you […]

By Leah McElrath - April 09, 2017
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This is not an easy time. The resistance has suffered painful and fear-provoking defeats, and we are now also facing the uncertainty of an unfit Commander-in-Chief engaging in military action. It is understandable if you are feeling scared. It is understandable if you are feeling frustrated or feeling hopeless. It is even understandable if you are feeling like giving up.

Before you do though, consider this: You are not alone.

You are part of something bigger than yourself. You are part of one of the largest social change movements in human history. And that movement, that resistance, needs you now more than ever.

Many will recall when passions were high during the 2016 election, then President Barack Obama said repeatedly, “Don’t boo. Vote.” We are once again at a time of high passion and inestimable import. We are literally fighting for the survival of our republic, the survival of democracies around the globe, and the survival of humanity on earth. We are fighting for ourselves, for our children, and for our children’s children. The stakes do not get any larger, which is precisely why setbacks hurt so much. Whether we keep it in our conscious mind every day or not, at some level, we know the stakes and feel the urgency in our bodies.

If you have found yourself tearful and despairing, you are among many. And there is our common challenge: To feel those feelings and to keep on working and fighting anyway.

So: Do cry, and then resist.

You see, we are not fighting because we are certain we will win. We will not win every battle. We have not won every battle. Nor can we predict what will happen in the future. We fight not because we are certain of victory but because we must know that we did fight for what is right when the time came. And the time is here. You are living and participating in history. We are answerable to the future for what we do now. It is that simple.

The resistance is not a movement of “blue” versus “red,” or about relatively minor differences in policy opinions, or about Hillary versus Donald versus Bernie. It never has been.

The resistance is about fighting the ascendance of the regressive, destructive, and dangerous ideology of white nationalism that has raised its ugly and pathetic head once more in human affairs. And it has not just raised its head in the United States. With the support of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a flood of dark money from extremist political ideologue billionaires, the right-wing white nationalist movement is threatening the stability of every single democracy founded on classical liberal values of inclusion and equality worldwide, from the United Kingdom to France to Germany to Canada to Australia to South Africa and beyond.

The last time nationalist fervor, and its close cousin white nationalism, gained prominence, the results included World War II, the Holocaust, the siege of Leningrad, the fire-bombing of Dresden, and the obliteration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki and vaporization of their inhabitants by nuclear bombs. Survivors bore witness. We all swore “never again.” Yet here we are.

This time though, organized resistance has formed faster and become larger before the authoritarian nationalist surge has had a chance to overwhelm social norms. People have been mobilized into forming diverse coalitions and organizing locally. Using social media, people have been speaking out about the dangers and connecting with one another in an accelerated way. In a very short period and against tall odds, we have celebrated many victories. Between 3-5 million people took part in the Women’s Marches on Inauguration Day in the United States alone, making it the single largest protest event in U.S. history. Calling their elected representatives in the House and Senate, constituents have overwhelmed the capacity of switchboards of the Capitol. When Trump signed his Muslim ban, people rose up to advocate for the vulnerable, and the courts struck it down repeatedly. With people from “red” states and “blue” states working together, the resistance was victorious in stopping the repeal the Affordable Care Act. Since the election, more than 10,000 women have signed up to run for office. Additionally, outside of the U.S., activists around the world have both taken action both to express their solidarity with those of us in America and to form resistance movements to fight the rise of white nationalist authoritarianism in their countries.

Just as the threat is global, so is the resistance. And the resistance is working.

So go ahead cry and feel the despair and fear. Know that experiencing such emotions just means you have good grasp on reality. But never forget that you are part of something much larger than yourself. Together, we will mourn our lost battles, but we will win the ideological war.

You are part of the resistance. And we need you.


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