If you’re willing to stand up in the Era of Trump: then resist, engage, and make change happen
March 4, 2017

A diverse group of people have become protesters and activists. (Photo by AJ Kane)

The November 8 election seems like eons ago. Most Chicagoans experienced the weeks leading up to Inauguration Day with apprehension and fear. The first month of the Trump presidency felt more like a year, filled with agonizing dread and disbelief. Of course, it all depends on how you look at things.

If you were in the minority in this community—and that would have been the 11% of you who voted Republican—you may relish the slew of executive orders signed into law by the new President and enjoy bellowing, “get over it, your candidate lost.”

For those of us who voted against Donald Trump, and in this community that was the majority of voters—85% to be exact—we cringe at every news bulletin and Presidential tweet.

It may not be too far fetched to say that some who voted for Trump may be having buyer’s remorse. He entered the White House in January with the lowest approval rating of any incoming President in the modern era. And then, things really got interesting.

This message isn’t meant for those who remain steadfast in President Trump’s corner. It’s meant for those of you who are outraged by his erratic and, at times, unhinged behavior; his astonishing lack of understanding of what the Constitution of the United States stands for and of how government functions; his outright and blatant disregard for human rights and dignity; the ongoing and troubling news of alleged Russian infringement on the November election; and the many ways he has shown that he has no intention to be a President willing to govern on behalf of all of the people.

Mr. Trump continues to act more like a candidate who can’t let go of the adulation found on the campaign trail. He continues to play only to his base. As unfortunate as that is, it’s the least of the worries of many. Bill Maher, the host of Real Time with Bill Maher on HBO, said it best recently when he stated that he was fed up with the double standard in this country for those who govern with the “R” behind their names.

These are the favored sons and daughters who ground Washington to a halt for eight years, blocked just about every piece of legislation former President Barack Obama put in front of them, and suffered no consequences.

They decried the Affordable Care Act, derided it as “Obamacare,” and voted 52 times to repeal, defund, or reduce it. Then, they promised to march along side the new President and jettison it right off the face of the earth on his first day in office.

Only that hasn’t happened yet because they can’t come up with a suitable replacement and they are catching all sorts of grief by a vociferous number of their own constituents, Republicans and Democrats alike— who are among the 20 million strong Americans who see this as a life and death issue.

Lest we forget, they refused to allow Senate hearings on Merrick Garland, President Obama’s more than fair selection for Supreme Court justice, acting as though the Constitution gave them the authority to say a “lame duck” President had no right to take such action. Since when did we elect Presidents for three-year terms? It’s just more of the stuff you could get away with when you have the favored “R” after your name.

We could go on and on, but you get the picture. So, it’s time for Democrats, Independents, and even fair-minded Republicans to come together and resist. Resist everything that you see as an injustice.

Take a stand for democracy and the Republic that you cherish. Protect those whose rights are being trampled upon and who cannot protect themselves. Get engaged and make change happen. And don’t ever, ever whither when you are criticized. We have suffered enough from placid Democratic leadership. It’s time for change. Be that change. Lead that change. Live that change.

The Gazette has devoted several pages in this issue to tell of the fear that local residents have in the Era of Trump. But, we also find hope in seeing the actions they are taking.

We are heartened by the activism of fellow Chicagoans and of Americans across our nation in the early days of the Trump presidency. It started with the Women’s March in Washington and in other cities just days after the Inauguration and it is building in momentum and in organization. We say it’s about time.

In this issue, we offer a list of some of the movements and organizations blossoming locally and nationally that provide a path as to how you can get involved. In future issues, we will take a closer, in-depth look of how Trump policies will have an adverse effect on the lives of Chicagoans and the people right here in the communities we cover.

We welcome your contributions to the list. Send us a note at info@gazettechicago.com. We encourage you to read Gene Stone’s book The Trump Survival Guide and Tom Tresser’s Chicago Is Not Broke. But all of this isn’t enough. You can’t just read and hear about the negative impact of this Administration, shake your head, and say, “woe is me.”

The very essence of our democracy is at stake. And that is no exaggeration. Just look at some of what President Trump did in his first 30 days: a Muslim ban; filling his cabinet with billionaires, Wall Street fat cats, and people actually opposed to the agencies they are heading; appointed Michael Flynn national security advisor—who quickly had to resign after it was learned he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about meetings with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak; ratcheted up deportation of Mexican Americans while deporting a lower percentage of those with criminal charges against them than President Obama did; taking action against undocumented children who should be protected via the DACA Act; and trying to drive a wedge between the media and the American people.

You need to rise up. Stand up. And, go out and do something!