Last Friday, 99 days into President Trump's first 100 days, a coalition of Democrat Party and Left wing activists and groups announced they were forming to stop Trump in New Jersey. The Observer (April 28, 2017) reported:
"On the 99th day of Trump’s presidency, New Jersey legislators and activists launched what they called a 'legislative resistance' to create concrete protections against federal proposals that they say would undermine state values and resident safety.
The Resistance Coalition is fronted by Sen. Majority Leader Loretta Weinberg (D-Bergen) and Assembly Speaker Emeritus Sheila Oliver (D-Essex). It includes activist groups like New Jersey Working Families Alliance, the Communication Workers of America (CWA), the NJ Amalgamated Transit Union, Blue Wave NJ, and the Sierra Club, among others. They plan to introduce state legislative measures in areas like expanding voting rights, reinstating Obama-era environmental protections lifted by the Trump administration, minimizing 'wage theft' they say Trump’s budget cuts would aggravate, and divesting pension payments from companies that help build Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall."
That term "resistance" is intriguing. For some, it represents just one further notch in the ratcheting up on the way to civil war. For others it is the fashion statement of the moment, signaling "virtue" to the "virtuous."
But the idea of resistance is a negative one, in that it focuses an opposition against something instead of for a positive agenda. In this case, organizations and people who might not agree on a set of legislative priorities have been brought together in opposition to President Donald Trump. And it appears as though they have reached back to the 1960's -- to Democrat Party leaders like Governor George Corley Wallace -- and are prepared to use the same "states' rights" arguments for blocking federal initiatives as he did.
The example of Hezbollah is instructive as well. Organized as a Shia Islamic political party -- the term literally means "Party of God" -- it imposed a strict religious ideology on its adherents. But Hezbollah realized that its numbers would never be enough to constitute a parliamentary majority, so it organized a "resistance" to Israel that included a secular paramilitary wing called the Lebanese Resistance Brigades. This "resistance" brought Christians, Druze, Sunni, and Shia together in their focused hatred of Israel and what they call "Zionism." Hezbollah's political representatives in the Lebanese parliament are grouped under the designation, "Loyalty to the Resistance," where they form a bloc of 12 seats.
This idea of placing to one side any positive agenda in favor of bringing as many "resisters" together in a focused hatred to oppose anything and everything proposed by the legitimately elected government of the United States of America is rather chilling. To compare Donald Trump to Adolph Hitler belittles the gravity of the crimes of the latter. In fact, this "resistance" movement is closer in its application to the various NSDAP (National Socialists) - KPD (Communists) alliances to undermine the "establishment" of the Weimar Republic. In his first hand account (1932-33), American Abraham Plotkin wrote of "the certain peculiarities in the similarity of the programs of both the Fascists and the Communists... they do work together occasionally, because of the similarity of their programs... to discredit the social democratic leadership." Such is how a "resistance" is made.
Representative democracies have "loyal oppositions." On the night of his inauguration as President, Democrat Lyndon Baines Johnson passed over countless members of his own party to ask the Republican Senate Leader, Everett Dirksen, to join him at the White House for a private drink. Such was their relationship. Together they wrote and shepherded to passage the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Civil Rights Act of 1968. That was a Republic at work -- an elected government and the loyal opposition -- not a "resistance."
If you want to see a "resistance" at work -- and the threat it poses to representative democracy -- go visit Israel. There is a very boisterous self-named "resistance movement" made up of Hamas, Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. More moderate groups -- like Fatah and the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) eschew the term "resistance," preferring to find compromise with the Israeli government. Hmmmm...
Remember Senator Weinberg, Assemblywoman Oliver, you chose the term. Now own it -- all of it.