Simple Steps to Overcoming Trumpery: an Action Guide

11. Donate

Almost all of us can spare a few bucks now and then to organizations that make a positive difference. It’s especially vital to support groups that are being defunded or targeted by legislation or propaganda. Depending on your interests and values, these might include the ACLU, Border Angels, National Association for Women, Planned Parenthood, the Council on American-Islamic Relations,  or the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network. Many worthwhile organizations also need volunteers if you can donate a little time.

12. Wear your badges proudly

In the 1990’s a Serbian university student named Srdja Popovic organized a movement called Otpor! (Resist!) that was instrumental in bringing down the dictator Slobodan Milosevic. One of their most potent tools was the simple symbol of a clenched fist, which they spread all over the country. A seemingly innocuous image like that has the power to galvanize and inspire to a greater extent than most people realize.

For the present struggle, there are several candidates for such an emblem, but perhaps the most promising is the “resistor” modeled after the electronic symbol.  This image is the logo of the “I Am a Resistor” movement (thus the spelling of resistor with an “o”, as in electronics applications). Images like this, along with slogans and other promotional iconography, help remind resisters that they are not alone, and spur them to action.

One caveat, however: placing anti-Trump stickers on your vehicle may significantly increase your chances of being vandalized.

13. Reclaim the banner

You may have noticed that a great many Trump supporters love to wrap themselves in the flag, and to cast aspersions on the patriotism of anyone who doesn’t concur with their beliefs. Don’t forget that it’s your flag, too; and it was never intended to be the coat-of-arms for demagoguery.  Flaunting the flag doesn’t prove you’re patriotic any more than wearing a bathing suit proves you can swim; but it wouldn’t hurt if you showed that you can fly the colors as well as those guys. And it might even make them a little more kindly disposed toward you. (And if you have religious convictions, there’s no reason to let them co-opt the Bible, either.)

14. Bust the octopus

This may not be a pleasant fact to hear, but progressive change in Washington is all but dead. The GOP is very close to establishing a (permanent?) monopoly on the federal government. They have strongly signaled that they will maintain an edge in the Supreme Court by childishly refusing, until the end of time, to consider any bench nomination by a Democratic president. In fact, they have acknowledged that when they gut stuck with a Democratic president, they will fight any and all measures he or she advances — even the ones they absolutely know to be beneficial for the American people.

They have established a stranglehold on Congress through ferocious gerrymandering, and they have gamed elections with voter laws (ostensibly to prevent fraud that is in fact quite rare) designed to eliminate minority voters who are far more likely to vote Democratic. Furthermore, the trend toward urbanization skews the electoral college in their favor by shifting more relative weight to rural voters — a presidential vote in Wyoming, for instance, carries nearly 4 times as much weight as a presidential vote in California. What all of this adds up to is that although more and more people are voting Democratic (or trying to), their votes are counting for less and less.

The U.S., in short, has all but devolved into a one-party state, and it is not the party whose policies most citizens favor. Thus, real progress depends on breaking up the monopoly. Among other things, that involves eliminating gerrymandering, discriminatory voter restrictions, and the electoral college. But it also means focusing on politics at the local level. Many “blue” states are oases of sanity in a nation gone mad; some states and municipalities have even issued official declarations defying the disease of Trumpery. Even some scientists, alarmed by the Trump policy of muzzling science, are gearing up to run for office.  It is quite possible that some of the state and local leaders from these communities will work their way up to the national level. That is, in fact, part of the strategy that put the GOP where it is today.

15. Harness the power of laughter

Another potent tool that Otpor! used to topple tyranny was humor. This included TV commercials and street theatre, among other things. Again, Michael Moore is an excellent role model here; humor is one of the elements that make his films so appealing and popular — who can forget the sight of him lugging a basket of laundry up the steps of the Capitol at the end of Sicko?

Donald Trump has already illustrated just how powerful a weapon humor can be against him. Like other totalitarians, he is utterly humorless himself.  Accordingly, he has reacted like a spoiled child to being impersonated on Saturday Night Live, throwing one of his numerous Twitter tantrums when he should have been preoccupied with government matters. The more he is made the butt of humor, the more distracted and petty he will become, and the more he will demonstrate to the public how grossly unfit he is.

Note: Humor is NOT the same thing as sarcasm or mockery.

(concluded on next page)


  1. Good to see your recommendations for how to overcome “Trumpery.”
    Personally, my own preferred way to express activism is to write and write, to all the local newspapers, politicians, pundits, and news outlets like CNN and MSNBC. The area I live in does often include organized protests on a much smaller scale than those in larger cities, and we also have many citizens who are not now, nor ever were, Trump supporters. But what I often find frustrating is that the local newspapers seldom allow letters of opinion to exceed 300 words, so I can often provide only a very general outline of my views, which should contain more facts and figures that can be verified in order to give them clout. I don’t believe this limitation is the newspaper’s fault, because short letters make for opinion pages containing more letters than do those with high word limits. Yet when I am only allowed a bare-bones reply, to me, I might as well be reduced to saying something like, “Trump very bad man.” Which I hear Stephen Hawking’s uttered about him, partly to be satirically cheeky in response to the mentality of Trump and his supporters. That’s a good reply in itself, but sadly does not include many facts and figures, or even a decent slew of adjectives.

    I do think you’re right about the fascist elements in Trump’s administration, as well as the glaring conflicts of interests which are bound to exists concerning his various appointees. Then there is the fact that some nominees apparently know very little about the Posts they have been nominated to fill. The Department of Education Secretary (you know, what’s her name), reportedly has never attended a public school and home schooled her own children. So at the very least, she’d be a cabinet member who would most likely attempt to replace the public school system with a bunch of private ones, (as long as they have “the freedom,” to teach their students about Jesus). So, she Is about the most absurd choice possible. Then there’s Trump’s choice for head of the EPA, who flat out denies that climate change exists, as well as his choice of a billionaire oil executive to serve as secretary of State? In the face of such lunacy, many of us (not just liberals) commonly display puzzled looks on our faces and seek assurances from our friends that what we are seeing with our own eyes is really happening, while Trump’s surrogates on various news broadcasts, have been given the daunting daily task of making ugliness and stupidity sound normal.

    As far as social media goes, its sometimes truly laughable to glance at the list of recent comments posted on the forums in News outlets like Media Matters, and not just break out in laughter, as one reads one childish taunt and insult after another used mostly to vent a writer’s frustrations, rather than actually suppling a cogent position to be debated. The only trouble is that, almost everyone who tries to explain their positions eventually becomes frustrated and angry, and even the most well-meaning of us, keeps slipping up by answering with insults—thus making our comments a completely fruitless endeavor.

    Your suggestion to bug the media is something I have been doing for a long time. But, one can hardly include enough information in a 250 or 300-word letter to adequately express one’s own opinions. Consequently, I have been sending more informed letters made specifically for the perusal of opinion page editor and those who worked for particular news outlets. I have sent many debunking the views expressed by AGW deniers, along with a polite reminder that I only hope they can read my letters when they have the chance to, and that they are not obligated to answer them in any way—as well as the fact that my letters are not meant for publication. My feeling is that most opinion page editors and the higher ups working in most of our newspapers, are not denying global warming out of spite, or for political reasons—they have merely been convinced that the existence of AGW is not a fact, and therefore, remains a topic that needs to be vigorously debated. It’s just too bad more of them don’t realize that we have been vigorously debating this issue for many years, and have not gotten anywhere—due to the very well-funded campaign of denial run by big coal and oil, via artful deniers and Republican think tanks. However, the scientific consensus simply regards the basic facts that global warming exists, and that man is its primary contributor. But, as in any field of scientific study, climate scientists are always going to be challenged with different pertinent questions to answer—unfortunately, we have been debating the basics with deniers for more than three decades, and as long as any small peripheral issue is presented as a major rebuttal of AGW, we have apparently been expected to keep on “discussing,” the issue for many more decades—while more and more damage to the climate is being done. The editors and reporter for many news outlets, remain unaware that this kind of endless uncertainty is precisely the result that big oil and big coal want us to be caught up in—because even doubts about a peripheral issue can be quickly used to criticize distinguished PhDs worldwide (who come from many different political systems, religions, and social or ethnic backgrounds) yet all agree that AGW does exist, and that human beings are its primary cause. My wife and I are both disabled and so it’s hard to physically attend rallies and protests, but we are doing everything else we can.

    One thing I have got to say, so as not to present myself as a “liberal drone,” is that I don’t think Trump likes to attack and/or rape women—I see him as an alpha male with a jock achiever’s mentality who never really grew beyond that stage of development. In the old school he comes from, men typically like to brag about their sexual conquests in the locker room, and women have been seen primarily as objects of men’s desires. So gross as he may be, he is probably that way from following the unspoken macho playbook that so many men read and share. Yes, its wrong, but it’s a far cry from being a wanton rapist, or someone who attacks and hates women.

    In a larger sense though, what is truly upsetting is the way our American electorate can be so easily swayed by any candidate who promises to create jobs and put money in their pockets—even at the exclusion of everything else.

    What exactly does make so many people accept a man of such obvious low and immature character? —perhaps the fact that he’s perceived as the good dude standing up for the average forgotten man—one who just wants a job and a means to provide for his family. In this light, electing a President who has insulted disabled reporter, offered to pay the legal bills of any supporter who punches anti-Trump protesters in the nose, stated that he likes hero’s that don’t get caught, insults the family of a fallen war hero, insults women, wants to deny illegal aliens the chance to stay with their families, says only HE can beat ISIS since he knows more than our generals, and refuses to admit the many times he had been wrong, etc. etc. etc.—somehow became acceptable?

    I could go on forever, but I think the most crucial issue with Trump is that he won votes on the basis of promising American’s jobs while adhering to a chauvinist right wing sense of self-righteous Superiority! I can’t help but be reminded of a statement I have heard often, but cannot verify the origin of—an outsider asked German citizens after WWII why they were coaxed into following someone as evil as Hitler? One citizen answered quite simply, “The trains ran on time.”

    What moral price are we willing to pay, just to have a President create jobs and defend “us first” policies which frequently have negative results. How much do we really need financial security, without requiring that our elected official also display a modicum of morality and ethical behavior? Would we rather have the trains run on time, work jobs minus living wages, permit our children to be educated to reject science, allow employers not to provide safe work places, deny health care to those who are too poor to afford it, or hold a superior attitude about ourselves just because we were smart enough, not to go broke? –etc. etc.

    Remember that in Nazi Germany the trains did run on time, but they also made regular stops at Dachau, and Buchenwald. So how much are we willing to risk for the opportunity to receive long awaited economic benefits while sacrificing our own human dignity—without even caring if our leaders strive to act morally as parts of the human race? Is there really any reason not to support a candidate who displays morality as well as a sound path to economic progress?

  2. I found that it was Mussolini who was given credit for making the trains run on time, However, I don’t know if he originally said it. However, HItler could just as well represent a greedy Fascist who sought to win over the public by pointing to supposed improved efficiencies like this, none of which has anything to do with the spiritual ethics of a Nation.

    Hitler—Mussolini—apples to oranges I guess.

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