Life is coming at us extremely fast. Justice Kennedy’s retirement and Trump’s nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh have solidified the reality that progressives have lost. Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 election has become irrelevant. Many of us saw the Mueller investigation as our way to avoid the full consequences of the election. The logic went, “When Mueller discovers what Trump did, a democratic congress will impeach him.” We were hopeful that a hypothetical impeachment would happen before the next supreme court justice died or retired. Justice Kennedy’s retirement ensures that Mueller’s investigation can only serve as a symbolic salve for progressives.
A hardline conservative majority on the Supreme Court feels inevitable. The republicans control the senate, and democrats do not seem to have the votes to stop Kavanaugh. We have lost. We will continue to see the erosion of 50 years of social progress. Even with many losses on the horizon, we should continue to #resist. Even if our organizing, rallying and raising hell do not yield immediate wins, fighting is still necessary. We have to remember what Zora Neale Hurston taught us, “If you are silent about your pain, they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.” It feels as if the 58 percent of white people who voted for Trump, and all their accomplices, are trying to kill us. If this is the beginning of some dystopian novel, we must go out kicking and screaming.
In 1934, William Monroe Trotter, an activist and early influence on W.E.B. Du Bois, died. Trotter spent the early 1900s fighting against racism and segregation. Trotter’s activism included leading boycotts against the film Birth of a Nation and arguing with President Wilson about segregation in federal agencies. Though earnest and forceful, Trotter died not seeing the fulfillment of his life’s work. Trotter died 30 years before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In an obituary for Trotter, Du Bois attempted to reconcile the fact that Trotter worked tirelessly for his race but did not see many victories. Du Bois wrote, “This does not mean that agitation does not pay; but it means that you cannot necessarily cash in quickly upon it. It means that sacrifice, even to blood and tears, must be given to this great fight; and not one but a thousand lives, like that of Monroe Trotter, is necessary to victory.”
The wisdom of our ancestors is what should keep us going during these dark and evil days. Du Bois and Hurston knew what they were talking about. We must make a record of our resistance and we must join forces with all those who are willing to fight. Our acts of resistance are not guaranteed to work. Still, our collective acts of resistance are the only hope we have in stopping the bigoted Trump agenda from being fully implemented. Immediately after Justice Kennedy announced his resignation, organizations from across the left began to organize.
The night Trump announced Judge Kavanaugh as his nominee to the Supreme Court, there was a rally on the steps of the Supreme Court. The rally was organized by groups like The Leadership Conference, CAP Action and NARAL Pro-Choice. In New York, National Action Network organized a rally in front of Trump Tower where leaders were arrested in acts of civil disobedience. These groups know the odds are against them and they still are fighting. Kavanaugh’s appointment will guarantee that women will have less access to reproductive healthcare, black people will have less access to the ballot and LGBT rights will be curbed in the name of religious freedom. We have to fight back because our opponents aren’t going to stop hitting us.