The Great Resistance 2017

Marianne Williamson on Huffington Post
December 24, 2016

It’s very tempting to feel sad this holiday season. I know many people feel more hopeful than ever, celebrating the election of a new President and looking forward to better times ahead. I respect that they feel that way, but I cannot fathom it. I leave them to their partying, and pray in my heart that they are right and I am wrong.

For me, as for millions of others, there is a feeling of deep foreboding. From our President-elect’s childishly reckless attitude about a nuclear arms race (the 5,000-7,000 nukes we already have aren’t enough, Sir?) to his chief financial appointee suggesting banks need more deregulation (they haven’t done enough harm already, Sir?) to a lack of impulse control with his twitter account suggesting something more like an extreme use of Adderall than an extreme case of ADD — it is looking like he is a car crash happening in slow motion and the rest of us are stuck in the car.

Beyond Left and Right, people all across the political spectrum are feeling a sense of alarm. In the words of a friend, we are “shaken to the core.” Despite repeated injunctions — from Vladimir himself, no less! — that we need to “lose with dignity,” and simply “get over it,” I for one do know how to do that…but I don’t want to. And this is not the first time my guy lost in the Presidential horse race. I got over it when Nixon won. I got over it when Reagan won. I got over it when Bush 43 won (okay, I admit that one was a bit harder, since he didn’t win). But with Trump, I don’t think I’m supposed to get over it. In fact, I feel it’s my patriotic duty not to. Every part of my being is sending out a red alert. In Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s classic work, acceptance is meant to be the final stage of grief. But we should never ever “accept” something as demagogic and vigilantly ignorant as what a Trump presidency represents to this nation. There isn’t just something to grieve here; there’s something to powerfully and passionately stand for.

Spiritually, I understand that Trump is an innocent child of God. And before he was a Presidential candidate, I found him to be a kind of entertaining American character. But he is not entertaining anymore; he is frightening. He has been elected to the Presidency of the United States and yet he acts like he is mocking the job.

There is nothing spiritual about complacency, and I reject any half-baked spiritual prescription that if we just send him enough love then everything will be okay. If the house is burning, you yell “Fire.” You don’t just repeat your mantra more times and trust the outcome to God. Quite the opposite: we are to live our lives so that God can trust the outcome to us. He cannot do for us what He cannot do through us. The question is not, how did God let this happen? The question is, how did we let this happen? And what are we going to do about it now ?

Gandhi was non-violent toward the British, but he wanted them out. King was non-violent toward the white supremacists, but he wanted them politically defeated. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “God said I have to love my enemies, but he didn’t say I have to like them.” This is a time for neither a superficial spirituality, nor a superficial politics. We need to do more than buckle our seat belts now; we need to rise to the occasion and find every legal, non-violent, and effective way to resist Trump’s leadership. It’s not enough to wait for the Republicans to find their conscience, or for the Democrats to find their … well, you know the word. Each of us needs to find our power. We are citizens, and we should remember that our representatives, even the President, work for us. We do not work for them.

And we have simply made a terrible hire. It’s not just that the Trump phenomenon isn’t “normal;” there are enough people saying that already. But we have to take the next psychological step now. If it isn’t “normal,” then what is it? And the answer, to me, is clear: it is dangerous. His presidency represents a clear and present danger to this country and to the world. But he was not elected king, or dictator; he was elected President. And within our democratic system there are ways to legally deal with a corrupt or mentally unfit leader.

Each of us needs to ask ourselves, “What can I do? What is my internal guidance, that I might be part of the Great Resistance in 2017?” And that is what it needs to be: a Great Resistance. Not just a kinda-sorta-maybe-I’ll-post-that-on-Facebook kind of thing. Each of us has a part to play in powerfully repudiating the abuse and misuse of power that Trump’s upcoming Presidency already represents.

For me, I am hosting the next SISTER GIANT conference in Washington DC on Feb. 2-4, 2017. We are bringing together speakers representing everything from a deeper archetypal understanding of our predicament, to the most effective ways to politically resist it. SISTER GIANT is a good thing, and there are many more things that will be happening as well. But whatever you do, if you agree with my assessment, then do something.

There is a call going out from deep within the American psyche now: to remember the Abolitionists, remember the Suffragettes, remember the Civil Rights movement — and do, in our time, what they did in theirs: see the problem, but don’t just grieve it. FIX IT! Let’s not be the first generation of Americans to be so beaten down by a problem that we lose our will to solve it.

Now, as we celebrate the miracles of both Hannukah and Christmas, let us remember that this is not the first time human beings have experienced a very dark night. And this is indeed a collective dark night of the soul. But all great religious teachings remind us that into the darkened night God always has, and always will, brought forth a light that is not of this world. A light that enters into human affairs. A light through which we find our fundamental connection to a power greater than ourselves. And no power of darkness can stand before the power of this light. It is among us and it is within us.

And yes, the light dwells within Donald Trump. Of course it does. None of this is to personally wish him ill. It is to wish him residing happily in Florida or New York or wherever he wishes, making whatever deals he wishes to make, but nowhere near the levers of political power. He has proven himself something much more significant than not up to the task. Yet while he might not be up to the task of governing the most powerful country on earth, the deeper question still is this: are we up to the task of creating a Great Resistance, and saving our country from the demagoguery he represents?

Let’s not just hope this time. Let’s make the answer as clear as the light of the star of Bethlehem, and as miraculous as the light of the first Hannukah candles. We know who Donald Trump is; the question now is, who are we? 2017 is not a pre-determined destiny. It is up to each of us to decide what it will be.

  • mitaky

    “Be vigilant. Protect your mind from negative thinking….Gods praise vigilance and reject negligence.”
    – Buddha

  • comments122

    Marianne, do you really believe Barack Obama was not a demagogue entirely unqualified to be the leader of the free world? Trump is far from perfect, but in this election he was clearly the better choice. Hillary Clinton is a mess and the voters were smart enough to choose otherwise this time around. Trump will clean up the messes that Obama made, just watch.

  • comments122

    Marianne, please tell us that you don’t really believe Obama was even remotely qualified to be president? Barack Obama was in no way qualified to run anything other than his mouth – as long as he has a teleprompter. The election of Trump over the mess that is Hillary Clinton shows just how smart the voters are. Trump is a true independent and will work hard for the good of the American people despite the “Resistance” you and others bring.

  • comments122

    Meanwhile Obama steps up his efforts to start WW3 with Russia a mere three weeks before he leaves office and you are afraid of a Trump presidency?

    And, thanks to WikiLeaks, we all know by now that the media are colluding with the Democrats. And you fear a Trump presidency? My God, you are misguided, Marianne.

  • comments122

    Marianne, despite all of your “Resistance,” Trump will be an exceptionally popular and effective president – a welcome change from the eight years of Obama’s disastrous anti-American reign and a sigh of relief that the country was spared the disaster that would have been Hillary Clinton. Voters are smarter than you give them credit for being.

  • comments122

    I’m not sure why you are cheering for a ‘Socialist’ who wants bigger and more intrusive government with programs the country cannot afford in our lives? It makes no sense. The bigger the government, the smaller the citizen.

  • Sandra
  • 47scooter

    Thank you! I am looking forward to receiving this.

  • Julia McKay

    If you think Trump is not the result of big government, you have been duped. How do people think that a man who has benefited so greatly from a system of economic injustice will remedy economic inequality? It makes no sense.

  • Laura Madden

    as our country has grown in wealth the majority of its people have become less wealthy, more in debt, and given in to the growing demands of work just to survive. yet the 1%, which includes Donald Trump, have gotten more wealthy and have gained even more power to decide what we can and can’t do in our own personal lives and communities. you do not have to accept all that Bernie or other progressives say, but you have to recognize that the imbalance between rich and poor in our capitalist system is unacceptable. that part of his message i resonate with fully.

  • Barbara McCombs

    I just found this site and wonder why there are so many negative comments about Marianne, Obama, and our potential roles as women activists. As an older semi-retired educational psychologist, I see the damage that might occur to our children and nation unless Trump stops ‘tweeting uninformed messages’ or messages that disturb Americans and our allies. I am still waiting to see if someone on his team can reign him in but looking t his choices for education and other big offices, I am worried. Can he really dismantle what we worked hard to accomplish in the past decades that ensure rights to the poor, the mentally challenged, and those who are different from white males? I am contacting my senators and others to let them know the Trump agenda will be hurting me as a senior trying to cover rising health care costs, will be hurting my children and grandchildren with fewer choices on jobs and ways to make ends meet. In spite of what people below say, Obama’s administration made great strides on may fronts (jobs, reduction in debt, and more positive relationships abroad). Michelle is an excellent model for many young girls yet what I read below is very hostile and divisive as we enter this new year.

  • straycat

    They have found the ultimate site to brainwash people! Not my March