Acts of resistance


So I had the Trump chat with my daughter last night. It’s a useful way to frame your own reaction, as you have to balance the anger, depression and anxiety with some practicality and hope. She wanted to know what she could do, and I explained that one thing to remember is that time and demographics are against the Alt-right world order. In 10 years time Brexit or Trump would not have been successful (probably). And also their own incompetence and failure to deliver on their vague promises will be their undoing. So just getting through the next 5-10 years is a strategy in itself. In our discussion (it was actually more her analysis than mine) we thought of it in terms of resistance:

  • Staying healthy is an act of resistance – whatever you need to do to get through it is fine. There is no one way to do this, but being there when the chance for the backlash comes is important. We are those demographics.
  • Being kind is an act of resistance – these politics are based largely in hate, fear and paranoia. Kindness sounds weak but it requires strength.
  • Encouraging diversity is an act of resistance – the people who voted for Trump are the ones who think a remake of Ghostbusters with all women leads destroys their childhood. Fuck them, let’s see more of this everywhere.
  • Supporting others is an act of resistance – there are others who will be affected more adversely, and whatever we can do to support those helps, be it marches, donations, speaking up.
  • Education is an act of resistance – the Trump campaign declares open hostility to knowledge and expertise. Combatting this attitude itself negates their appeal.

That’s all I’ve got for now. Take care.


    • admin

      Hi Ben, I’m less convinced of this. It always seems the duty of the left to seek to understand and empathise whereas those on the right just taunt and say, get over it. Given the demographic shift the onus will be on them to understand. I don’t want to have common ground with racists, sexist, homophobes

  • Rebecca

    I love the “act of resistance” language. I found myself reflecting on what I personally can do, and what I can do as an educator in this space. I can make time in my classes to have discussions about critical pedagogy – and require those discussion – that is my act of resistance. As a Canadian living in the US I need to be careful. I cannot participate in protests. I need to keep my physical distance. But in my classroom, I can make education an act of resistance.

    • admin

      Hi Rebecca, hope you’re doing ok. Yes, we have to be careful also, the first act if resistance is survival (and by that I mean in a physically and mentally healthy state)

  • autumm

    This has been on my mind a lot – what do we DO!

    This is a wonderful list – big thanks to you and your daughter

    Can I add one? Make, support, and take in more art. Visual art, music, dance, performance, writing, cooking, graphic arts, photography, sculpture… name your bag… create it, watch it, read it, taste it, smell it, look at it, donate to it, sing it…. Talk to those that create it, be inspired, speak out, have a voice in many mediums.

    • admin

      Hi Autumm, I hope you’re doing ok. Your addition is an excellent one – coincidentally after writing this post I went to a gig with my daughter and it was great to see people dancing and enjoying being together, so I totally agree with your suggestion. It reminds us what it means to be human.

  • Martyn Cooper

    I had a similar conversation with my son this week. He is 22 now so this was part of the process of building our relationship on an adult to adult basis. It was good to hear from him his thoughts and reading about how we develop our political perspectives. He is planning extended travel in South and Central America next year finishing visiting the USA. I look forward to learning something from him what he learns from this. I take a lot of hope from the next generation.

  • Paul Richardson

    Thanks, Martin. The saddest part of this for me is that we seem to be back in a place we should have left behind for good, decades ago. Well, that was the idea, wasn’t it? What else were the UN and the EU for? On reflection, that was a bit optimistic, or even naïve. You are right – it’s time to get back to core values and see what’s really important, and make those things real. Of itself, that already constitutes resistance. I like your list of actions – I will share this with my daughter, too.

  • lornamcampbell

    Hi Martin, belated thanks for this post. I had the “Trump chat” with my daughter before she went to school last Wednesday morning. I gave her a big hug and told her that the reason she is so important is that she is part of the next generation and that they can learn from our mistakes and they can learn to change things. She looked at me and said “but I’m just one ordinary girl!” (She’s only ten) So I said “yes, and that’s why ordinary people are so important.” She asked me what she should do and all I could tell her was just to be kind to everyone she met that day. Small acts of resistance.

  • katherinehinchey

    Here in the US, generations of children watched Mr. Rogers Neighborhood, a children’s show on the public broadcasting channel that was geared to help children learn and make sense of the world around them. Mr. Rogers once gave great advice to parents, suggesting that they remind children to look for helpers when witnessing scary events. Not bad advice for all of us — look for helpers, and be a helper that children can witness. Here’s more about his advice for tragic events: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-LGHtc_D328 and http://www.fredrogers.org/parents/special-challenges/tragic-events.php.

  • Matthew Shorter

    Great post. I had the chat with my unusually politically aware ten-year old the morning after. As I was verging on the platitudinous – ‘don’t worry – bad things happen, but we will be all right…’, he blew me away by asking (in an innocent, ten-year old rather than a confrontational adolescent way) ‘but dad, what about the Muslims and the hispanics living in the USA? they’re not going to all right.’ I had to admit he had a point. But we talked a lot about kindness too, and the heightened need for all of us to be the best version of ourselves.

  • John Kirriemuir

    This was, and still is, a good post. Especially the staying healthy part. I’ve just had the worst year for physical health yet; partly because I’m no longer young, or even recently young, but partly as the stress and other negative emotions from politics in 2016 ended up making physical problems seriously worse.

    Ironically, one thing I’ve been doing while waiting for doctors and hospitals and getting better (or trying to) is reading up on why people voted as they did in the US election; before, during and after. The result wasn’t a big surprise, but the reasons were multiple, oft complex and nuanced, and can’t be reduced to a single tweet, nor represented with mathematical certainty. Of the now hundreds of articles I’ve ploughed through, this one in particular rings more true than most and has a lot of (painfully) relevant points:


    Am saying that as someone from a very rural upbringing, who still identifies as rural but chose an academic and liberal path over staying where I was when young for various reasons (such as escaping rural poverty, and enjoying the diversity of cultures and travel). Which basically makes me a rural liberal redneck library-card holder, so everyone treats me with a degree of suspicion 🙂

    Anyway, as you say, stay healthy and frankly that’s the best, core, advice and guidance of all. On to the mid-terms in November 2018 and hopefully, even though we’re up against an increasingly rigged electoral system, there can be more gains than losses.

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