How Trump Is Showing The Left That It's Strong

by Lani Seelinger
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I went to my first-ever Democrats Abroad meeting yesterday evening, a letter-writing event at an Irish pub. The head of the chapter said that usually about 10 people show up, but this time, 40 came. This is just a tiny example of how this presidency is raising up strong political forces — and if you look to the country's recent history, there's a good chance that these forces won't be backing down anytime soon.

When Donald Trump first won the election, people were afraid of what his administration would bring, sad that the country had made this choice, angry that his lie- and hate-filled message had won so many people over. As so many have said before: These aren't normal times.

And yet, it's getting to the point where the din created by the people saying that nothing about this is normal, the people fighting against this huge disruption of normalcy, is actually loud enough to make a difference.

While it's still too early to tell, there are signs suggesting that the left might be taking cues from the Tea Party, which basically came up out of nowhere and grabbed headlines and power within Obama's first term in office. People aren't taking this sitting down — they're calling their congressmen and women in such numbers that the offices just aren't prepared to receive all of them. They're showing up to in-person events in such large crowds that the events have to be moved in order to accommodate them.

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All of this is happening for a simple reason. People are taking that rage, sadness, and fear and channeling them into action. The rage becomes determination; the sadness becomes compassion; the fear becomes confidence.

Take the Women's March, which was many times bigger than expected, and which is now transitioning into a sustained campaign. Take the airport protests against Trump's refugee ban, which grew up spontaneously and immediately to protect the vulnerable individuals who needed it. Take the massively popular desire across the left to block Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at all costs, a move that would be totally atypical of Democrats but that they would now be risking their positions to object to.

None of these actions or desires is happening in a void. They're reverberating, gaining momentum from each other, and ultimately encouraging more and more people to join. It's visible in D.C., with things like the Greenpeace "RESIST" banner. You can see it in London, where people are organizing a huge protest to urge their politicians to block a Trump state visit. I witnessed it myself in an expat pub in Prague, Czech Republic, where I sat at a table with a secular, environmentalist, lesbian retiree from California who was watching from afar as the new administration took aim, she said, at everything she held dear.

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At our little gathering, the attendance was 400 percent greater than normal. That's no exaggeration, although the numbers still weren't that big. But a 400 percent growth rate in resistance spread across the country and the world? Now those are some serious numbers.

Progressives across the country, suddenly, are realizing their own strength and beginning to flex their muscles. They recognize that it's serious, and they recognize that the fight is necessary. And if this political movement continues to grow, then just look at recent history — it's bound to start seeing results.