We’re less than two weeks into the presidency of Donald J. Trump, and the citizens are demonstrating, literally and figuratively, the power, greatness and promise of the United States of America.
It began with what’s been called the largest protest ever held on U.S. soil. The Women’s March on Washington spurred similar marches in major cities across the globe. In total, they were estimated to have drawn between 3.3 million and 4.6 million people.
One week later, protesters, independently but unified in belief, gathered at airports from coast to coast to rally against Trump’s travel ban.
The outrage which sparked these and other smaller rallies is valid, and the protests are a hopeful sign of an engaged citizenry.
But the outrage and the protest come with a cost.
Indeed, with 642 days remaining until the next Election Day, and just 12 days into the Trump administration, the risk that is emerging — for the left, one that is potentially far worse than anything that can be perpetrated by President Trump — is one caused by acquiescence.
In short, those who are already outraged may run out of rage.
In addition to the Women’s March and travel ban, opposition to Trump’s policies have aligned around his signal to restart or reauthorize the Dakota Access and Keystone pipelines, some of his cabinet choices, most notably Secretary of Education nominee Betsy DeVos, the renewal of the Mexico City Policy, and others.
But soon to come is a battle over the confirmation of Trump’s choice for the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch, and sometime after that the details over the repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act.
Trump has so far operated at a dizzying pace and with a style best summed up as “attack, counterattack and never apologize.” His modus operandi — best on display during the Republican presidential nominating process, in which he outlasted 16 other contenders — is to win by attrition, to wear out the opposition.
In this light, and amid the din of hyper partisan politics, it remains to be seen how long opposition remains a vibrant force.
Active opposition, as difficult and divisive as it can be, is better than passive opposition, which differs only slightly from passive acceptance.
Authorship of the most American of phrases is in dispute. But the sentiment behind “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty” is not.
America is engaged in politics on a good and healthy level. It needs to remain that way.