How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause? Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?
These were the last words spoken by Sophie Scholl seventy-five years ago this past Thursday. Scholl was twenty-one and had joined with five friends to form the White Rose, a student passive-resistance movement against the Third Reich. They had distributed anti-Nazi pamphlets at their university in Munich. After the sixth one was published they were caught and, four days later, tried and executed.
We should not take the word “Resistance” lightly. Though perhaps none of us expected it, we’re plunged again into a fierce battle for the fate of humanity. We may have grown up thanking our parents or grandparents for “making the world safe for democracy” but now we realize that we must, every generation, repeat that task anew. Our forebears, then, are not just those who fought fascism as Allies, but also those who resisted it from within, for their fight has become ours.
That fight has been taken up by the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School with strength, wit and resolve. This week they confronted politicians and sparked corporate divestment from giving discounts to the NRA. They had to endure vicious lies and smears from the right and from the NRA. Nevertheless, they persisted.
Through them, let’s be awakened and stirred to action.
The fight is also being waged by Robert Mueller and his team, as they brought new indictments against Paul Manafort and flipped his associate Rick Gates. Trump continues to bray “no collusion” and to blame anyone but Russia, but Mueller’s work is methodical, comprehensive, continually surprising and relentless. Also this week, the House Intelligence Committee Democrats released their rebuttal to the Nunes “memo”, revealing it to be the Big Lie it had always appeared, without substance or merit.
Mueller and Schiff are fighting for us, but we can’t rely on them alone to save our country. Joining them, let us awake and be stirred to action.
Jared Kushner has failed in the last year to get his security clearance, apparently because he kept omitting things from his application. Yet he continues to receive they most sensitive intelligence and asks for more of it than anyone outside the National Security Council. He’s also continues to be in financial trouble, having bought a Manhattan office building, 666 Fifth Avenue, at the height of the bubble. He is an enormous security risk – after all, he’s the one who wanted to set up a “secret back channel” with Russia. John Kelly still hasn’t revoked his security clearance.
Kushner, in his position only through nepotism, is placing our country in danger. Let this stir us to action.
And in other news:
- The Affordable Care Act continues to be under attack, by the state of Idaho as it plans to ignore the law, daring the federal government to enforce it, and by the Department of Health and Human Services, which is clearing the way for skimpy plans to be offered, plans which will not cover pre-existing conditions and which will therefore pull members out of full-coverage plans, thereby undermining them.
- The right’s coordinated fight against public-sector unions continues as the Supreme Court takes up a case that challenges the unions’ right to collect fees from members.
- Although there weren’t headline events, we must note that climate change continues to grow worse and species continue to move towards collapse. Resisting authoritarianism is essential, but it won’t be enough. In addition to saving democracy, we need to save the planet.
After Sophie Scholl and her comrades were executed, the White Rose’s final pamphlet was smuggled out of Germany and found its way to England, where it was reprinted by the millions and air-dropped by the Allies over Germany. A number of films have been made about her and she continues to be a beacon for our time.
As we continue the work of the Resistance, may Sophie’s sacrifice matter to all of us – may it continue to awaken us and to stir us to action.
A reminder: a key resource for tracking all the abnormal events from the past week of the Trump presidency is Amy Siskind’s Weekly List: theweeklylist.org.
Before the disaster of the 2016 election we could follow the events that affected our lives by checking the news or seeing occasional posts on Facebook. Since then, with Trump’s erratic, aggressive and autocratic behavior and the Republicans’ unceasing attacks on our government and their efforts to transfer ever more money from working Americans to the rich, it has become much more difficult – and more important – to find our way through the weekly onslaught of news. To get ourselves grounded in the facts and to prepare for the week of action ahead, here’s a summary of critical events to help us cut through the distractions and stay focused and informed as we fight to preserve our democracy.