Moral integrity requires students resist Trump administration
The health of American democracy predicates on our ability to challenge right-wing reactionaries. | Maddi Seyfarth/ THE CHIMES
Blessed are those who are economically marginalized and alienated from the political process, for they will continue to be ignored by our political leaders. The working class has spoken. Donald Trump — a racist, xenophobic and vulgar misogynist businessman — is our current president-elect. We should not succumb to political Stockholm syndrome and deceive ourselves by giving Trump a chance. If we are to uphold the virtues and principles associated with a liberal democracy, Biolans must find a way to heal the broken and constantly challenge the people elected to represent our communities.
A nonviolent rebellion
“Rebellion — which is different from revolution because it is perpetual alienation from power rather than the replacement of one power system with another — should be our natural state,” journalist Chris Hedges states in “Unspeakable: Talks with David Talbot about the Most Forbidden Topics in America.” If we are to challenge concentrations of power and hold authority accountable for their crimes, we as Christians must be willing to rebel in a nonviolent and loving manner. Rebellion does not mean we pick up guns and incite violence and chaos. Some of the greatest modern American rebels — from anti-war activists such as Dan Berrigan to truth-seeking journalists like Robert Scheer — have used their intellectual prowess and deep love for humanity to expose the crimes of the state and fight for the rights of minorities and the downtrodden.
If we are to uphold the virtues of democracy and love of humanity, we are called to rebel against the harmful machinations of political and financial institutions loyal to the next administration. Investigative journalist Nick Turse writes in Jacobin Magazine on how Trump’s foreign policy could be worse than Hillary Clinton’s hawkish stance on geopolitics and international relations. Trump is an individual who has openly advocated the use of torture and bombing to suppress our enemies abroad. The next administration will have full reign of an incredibly dangerous war machine and surveillance apparatus that can easily be used on the American people — severely compromising international law and rights promised to citizens by the American Constitution.
The time is now
We must not waste time in finding ways of resisting Trump and his administration. Our next president has already selected Stephen Bannon — a white supremacist and anti-semite according to the Southern Poverty Law Center and Anti-Defamation League — as his chief strategist. Myron Ebell — who denies the existence of climate change and lacks any scientific credentials — has been tapped to lead the Environmental Protection Agency.
As Christians, we are also called to love our neighbors by first understanding and empathizing with their predicament. The American working class continue to be victims of neoliberal economic policies and multinational corporations. We bailed out Wall Street, but forgot to resuscitate Main Street. In an article published by The Guardian, French economist Thomas Piketty states, “Trump’s victory is primarily due to the explosion in economic and geographic inequality in the United States over several decades and the inability of successive governments to deal with this.”
What students can do
What can we do as students? Sociology majors can use their knowledge and skills to survey the life of working class people living in America’s rust belts and coalfields. Political science majors can run for local office. Journalism majors can expose when power fails to serve the people. Bible majors can give the people hope and provide guidance based on sound theology.
The road ahead of us is long and arduous. As Christians and human beings, we all have the moral responsibility to ensure our neighbors and our communities are protected from hate and avarice.