AS I WRITE this column, the Women’s March on Washington is in full swing. Tens of thousands of women from all corners of America join hands and hearts to draw attention to the dangers of the Trump presidency. I was drawn to a statement by one of the speakers, African American activist Tamika Mallory, who declared that the event was not a concert but “an act of resistance.”
That is a most significant statement largely because it contradicts the other impulse emanating from the American establishment, including the media, which calls for a normalization of the phenomenon that Donald Trump brings to the presidency.
What bothers me with the discourse in America at this juncture is the attempt to place resistance outside of American tradition. Resistance to Trump and all that he represents is articulated as a challenge to America’s stability and the legitimacy of the State. Resistance is, therefore, being de-normalized and criminalized.
When Congressman John Lewis said what most Americans know to be true—that Trump is not a legitimate president—he was registering an act of resistance. Many, including some of his allies, sought to place his statement outside of the mainstream. They focused on Trump’s nasty tweet but ignored the morality of Lewis’ statement. An electoral victory does not necessarily amount to legitimacy.
It is certainly gratifying to see that the American people are not allowing themselves to be bullied into giving up the weapon of resistance. In the end, that’s all that defenseless people have. Tyranny thrives in the absence of resistance. And any society that subdues resistance is in the end a dead society. Resistance asks questions and rebukes power. It is the conscience and the soul of a society; it must never be surrendered.
Of course, resistance flourishes most in the face of tyranny or the threat of tyranny. But we make a mistake to wait until tyranny is at the door or is with us before we resist. Resistance must be constant; it must serve as a constant deterrent to tyranny. Perhaps, had more Americans been in resistance mode, Donald Trump may not have been president today. It’s a bitter lesson to learn.
Resistance should not be confined to the opposition. In other words, we must strive not to fall into the trap of resisting when our party is in opposition and becoming silent when it assumes power. In doing so we give up a treasured value to others. We must learn how to support and resist simultaneously. In countries such as ours, that practice is most necessary largely because our governments tend to take support for granted.
The AFC Leadership Issue
Personally, I am not a big fan of Term Limits; I don’t think it achieves much beyond maybe preventing a tyrant from holding on to power indefinitely. So, I do not think it is such a big deal that the AFC leaders want to serve beyond two terms.
There are the letter and the spirit of constitutions and sometimes the two are at odds. In the case of the AFC constitution, the spirit seems to be against more than two terms, but the letter is vague.
My view is that if the AFC membership wants them to run again, then that is what really matters. If that is the case they may probably have to amend the constitution before the election. I don’t know the process by which that is done.
The one big problem for the AFC leaders, however, is that they would be open to criticism that they oppose a third term for Jagdeo, while they go against their own constitution in wanting third terms for themselves. There is some inconsistency there, but I don’t think politicians pay attention to such things.
More of Dr. Hinds ‘writings and commentaries can be found on his YouTube Channel Hinds’ Sight: Dr. David Hinds’ Guyana-Caribbean Politics and on his website www.guyanacaribbeanpolitics.com. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org