Robert Reich warns against passivity

The former Secretary of Labor always writes incisively and convincingly.

The 4 Dangerous Signs of Passivity in the Face of Trump Tyranny alerts us to resist copping out. It’s tempting, of course, to go back to our real lives and hope to wake up in 2020. But that’s not how democracy works.

Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.” Now we need a new category: people that can’t be fooled any of the time!

Here are the 4 temptations Reich warns us against:

1. Normalizer Syndrome.

If you’re reading this blog, you aren’t about to believe that Trump is normal. Some people hoped that as of November 9, he would stop his act and begin sounding like the president of all Americans, like any normal candidate would. We can forget that one now that he is still actively stirring up his followers to persecute his non-admirers and his personal hit lists.

2. Outrage Numbness Syndrome.

OK, that’s a danger: we “shut down emotionally”–we just can’t take any more bad news, like Syria, and gun violence, and poverty. But Trump is in his own class: not just a disaster, but a potential cause of countless other disasters if he isn’t stood up to.

3. Cynical Syndrome.

We just can’t tune out and watch democracy crumble. As Reich says: “You need to wake up. It can get a lot worse.” We don’t know yet where we all are on the hit list, but we’re on it, for sure.

4. Helpless Syndrome.

That’s tempting too. We were helpless to stop him from being elected. Now what can we do? To be continued. But the key is to ask: “Do I see myself as someone who just gives up in the face of adversity?” Probably not.

Above are just our comments. Please read Reich’s post at
The 4 Dangerous Signs of Passivity in the Face of Trump Tyranny. For more background on post-election Trump anxiety syndrome, see David Horsey, “Americans who voted against Trump are feeling unprecedented dread and despair,” LA Times, 12/21/16.

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