Monday, September 24, 2018
Identifying as resisters has some downsides. Michael Alexander has reframed the discussion to flip our view of what is being resisted and by whom.
Ms. Alexander challenges us to examine what it means to identify as a member of the Resistance. In her NYT op-ed, "We Are Not The Resistance" the author briefly examines the history of the #Resistance movement, noting that while some resistance falls along party lines, other concerns attract a crossover population. Ms. Alexander ponders whether calling those opposed to some of the actions of this administration "the resistance" results in lowered expectations of those who resist.
"Resistance is a reactive state of mind." Alexander notes. "While it can be necessary for survival and to prevent catastrophic harm, it can also tempt us to set our sights too low and to restrict our field of vision to the next election cycle, leading us to forget our ultimate purpose and place in history."
Indeed, when we resist are we asking for a return to the status quo prior to the offensive act? A return to the status quo satisfies very few. The status quo maintains power primarily in the wealthy and the white. Women, people of color and others who historically have been denied political and cultural power are unlikely to support a return to the status quo.
We are at a moment of revolutionary change. We are not the resisters. The President is the resister. We are seeing the last gasp of corrupt systems that empower white men and often only wealthy white white men. If we adopt Ms. Alexander's more optimistic view of our expectations and our place in historical change, we can release ourselves from the exhaustion of resistance and elevate our expectations to creative change toward justice. We free ourselves to disengage resistance and join the energy of revolution.
The op-ed is well-worth reading in full to expand our historical and sociological perspective of the current movements.