This could well be a defining political moment for the country. But only if the movement and its leaders — writ large and embracing big tent politics — respond immediately to what is a political crisis. At the core of any response to Trump’s embrace of the “fine people,” who espouse white supremacy, anti-semitism, and nazism and itch for violent confrontations, is, I would argue, collective, non-violent, and massive actions in their many forms — including and especially in the streets of Washington. The demand should be unequivocal: Trump is unfit for his office and should resign immediately.
Moreover, a counter narrative and vision should be offered that is rooted in the best traditions of our country.
The history of Germany in the 1920s and early 1930s records moments when a small circle mentality, the politics of purity, narrow tactics (eg. street fighting between Nazis and Communists that were followed by Hitler’s law and order appeals), and inaction at crucial turning points unintentionally facilitated the rise and consolidation of Hitler and the Nazis. I am confident that leaders of the larger peoples movement here won’t make those mistakes, but instead will appeal to us to join them in the public square where public opinion and the politics and fate of the country will be shaped in no small measure.