Tuesday 15 November 2016

Tyrant-proofing the White House

A prosecutor—and by extention, a tyrant president who directs that prosecutor—can harass or target almost anyone, and he can often do so without violating any law. He doesn’t actually need to indict the person, though that can be fun. He needs only open an investigation; that alone can be ruinous. The standards for doing so, criminal predication, are not high. And the fabric of American federal law—criminal and civil law alike—is so vast that a huge number of people and institutions of consequence are ripe for some sort of meddling from authorities. 
Brookings: Trump and the powers of the American presidency, November 14, 2016 
One thing to consider may be citizens’ capacity to resist and disobey. To what extremes of disobedience and resistant behavior do peaceful Americans know how to go? I would like to find out. I think familiar forms of symbolic resistance will not be enough by themselves. I am thinking of protest and journalism. The ordinary and unromantic and vilified forms of disobedience may be what we will depend upon. Refusal of allegiance. Refusal of participation, at all levels. Not showing up. Leaving key government jobs. Staying in those jobs to slow down or stall illegitimate actions. Daily refusal to go along with orders coming from an illegitimate executive. Refusal of bureaucrats tasked with reporting on citizens to report, if it could put their subjects in jeopardy. Refusal of enforcement agencies to enforce. Refusals and resignations in the armed forces. Refusal of many tasked with cooperating, in the government, to do so.
Insofar as the polity is its citizens and not the State, the most important thing individual Americans can do is to deny shelter, aid, collaboration, agreement, and acceptance of Trump. Not accept, not adjust, not adapt, not appease, not conciliate. There is something sinister in the media’s “ten-step plans” to adjust to a Trump President-elect, as if this were a personal upset needing therapy rather than a question of the political system. 
n+1: No President, November 12, 2016

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