#TheIdesOfTrump, the problem with #resist and why persistence is more important

We are a heavily divided country. End of sentence.

Many of us feel left behind. Millions of people have turned out for demonstrations. Usually quiet town hall meetings this past recess saw people get left out because fire marshals were concerned about occupancies. Some representatives simply didn't have them; some of their constituents held town halls anyway and brought cardboard cutouts of their elected officials.

Tomorrow marks the Ides of March, the day immortalized as a day of which to be wary thanks to the murder of Julius Caesar.

It also marks a day on which many people will send postcards to the president — liberals to send negative messages and conservatives to send messages of support to counter what those on the left are calling #TheIdesOfTrump.

I'll keep the more amusing details of how I think this plays out to myself, but I think the larger result is the recycling pickup at the White House next week is going to be somewhat heavier than usual.

Before you drop me in a corner here, I want to remind you where I stand. As an American, if President Trump succeeds in improving education and trade and international relations and community relations, I succeed. I'm rooting for him.

I'm just not optimistic.

Don't point to the stock market, please. It works independently of the president, and consistently works its way up. We're in the midst of the longest bull market ever (eight years). Pundits who are crediting President Trump for the growth since the election didn't give President Obama any credit for the previous seven and a half years of steady growth; markets aren't partisan — they just grow. At some point we'll have a bear market for a little while. Every single bear market in US history has been followed by a bull within a year, with the one exception being the Great Depression (and technically, they called that a crash, not a bear).

Here's the problem with the liberal side of this postcard campaign: It takes up the battle cry #resist.

A couple of years ago, when it was announced that no charges would be brought against police in Ferguson, Mo., and the city went crazy, I wrote of police who came with armored vehicles and riot gear:

I understand you prepare for the worst-case scenario, not the best, but if you don't appear ready for the best-case, you're never going to get it.

I feel like that's what the left is doing with #resist. Says the dictionary of resist: "to withstand, strive against, or oppose; to make a stand or make efforts in opposition; act in opposition; offer resistance."

This is different from debate, persuade, seek to change or even to work within the bounds of constitutional process. It's to set up a physical opposition, not a political one. It's a very aggressive message to send, and not one that invites discussion.

There are hundreds of #resist meetups that have popped up around the US (and also elsewhere in the world). The conversation is not civil. It's mostly a lot of shouted threats, again, not at all like discussion.

Aggressors rarely come out on top without a strong show of actual force, and liberals are going to have to decide if they're liberals in the way of George Washington and Fidel Castro, ready to pick up arms and overthrow their government, or progressives in the way of Mahatma Gandhi and Ram Dass, willing to fight with their brains and their mouths for what's right and not quitting until they get it.

If it's the latter, get on the phone with your elected representatives. Show them the numbers. If Medicaid is shut down in 2020 and your parents won't be able to get health care because simply being 72 years old is a preexisting condition and your $100,000-a-year CFO salary belongs to the hospital after three nights recovering from a fall, they need to know.

If your kid's public school can't afford a new roof after 30 years because half the federal aid that would have gone to that school is going to a private school down the street, they need to know.

If the NEA disappears and all the museums in your city that might have inspired children to be artists and archaeologists and historians have to close and those kids wind up in gangs because that's the only way they've ever seen to break the cycle of poverty, your representatives need to know.

If you're worried because the administration is purposefully lying to media to keep the public in the dark as to what's really going on in the world, your representatives need to know.

I'm not saying roll over for your government — for sure, always stay vigilant — but understand when you meet fire with fire you get a bigger fire. When you meet fire with water, you get relief.

Here's how to contact your elected representatives. Don't give up until you feel you've been heard (be polite to staffers; they can pass along your message or not).

We can be resistant, or we can be persistent. We can't be both.

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