“Resistance,” It Is Not

“What do you think of Trump?”

I’m asked that occasionally by Europeans (although not normally out of the blue; but rather after we have gotten to know each other somewhat).

My reply usually boils down to something along the lines of… “I’m underwhelmed by him”… to say the least.

That said, mostly I prefer to keep my partisan political opinions to myself. However, I wanted to address this even more bluntly than before because we are seeing a relentless and insensitive effort from some at historical hijacking. Evidently this needs to be pointed out in no uncertain terms…

To be clear: the words “resistance”/”resist” do NOT describe the exercising of our US constitutionally-protected right to offer contrary opinions about policies pushed by the current US president and his administration – and not even if we bravely choose to do so by employing the sorts of elevated rhetoric worthy of Lincoln and FDR vulgarities and obscenities one might expect to hear from a vocabulary-challenged teenager.

“Resistance”/”Resist” properly best describes, should immediately evoke in our minds when we hear the words, and should remain SYNONYMOUS with, first and foremost, Lidice (1942), Warsaw (1943 and 1944), Oradour-sur-Glane (1944), and so many elsewheres: the RESISTANCE of 1933-1945:

Because words and their meanings matter. They matter a great deal. And should.

I’m absolutely disgusted by social media images of my well-fed, well-dressed, iPhone-carrying countrymen laughing in the streets with their children while waving hashtag-emblazoned placards demanding β€œ#ResistTrump.” Ignorance is bad enough. But these are (supposedly) highly-educated people who should damn well know better.

If Democrats can get their act together and settle on a viable candidate to challenge him, one President Donald J. Trump can be defeated at the polls in 2020 and sent packing permanently in January 2021. So asserting that chanting at an anti-Trump protest in Lower Manhattan and ranting on Twitter of opposition to his policies is in any way, shape, or form, anywhere near-equivalent to that of the Second World War RESISTANCE movements in occupied Europe, is nothing short of insulting to the memories of, and diminishing of the struggles and sufferings of, those true RESISTANTS. Often they died anonymous deaths inflicted on them in sadistic manners and in the most nightmarish of circumstances imaginable.

At Oradour-sur-Glane, France, a reminder:

The men were led to six barns and sheds, where machine guns were already in place.

According to a survivor’s account, the SS men then began shooting, aiming for their legs. When victims were unable to move, the SS men covered them with fuel and set the barns on fire…

…The SS men next proceeded to the church and placed an incendiary device beside it. When it was ignited, women and children tried to escape through the doors and windows, only to be met with machine-gun fire…

We face that in the US from the Trump administration if we “resist” it, do we?

World War Two is each day naturally receding evermore into history. We were beyond fortunate as Americans that it was not fought in our luckily distant country as it was here in much of Europe. It also appears some Americans are in dire need of a serious refresher of what that often meant:

[Excerpt from Passports. On Kindle for iPad. Click to expand.]

Call this president any name you want on Twitter. Shout to the heavens of how you OPPOSE his politics. Scream yourself hoarse that you’d vote for a doorknob before you’d vote for him. March demanding his impeachment. Write angry emails to your member on Congress. Knock yourself out.

But my fellow Americans who also do not generally support this president’s policies, please STOP with this “resistance” idiocy – because it makes us look like, well, idiots.

[“Necropole de la Resistance.” Resistance cemetery and memorial, Vassieux-en-Vercors, France. Photo by me, 1991.]

Seeing “#RESIST!” and “#TheResistance” and such tossed around for the likes of standing in Times Square yelling “I Hate Trump!” next to smiling New York cops, doesn’t make me feel somehow bigger and more significant. Knowing their World War Two heritage, appropriating those words for that marks us out only as juvenile, blinkered, historical amnesiacs. Cheapening them is nothing to be proud of and should actually lead us to hang our heads in shame and embarrassment, and cause us to feel small, very small indeed.

And for those of you who have chosen not to unfollow me for that post, have a good day, wherever you are in the world.