In Western Massachusetts, between 1786-1787, bankrupt farmers began a protest against the government. It quickly escalated to the farmers taking up arms and became known as Shays Rebellion (after farmer and organizer, Daniel Shays) to oppose rising debt and taxes. In a fledgling nation, relatively fresh from conflict, it seemed another full-scale war would break out. The nation employed General Benjamin Lincoln and mustered the militia. After a final battle in Sheffield, MA., there was a general pardon for all but 18 protestors who were indicted.
During this time, Thomas Jefferson had been appointed to travel to France where he learned of the Rebellion via letters from John Adams and his wife Abigail. In a letter responding to Abigail Adams on February 22, 1787, regarding the insurgency, he wrote,
The spirit of resistance to government is so valuable on certain occasions, that I wish it to be always kept alive. It will often be exercised when wrong, but better so than not to be exercised at all. I like a little rebellion now and then. It is like a storm in the atmosphere.
As we are witnessing in our time, there is a spirit of resistance to the government. The election of 2016 has proved to be pivotal in the collective conscience of America. At some point during the campaign, or for some, it wasn’t until election night, it became clear that Donald Trump would be the next President of the United States. As soon as that became apparent, the resistance to the Trump presidency began. And it continues.
At every turn, it seems that there is something new to resist. Not only President Trump’s ill-mannered treatment of our foreign allies, but his domestic missteps and seemingly permanent estrangement with the truth, has further alienated even those who were willing to give him a fair chance. His approval rating is now at the lowest ever for a president in the first one hundred days at 36% and he is plagued with a constant barrage of new allegations of corruption and cover-ups. Largely of his own making and the ineptness of his staff. We have yet to get any clear information or explanation on the following:
- Mr. Trump’s taxes
- Mr. Trump’s ties to Russia
- Mr. Trump’s inner circle’s ties to Russia
- His intentions on how to pay for his “Great Wall”
- His nepotism regarding Ivanka and Jared
- Why is the First Lady not a resident in the White House
- Mr. Trump’s plans for healthcare
- His foreign policy~Does he have one?
- Disclosure regarding his business holdings/profiteering from his position
- Immigration plan~Is there a plan or just failing EOs?
- Address his golfing addiction on the taxpayer’s dime
And one final issue that most people would like to know: Why does the president feel the need to perpetuate one falsehood after another? And there are many more questions that remain either unanswered or have been obfuscated or convoluted to the point of frustrated abandonment.
This is why there is so much resistance. It is human nature to reject or resist that which is not understood or which is feared. In the case of President Trump, the public largely does not know from one day to the next what to expect from him or his administration. This promotes a stunning lack of trust in anything he says or does. Combined with the constant contradictions not only from his staff, but even with what he himself has said, the urge to resist everything is natural and strong. Whether, as Jefferson says, it is being exercised wrongly or not is of little importance anymore. The President and his people have continually brought on more and more suspicion and distrust and now the resistance is theirs to own.
This “storm in the atmosphere” is not going to dissipate anytime soon. The clouds are going to be with us likely for the duration of this administration. And what is at stake is the overall psychological and political welfare of our nation. The resistance to his chaotic and haphazard style of governance is causing a gridlock outside of the normal partisan boundaries. This is an unprecedented mistrust from both sides of the aisle. People of all political, economical, religious, and philosophical persuasion object to his tactics and it will bring our Republic to its knees. As the saying goes, this can’t end well. At least not for Mr. Trump and his people.
However, the country will survive. America is stronger than just one man, just one President, just one term of mayhem. What is important to remember is that Donald Trump is not America. America is her people. US. We will be here long after Mr. Trump has left the White House. The great politician and speaker Henry Clay said,
We have had good and bad Presidents, and it is a consoling reflection that the American Nation possesses such elements of prosperity that the bad Presidents cannot destroy it, and have been able to do no more than slightly to retard the public’s advancement.
So, we may not be able to move forward as a nation and our personal agendas and hopes may not be realized during this administration, but, don’t be afraid to resist. Just don’t give in to despair. This is but a moment in time in our history and it too will pass. Know that our Constitution will endure and America is stronger than just one man. We are many. He is one.
We can resist, we can endure, and we can be stronger and more united. No President can strengthen and unite us. No one man can possibly bridge the huge divide and mend the terrible rift. This is something only We, the People, can do. We can…and we must.