In the dark days of the Civil War, when the outcome was in doubt, Grant was pushing South with his armies and his generals, facing Robert E. Lee, a general commanding an army which seemed to never blink, never lose, despite all odds against them.
|Attack. Do not worry about what your opponent will do.|
As is true today, people on the right side of history expressed fear and dismay, and these were commanders fighting armies of slavery, racism, dedicated to inequality and aristocratic rule. And yet these righteous warriors expressed fear of failure; they were daunted by the victories of their opponent.
Grant told them:
"Oh, I am heartily tired of hearing about what Lee is going to do. Some of you always seem to think he is suddenly going to turn a double somersault, and land in our rear and on both of our flanks at the same time. Go back to your command, and try to think what we are going to do ourselves, instead of what Lee is going to do."
And this is what I feel like roaring, every time I read an article in the New York Times or on Huff Post about what Donald Trump has done, or will do, how he's appointed a destroyer to each Department he seeks to undo, at Health and Human Services, HUD, Energy and the EPA.
Let us now dedicate ourselves and highly resolve to stop worrying about what Trump is going to do to us, but let us think about what we are going to do to him and to all those who sail with him.
For starters, let us simply speak the truth to our neighbors, in letters at every opportunity, to say, "You know, Dr. Ben Carson is clearly in the early stages of Alzheimer's and Trump has appointed him to wreck HUD by simple incompetence. And if he does this,and if public housing in New York City collapses and 700,000 people in Public Housing find themselves homeless, then it is Trump voters who have done this. This is a population the size of Boston. Is this what you voted for?"
|I will make the people of Georgia howl.|
Let us not worry about documenting, building a case, fact checking. Let us simply set aside the things we learned in school about argument and as we face new challenges, so we must think anew about how to respond.
Simply state the truth as we see it: Mr. Price wants to kill Medicare and Social Security. Trump promised not to do this but he has spoken with this decision to put Price in charge with a clarity nobody can doubt. The Republicans tried to murder Medicare in its cradle and now they are trying stiil.
|With our backs against the wall: Our finest hour.|
If fighting this new administration requires lawyers, then let us lawyer up. If it requires demonstrations, then let us demonstrate. If it requires making movies or TV dramas or puppet shows or youtube videos, let us do that. If it requires protest songs, let us write, disseminate and sing those.
We may not win immediately. It may take time to prevail, but let us take the first steps.
But let us not quake and quail. Let us fight them on the beaches. Let us fight them in the fields, but while there is a single one of us left, the righteous and the true left, never surrender.