THE BLOG
12/31/2016 05:24 pm ET Updated Jan 01, 2018

A New Year Requires Resolve

The New York Times editorial board recently wrote, "The forces of disunity are strong, but our job is to make the country less divided than Donald Trump's splintering campaign has left it." I can report that unity-building can do wonders for ourselves and others.

As a social worker, it is my job to help people who have been fractured because of abuse, neglect or misfortune. That we are creatures with minds is evident in our political structures and activities. Aggression, passiveness and assertiveness are also characteristics our leaders mentally struggle with. Our communities need to be as integrated as our minds. A nation can become fractured, as the United States was in the Civil War. It was up to Lincoln to fight, but also to remind us that a house divided against itself cannot stand, that together we stand, divided we fall.

I've written about the perils of tribalism in the past. This political moment will be made more difficult if we splinter off before we can even offer up a sustained, strong resistance. A good strategy is to find what binds us together even more avidly, in order to reinforce our common love of country. We can make mental and physical efforts to do so. To see the United States of America slip into fascist tyranny without a fight would be the greatest tragedy since the fall of the Roman Republic.

In this historical moment, let's not be afraid to praise patriots, whether the service people and intelligence agents of our country, or truly patriotic representatives who are willing to put country over party--and to admire the government when it deserves it. The fake patriotism of the Bush years can develop into real patriotism this year.

Resting, retreating, living to fight another day: these were qualities George Washington employed in the Revolutionary War. Sometimes we will need to wait to see how the data come back from a particular plank of the resistance strategy. Trump, in the end, will probably not change. But it will become infinitely easier to secure the republic if he does. So we must always listen for openings.

But in the main, curbing Trump's worst impulses, policies and moods will require a strenuous exertion of both minds and bodies. We need our brightest people to be engaged in this struggle. We can't have any selling out to the apparent sexiness of cold, uncaring fascism. And we must organize while accepting each other's own view of life. I am not a relativist, morally or philosophically. But I am a holist. I believe there is something immanent in this world that also transcends it. And when we work together, relationships help us in a similar manner. If we are wise enough to know our own limits and occasionally exceed our grasp, it makes it easier for others to do so as well.

Gwendolyn Brooks said, "We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond." Let's work together, and think together, to stop the Trump agenda.