.. Unlike the Tea Party, which was born after President Barack Obama’s inauguration and which spawned a proliferation of well-funded, loosely affiliated right-wing groups determined to hijack the Republican Party and push it further to the right, the only common denominator for “the resistance” today is a commitment to resisting Donald Trump — the man, not necessarily his mission... The writer was quick to clarify that he or she was not part of the “‘resistance’ of the left.” Quite to the contrary, the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, the expansion of the military-industrial complex and, by extension, the slashing of vital social services were not only fine by him or her but a cause for celebration.
One might argue that the big tent of “the resistance” is its greatest strength: A massive united front becomes possible when the barrier to entry is so low. If you’re revolted by Trump’s tweets and feel terrified by his access to the nuclear codes, you too can join the resistance.
.. Resistance is a reactive state of mind. While it can be necessary for survival and to prevent catastrophic harm, it can also tempt us to set our sights too low and to restrict our field of vision to the next election cycle
.. Viewed from the broad sweep of history, Donald Trump is the resistance. We are not.
.. the long, continuous yearning and reaching toward freedom flows throughout history “like a river, sometimes powerful, tumultuous, and roiling with life; at other times meandering and turgid, covered with the ice and snow of seemingly endless winters, all too often streaked and running with blood.”
.. Harding was speaking about black movements for liberation in America, but the metaphor applies equally well to the global struggle for human dignity and freedom.
The Guatemalan mother desperately fleeing poverty and violence in her home country stands at the border, young child in her arms, yearning for freedom no less than the American mother hundreds of miles away who puts her hands to the plexiglass in a prison visiting room, desperate to hug her child who sits quietly on the other side.
The movements that have arisen to honor the dignity of both women — movements to end mass incarceration and mass deportation — are separate streams feeding the same river.
.. Donald Trump’s election represents a surge of resistance to this rapidly swelling river, an effort to build not just a wall but a dam. A new nation is struggling to be born, a multiracial, multiethnic, multifaith, egalitarian democracy in which every life and every voice truly matters.
.. Confederate statues are coming down as new memorials and statutes are going up in Montgomery, Ala.
.. For many, the election of Barack Obama to the presidency symbolized the imminent birth of this new America, and many whites feared their privileged status, identity and way of life would die in the transition. The reaction was swift and fierce. It shouldn’t have been surprising.
.. As the historian Carol Anderson documented in “White Rage,” every single advance toward racial justice in this country has been met with virulent, often violent, resistance.
.. Every leap forward for American democracy — from slavery’s abolition to women’s suffrage to minimum-wage laws to the Civil Rights Acts to gay marriage — has been traceable to the revolutionary river, not the resistance.
.. In fact, the whole of American history can be described as a struggle between those who truly embraced the revolutionary idea of freedom, equality and justice for all and those who resisted.
.. There’s a reason marchers in the black freedom struggle sang “We Shall Overcome” rather than chanting “We Shall Resist.”
.. Similarly, those who opposed slavery didn’t view themselves as resisters; they were abolitionists.
Foner gives the South’s greatest Civil War general his due in terms of character and personal rectitude. He reports that the young Lee, at West Point, never got any disciplinary demerits, “an almost impossible feat.” The general, writes Foner, “always prided himself on following the strict moral code of a gentleman.”
.. He merely predicts that future historians won’t likely return Lee to his pedestal, “metaphorically speaking.”
.. That’s because it’s all about power. As Foner wrote in another Times piece in August, “Historical monuments are, among other things, an expression of power—an indication of who has the power to choose how history is remembered in public places.”
.. Between the Civil War’s end and the 1890s, Lee’s image as an American went from his being “the embodiment of the Southern cause” to his becoming a “national hero.”
.. Historians such as W. A. Dunning and Claude Bowers argued that the harsh Reconstruction policies of congressional “Radical Republicans” delayed the sectional healing needed to bring the country back together. According to that argument, it kept the prostrate South at the mercy of freed blacks and Northern carpetbaggers, whose political machinations were designed to keep the old white planter class out of the power equation.
.. In short, they have not turned history on its head, but rather, they recognized that much of what Dunning’s disciples have said about reconstruction is true.”
In other words, it was complicated.
They were also taking history classes. Joseph Stalin, the Soviet leader who killed millions of Soviet citizens, was remembered fondly.
“Whatever your view of Stalin, you can’t deny that he was a strong leader,” a counselor told me later over steaming bowls of cabbage soup. “Stalin won the war. He made it possible for us to go to space. You can’t just throw out a person like that from history.”
.. “In most countries you are more likely to get evasion and nationalistic versions of history than tough grappling with the darker parts of your past, and the U.S. is no exception,” said Gary Bass, a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton.
.. “The whole notion of honoring the Confederacy and the sacrifice that your family made became part of what we taught in the schools,” said Charles Dew, a Williams College historian
.. Some audiences pushed back, saying, “My family did not own slaves, so how could they have been fighting for slavery
.. In Russia, people choked on memory. As the Soviet Union was falling, the sins of the past flooded the present. Newspapers wrote about Soviet repressions. Researchers began documenting political killings. All this, as Russians were losing their jobs, their savings, their respect in the world and their dignity. They could not afford to lose their past. So Stalin became the man who led the Soviet Union to victory in World War II and industrialized a peasant nation.
He cited as an example a request that Mr. McConnell once made of Mr. Trump to stop talking about “draining the swamp.”
.. Mr. Bannon predicted deep division within the Republican Party over Mr. Trump’s recent move to end the program that provided temporary relief from deportation for hundreds of thousands of young people in the United States illegally. The president set a March end date for the program and asked Congress to come up with a solution in the meantime, a task that Mr. Bannon said could split Republicans and cost them their House majority in the 2018 midterm elections.
“If this goes all the way down to its logical conclusion, in February and March it will be a civil war inside the Republican Party,” he said.
.. “The media image, I think, is pretty accurate,” he said. “I’m a street fighter. That’s what I am.”
.. Mr. Bannon also condemned top officials in the George W. Bush administration, calling them “idiots” friendly to what he termed China’s anti-American economic agenda. He singled out Condoleezza Rice and Colin L. Powell, former secretaries of state, and Brent Scowcroft, an adviser to Mr. Bush and his father, as those most worthy of his scorn, criticizing them for China’s 2001 entry into the World Trade Organization.
“They’ve gotten us in this situation, and they question a good man like Donald Trump,” he said. “I hold these people in contempt, total and complete contempt.”
.. Mr. Bannon also attacked Gary D. Cohn, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser, who publicly criticized the president’s comments about Charlottesville. “If you don’t like what he’s doing and you don’t agree with it, you have an obligation to resign,” Mr. Bannon said. “You can tell him, ‘Hey, maybe you can do it a better way.’ But if you’re going to break, then resign.”