Inaugurating the Majori-Tea Party
By Rob Okun,
“We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must pledge we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back.”
—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
We marched in all 50 states. Several of the largest demonstrations were in the hundreds of thousands. In total, millions of us here and abroad banded together to speak out for women’s rights, immigrants’ rights, LGBTQ rights; action on climate change, health care, and more. We are the majority.
Our list of issues is as diverse as we are: young and old; black, white and brown; gay, straight and transgender. Many roads, one path: We are the majority.
From the moment the first pundits began questioning whether marchers would go home or evolve into a movement—as the Tea Party did following the election of Barack Obama—I found myself talking back to the television screen—”Of course we will; we already have.” We are the majority.
We will resist any and all assaults on democracy with all our heart and with all our might. Even as the majority of the country believes he is unqualified to serve as commander-in-chief—whether because of the antiquated Electoral College, voter suppression, a historic 2.9 million more citizens voting for his chief opponent, Russian interference—there is a simultaneous truth at play: Mr. Trump is in the White House and, in the words of Georgia Congressmember John Lewis, he is an “illegitimate” president. We are the majority.
Mark it down: January 21st was the official launch of the Majori-Tea Party. We are working at the grassroots level and in the halls of Congress; in our town and city halls, and in our state houses. One hundred days of resistance is only a beginning; we will resist every day of the 1460 days in Mr. Trump’s term (if he makes it through four years.) We are the majority.
Our movement was in place long before the election. But since November 9, around the country affinity groups, political initiatives, and organizing campaigns have sprung up. The White House, Congress, corporations and the media take note: millions of people are mobilizing, speaking out against the agenda Donald Trump has pledged to enact. His divisiveness unite us; his mean-spirited inflames us. Our solidarity inspires us. We are the majority.
Less than 24 hours after being sworn in as president, Mr. Trump’s dark “American First” inaugural message was being roundly repudiated. He personifies the worst aspects of human behavior, particularly, sadly, the behavior of too many men: bigoted, misogynist, racist, Islamophobic xenophobic. At the 650-plus marches around the country and the world, negative commentary about him was far less prevalent than were expressions of empathy, kindness, and support for the most vulnerable members of society. We are the majority.
There was an implicit affirmation of the spiritual politics the indigenous waters protectors at Standing Rock embody—connection, sacredness, nonviolence, and compassion. The Majori-Tea Party will be stronger if it continues to learn from and seek guidance from the people at Standing Rock. They can inspire us to find the courage to stretch past our comfort zones and stand up for justice. We are the majority.
Where do we go from here?
In every corner of the country members of the Majori-Tea Party have formed or are forming affinity groups to address a myriad of issues. An incomplete list would include: dialoguing with those with a different world view; working to protect women’s reproductive rights; being an active bystander to challenge hate; learning about and employing direct action—including civil disobedience—to effect change; running for office; working on congressional redistricting in 2020; joining groups challenging racism; supporting immigrants; and advocating for a healthy environment, including working to prevent the Keystone and Dakota access pipelines.
In the months ahead, many of Mr. Trump’s supporters will discover that they were misled—that coal-mining jobs will not be coming back, for example. When they see they’ve been conned, we need to be ready to reach out to those citizens who voted against their own self-interest. Part of our work will be to support them.
Central to the Majori-Tea Party must be repairing our frail spiritual and political infrastructure, essential work if we are to build bridges of connection sturdy enough to hold us all.
Rob Okun, syndicated by PeaceVoice, is editor of Voice Male. A new edition of his book, Voice Male – The Untold Story of the Profeminist Men’s Movement will be published this year.