I find great inspiration in Akuno’s ideas, and find them an excellent counterpoint to the idea of “not normalizing” Trump. The reality is that we always normalize everything – read the accounts of survivors of the Nazi concentration camps or Americans tortured for years in the country’s solitary confinement wings and you’ll find that, to a one, their terrible situations become normal. All constant stimulus fades to a background refrigerator hum that we can only notice when it ceases.
But Akuno is talking about normalizing resistance, becoming habitual monkeywrenchers and refuseniks, people whose first response to any trumpist outrage is “no way,” and whose fallback position is “hell no.”
My great aunt Lisa was an engineering foreman in Leningrad during the Soviet era, bossing a crew of surly, drunk, ungovernable men. Her stories about how these men featherbedded, foot-dragged, monkeywrenched and twiddled their days away were always told with a mixture of frustration (at the way they made her life difficult) and admiration (at how good they were at it).
From the Department of Energy bureaucrats who refused to turn over the names of workers who believe in climate change to the California lawmakers pledging to use state apparatus to replace anything Trump removes (up to and including climate-observing satellites), the next four years will require all of us, at every level to do our bit to make trumpism stumble and to nurture the spark of hope for a better world.