The resistance against Donald Trump and everything he represents should have its headquarters in Texas.
We are the largest state in America governed by a Trump-aligned regime. Trump’s government will have the support of the state Capitol as our leaders act to dismantle public education, destroy our social safety net, and tear apart families.
There are many of us in Texas who will likely be their first targets. Our state is home to more refugees and undocumented immigrants than almost anywhere else in the nation. It’s for this very reason that Texans must take center stage in the Trump resistance.
During the civil rights movement, many Northerners made great sacrifices and played critical roles in defeating Jim Crow. But the true battle was fought and won in the South, where organized resistance and civil disobedience challenged segregation and Klan violence.
We’ve all been told to “give Trump a chance.” Many leaders and talking heads, including Trump, are calling for healing and unity. I believe that’s wrong. There will be no healing for families who will be impoverished or torn apart by Trump. We can’t “give him a chance” to take away health care from people who will die without it.
In Texas, many of us who have advocated for policy change have gotten used to cutting deals, respecting the other side and playing nice. Things have changed. Trump’s followers will not go easy on us for playing nice. There is no compromising with hate and fear.
Texas’ right wing may have gerrymandered districts to deny representation to our communities, suppressed voter participation and handed public policy-making over to corporate interests — but even still, there are millions of progressive Texans with real political, economic and electoral power in our cities.
The lion’s share of local elected officials in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, Dallas, El Paso and throughout South Texas are left of center. That’s because, even though a majority of those throughout the state who go to the ballot box vote Republican, the hearts of Texans — especially in our cities — are populist, progressive and thirsting for change.
The progressive movement in Texas, more than ever before, can take the bold action necessary to inspire the residents of our cities to become a part of the Trump resistance.
This is a call to action: Build the resistance against Trump in your city. Trump may have won our state’s 38 electoral votes, but that doesn’t mean he’s won Texas.
Now is the time to get involved. Go to a protest. Call, visit or write your city council members, county commissioners, mayor and state representatives and demand that they openly resist Trump, and then support them if they do so. Make a donation to, or volunteer for, a progressive movement-building organization in your community.
Act in solidarity with your neighbors, follow the leadership of those whose lives are most at risk and mobilize with them to defend everyone’s rights against vigilante violence or government violence — especially people of color, Muslims, immigrants and others who will be scapegoated. And even when despair and cynicism seem rational, keep hope in your heart instead. We’ll need it. There’s a long fight ahead.
A previous version of this story appeared on the Texas Observer Friday, Jan. 20.