What happens when a minority President issues a slew of executive orders (plus a coming Supreme Court nomination), speeches and tweets that simultaneously attack multiple well-organized constituencies and special interest groups?
Three days after the huge, unprecedented women’s marches on Saturday, environmental protesters, climate change warriors and Indian Rights activists are gathering in New York City to protest the Dakota Access and Keystone Pipeline decrees. Soon we will undoubtedly be treated to demonstrations and uprisings in defense of the arts, PBS, federal workers, Obamacare patients with pre-existing conditions, veterans receiving no healthcare, seniors on Social Security and Medicare, and a slew of other special interest groups feeling the rapid fire blows now coming at them. Even journalists, supposedly protected by First Amendment rights, are feeling the pain.
So my question is this: what happens if people in each of these various constituencies rise up and resist at the same time? Will the police and even possibly the National Guard be able to contain the uprisings? Will they even want to? Will the jails fill up? Will some of the enforcers start refusing to arrest their fellow citizens who are exercising their rights to free speech and assembly? Will more insider leakers start undermining the administration via new Edward Snowden, Pentagon Papers and Deep Throat episodes? Will the insulted and lied-to press find their backbone and begin to fight back? Will the CIA find clever ways of avenging Presidential insults to their dead?
We haven’t seen a situation like this in America since the Vietnam era. At that time, the country became virtually ungovernable as civil rights, antiwar and feminist groups - and even grunts in the military - all simultaneously refused to tow the line.
The question that concerns me tonight is whether we could be headed for a similar situation, with each new executive order, edict, tweet and insult bringing forth a newly energized group of dissidents and protestors who are willing to put their lives and safety on the line in order to be heard.