This is not normal. The election of Donald Trump as President of the United States has upended all the preconceived norms of our democratic society. The man who now sits in the highest office of the land is a fascist strongman, an admitted sexual assaulter and an unprecedented threat to American democracy. Trump’s ascendance ushers in the rise and normalization of white supremacists, neo-Nazis and so-called “alt-right” politics.
These extraordinary times require an extraordinary response — namely, resistance. Resistance to Trump is already taking form:
- Former Congressional aides published Indivisible, a short comprehensive, practical guide to resisting Trump at the local level, borrowing many organizing strategies from the Tea Party. The guide has spread like wildfire, with hundreds of local groups signing up.
- State and local governments are gearing up to operate as the backbone of the resistance against a Trump Administration.
So far, the response of our arts advocacy establishment has been alarmingly tepid — essentially treating this election as politics-as-usual with copy-paste statements from yesteryear’s arts positions. This is unacceptable, particularly since reporting broke, just yesterday, regarding Trump’s plans to eliminate the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. In order to meet an unprecedented threat to our society — both civil and creative — we must radically re-envision the arts and culture sector as a creative resistance and sanctuary movement.
This isn’t just a think piece, rallying cry or call to arms. This is a challenge of imagination and strategy. Because we know that the arts-politic that preceded this moment will fail us in resisting the petty tyrant who is now the President (though he may not be your President), we must create a new arts politic.
I challenge all of us in the arts and culture sector to focus on and to write about one issue, one practice, one strategy, one pertinent policy — be it fair wages for artists, or affordable healthcare, or charity and tax law, or providing sanctuary to undocumented artists — that we can use to create a blueprint for an #ArtfulResistance to the Trump agenda. These ideas can be directed externally (to the government, to the public, etc.) or internally (to arts organizations, to artist communities, etc.).
I, personally, and we at the Clyde Fitch Report, will submit our own planks to this #ArtfulResistance platform, and we will continuously update and index this post with plank pieces as they come in. But we challenge you to submit your own. Tweet us at @thecfreport with your blogs, your tweets, your ideas, with the hashtag #ArtfulResistance, and we’ll link your plank, below. As our former president, and now fellow civilian, Barack Obama, says:
I know I am.