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What We Accomplished This Weekend

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 30, 2017 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | January 30, 2017 |

For the second weekend in a row (and the second weekend of Donald Trump’s administration), Democrats, liberals, centrists, and moderate Republicans entered Friday with feelings of dread and helplessness, but many managed over the course of the weekend to wrestle control back from chaos. Again, hundreds of thousands of people marched and rallied this weekend in protests across the nation, showing our resistance to the Muslim ban hastily thrown together by Donald Trump with little consultation with experts in other agencies and little regard for the good people it affected.

The reaction to it was swift — and honestly, the worst thing Trump could have done from an optics perspective was to apply it to anyone en route, which created detainees in airports across the country. Elderly detainees, children who were detainees, detainees who helped the U.S. military, detainees with wonderful American stories. Donald Trump tried to keep out the best of the world, and the best of our country resisted those efforts. Again, it felt unifying, and again, it felt like a huge blow to Donald Trump’s ego, which is where we can hit him the hardest right now. Crowds in Copley Square, marching down Pennsylvania Avenue, at LAX, in JFK, in Atlanta, in Denver, and in other airports across this country erupted, sometimes spontaneously, as one did here in Portland’s tiny airport, where 3600 crammed into a luggage terminal. There were even sizable crowds in Boise and Nashville.

In a practical sense, however, the resistance — led by the saints at the ACLU and other pro bono attorneys around the country — managed to spring (most) of the detainees (there are still troubling accounts of what happened to detainees at Dulles). The blowback from the public also forced the White House to limit the order so that it would not apply to green card holders and other lawful permanent residents.

Unfortunately, the ban is still in effect, although it will be faced with a number of court challenges, and the legal system is likely to overturn it in full, which is something that even Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell concedes. Republicans were slow to come around, but by late Sunday, a number of Congressional Republicans had either come out against it, or expressed reservations (by last count, that number was 39 GOP opposed or expressed reservation). Meanwhile, Democrats are at least drafting bills to try and overturn the executive order (these bills will not be passed), while some courts had gone as far as to recall some of the people who had been deported on Friday night.

It was a public relations nightmare for Trump, whose disapproval ratings continue to rise in historic ways.

It was also a huge win for the ACLU, which raised — at last count — $24 million from over 300,000 donations. In one weekend! The ACLU generally raises $3-$4 million in an entire year. For now at least, lawyers are heroes again.

What else did it accomplish? It put a fire underneath the asses of Democratic Congressional leaders, many of whom showed up at airports themselves (God bless John Lewis, again). Corey Booker, Elizabeth Warren, and Chuck Schumer showed up, and we better fucking see this resistance extend to the cabinet confirmations this week, or Democrats will face the wrath of the people, too. Obstruct, delay, raise hell. That’s what the people want, and Trump’s disapproval ratings give Democrats leverage to do so.

There were a lot of symbolic victories, as well. In the UK, 1,400,000 signatures have been put on a petition to Parliament to disinvite Donald Trump from an upcoming visit, putting pressure on Theresa May. Parliament has to consider a petition after only 100,000 signatures. Adding to Trump’s international embarrassment, he had to have Angela Merkel explain to him the Geneva Conventions.

Meanwhile, even Captain America spoke out:

Tech companies and other businesses spoke out against the ban in huge ways. Starbucks committed to hiring 10,000 refugees in the next 5 years. Nike spoke out. Zuckerberg spoke out. Netflix spoke out. Lyft donated $1 million to the ACLU after Uber scabbed on Friday night in New York, and thousands deleted their Uber accounts (and thousands more, like myself, were relieved to find that Lyft was available in our small cities. Thank God!).

A guy told Kal Penn he doesn’t belong in this country, and Kal Penn has raised $510,000 for the International Rescue Committee, so far, in opposition to an Internet troll.

Meanwhile, pictures like this — IN MISSOURI — give us hope, especially after a Texas mosque was burned down on Friday night. (Americans have already raised over $800,000 to rebuild that mosque).

Meanwhile, the two biggest Jewish GOP groups have spoken out against the ban. Hell, even the synagogue where Donald Trump’s grandchild attends preschool has spoken out against the unAmerican ban.

The pressure is getting to those inside the White House. Reince Preibus was a disaster during his Meet the Press interview, and even Kellyanne Conway had a minor meltdown yesterday on Fox News, of all places (jump to the last three minutes):

Even Trump’s tweets yesterday were weak, ineffective, and largely ignored.

This, I thought, was a heartening reminder to those who continue to support Trump’s policies that history will look down on them.

Finally, by the end of the weekend, as the SAG Awards began to air, for many of us, the oppressive dread of Friday night had lifted some, and there was a sense that we could continue to battle. We were finally able to smile again. This, for instance, was hilarious:

We’re a good fucking country, and once again, hundreds of thousands of people have demonstrated that we are not defined by one short-fingered vulgarian.

Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.