The first high official in the new administration has been forced to resign. CNN reports that Michael Flynn, national security adviser, is out. Flynn reportedly undercut U.S. policy in a meeting with the Russian Ambassador while Barack Obama was still president; he then is said to have lied to the White House about what he discussed in that meeting; intelligence officials allegedly advised the White House that Russia would be able to blackmail Flynn; Flynn was previously fired from the Obama administration for insubordination; and now he is gone from the current administration.
We’ve had some nasty defeats, to be sure, and more lie ahead. But let’s be careful not to react to each setback as if we’ve lost the whole conflict.
White House operatives are moving rapidly on a wide range of issues. There a couple of reasons why they need to. First, they hope overwhelming flood of bad news will demoralize us. Second, they need to move fast because they have a narrow winder of time before they get shut down again and again by a growing, visible, vocal, and widespread opposition that is still getting organized. Third, the rapid-fire release of outrageous statements and action is a method to control the national conversation.
Let’s start reframing it right now, by focusing on some significant good developments of the past several days.
The first action taken by the new White House that has immediately affected people’s lives is the executive order that attempted to prohibit certain persons from coming to the United States — the so-called “immigration ban” (actually a confused hodge-podge that even the administration seems to be struggling to understand). Two states, Washington and Minnesota, sued, and a federal judge (an appointee of G.W. Bush) suspended implementation of the order. That ruling was later unanimously upheld by a three-judge appeals panel, also including a G.W. Bush appointee.
Whatever the results in court, the executive order has sparked an unprecedented, monumental opposition movement that incorporates almost all sectors of society other than the inner circle of the White House. Consider:
- Briefs opposing the order were filed in court by more than 125 of the nation’s largest companies. Considering that the current occupant of the White House is a narcissistic sociopath who sees every opponent as an enemy, the level of political risk these companies were willing to take is huge. Among the businesses filing court statements against the White House action are Adobe, AirBnB, Amazon, Apple, Coursera, DocuSign, eBay, Evernote, Expedia, Google, HP, Indiegogo, Intel, Levi Strauss, LinkedIn, Lyft, Meetup, Microsoft, Mozilla, Netflix, Pandora, PayPal, Salesforce, SpaceX, Square, Squarespace, Tesla, Twitter, Uber, Wikimedia Foundation, Yelp, Zendesk, Zinga, and dozens more.
- Several usually conservative companies put their reputations (and big ad dollars) on the line in another way: In SuperBowl ads defending immigration to the U.S. A powerful ad from a lumber company (whose owner voted for Trump) is worth watching all the way through to the surprise ending. (The Fox network didn’t let the entire ad air, but it’s embedded here.) Budweiser aired a spot depicting how the company’s founder was shunned as an immigrant who wasn’t “wanted here.” Coca-Cola, AirBnB, Kia, and Tiffany are among companies promoting immigration, diversity, equality, and environmentalism in their ads. (For a bit of levity, note the hair-product company whose ad said, “America, we’re in for at least four years of awful hair.”) →