The questionable series of executive orders during Trump’s first week, the appointment of Breitbart’s Steve Bannon to the National Security Council, the summary firing of Acting Attorney General Sally Yates when she refused to uphold the immigration ban on grounds of legality, and the fact that the White House statement regarding her dismissal suggested that she “betrayed the Department of Justice” should send chills through the bones of any patriotic American. Yates’ dismissal and the rationale behind it are a threat to our rule of law. The playbook for autocracy exists, many of us have lived it before, and Americans should be aware that it can happen anywhere. It is now our duty to exercise our right to assemble, to protest, to hound our elected officials to stand up, and to be vigilant about protecting our rights AND the rights of others. This is not a drill.
It was so uplifting. Because we’ve each lived overseas for most of our adult lives, in non-democratic countries without freedom of speech or freedom of assembly, neither my wife nor I have had the opportunity to join many protests. At Washington Dulles Airport we were honored to join throngs of people not just protesting, but also a large number of volunteers with signs and name tags saying “Hello, I’m a lawyer. Let me know if I can help you.” Then we boarded our flight and left for LAX, to meet the crowds surrounding the international arrivals area there. As we marched together through the airports, we both felt a renewed sense of faith in humanity — restoring our hope that when push comes to shove, people will do the right thing. Our favorite chants from the evening were: “Show Me What Democracy Looks Like. THIS is What Democracy Looks Like” ; “No Hate, No Fear, Refugees are Welcome Here” ; “The World is Watching” ; “No Ban. No Wall. Sanctuary For All” and singing, “This Land is My Land, This Land is Your Land.” We were moved to participate, we were moved to tears, and we felt hope. American exceptionalism isn’t dead. It’s in the hands of our people. Let’s hit the streets early and often.