Hope on the Road Ahead

Hope on the Road Ahead

Last week, the world turned upside down as Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. It may well prove to be one of the most consequential weeks of our lives. For now, however, we need to focus on the road right in front of us.

Trump’s shocking victory was difficult enough to absorb. But the shock was exacerbated by a surge in hate crimes and other incidents that confirmed the worst fears raised by the vicious campaign. In the first 60 hours after Donald Trump’s victory speech, the Southern Poverty Law Center counted more than 200 episodes of “election-related harassment and intimidation,” including ugly threats and violent assaults, ranging from “anti-black to anti-woman to anti-LGBT incidents.” Other groups have been under attack, too. On top of the hate crimes, on top of the swastikas appearing on campus walls and city streets, on top of the frightening names proposed for senior government positions, there is the continuing talk of mass deportations, spreading fear through millions of American households.

Trump’s election calls for both a short-term and a longer-term response. In the days and weeks ahead, we need to attend to the victims of these hate incidents, prevent further attacks and intimidation, and join in solidarity with the communities now living in fear. Many of these groups have suffered attacks like these for centuries—hatred, racist bigotry, and sexist violence are not new—but the frequency and scale of the attacks since November 8 are alarming. We need to act now. At the Open Society Foundations, we will be supporting community organizations across the United States ready to aid the victims of hate and prevent these incidents from happening in the first place.

All of us should take a strong stand against this outpouring of ugly sentiment. But there is much more the Obama administration specifically can do to advance the values of open society before leaving office. Prohibitions on the use of torture, accountability for the use of armed drones, and restraints on the deployment of cyber weapons all must be strengthened in the final days of this administration.

Finally, we must confidently voice our collective commitment to human rights, equality, the rule of law, and an inclusive society, even before Inauguration Day. Given the terrifying rhetoric of the campaign, it would be folly simply to wait and see what steps the new administration takes. The writing has been on the wall all year, and history is full of examples when hesitation at such moments proved prologue to tragedy. A fitting culmination of this short-term program will be the “Women’s March on Washington” in Washington, D.C., on January 21. The whole world will be watching.

In the longer term, at least for the duration of the Trump presidency, the United States needs stronger defenses against the abuse of executive authority. Congress has a role to play here, as do the courts. But there is a crucial role for civil society as well: bipartisan, vigilant, principled, and grounded in the Constitution.

The rest of the world, too, needs a long-term program. The success of Trump’s populist campaign links the United States to a global trend in which truth is trashed, fear is exploited, and democracies are transformed into mafia states. We need to build new and stronger institutions at local, national, and international levels—transparent institutions with integrity, open to the participation of all people. If nothing else, recent events have forged a sudden solidarity among people with very different experiences, a degree of solidarity that I have not seen for more than a decade.

On the global scale, we need to recognize the present crisis as a powerful backlash against decades of progress in forging more open societies. There is no denying that no matter what restrictions are now slapped on the internet, information has become ubiquitous. Our understanding of democratic practice has broadened from voting in periodic elections to peaceful activism in the streets and online. Governments have become more accountable. We should not be surprised that these successes have produced a backlash. But we must admit that, as champions of open society, we are not adequately prepared. Too many are dying, too many are in prison, and far too many live in constant fear. Even while we act to protect those under attack and hold the line on our rights and liberties, we need to listen, to reflect, and to regroup.

The struggles for human dignity, for human rights and the rule of law, for open society—these struggles are unending. There is no promised land; there is only the road we walk, and the prize we seek is a better, safer, wider road. We must stay together on this road, in good weather and bad. The violence must end. The struggle for justice will resume. Hope will return.

Learn More:

58 Comments

Hide

To those that are not in support of the Open Society Foundation, why are you visiting this site? Why are you declaring your views that you think are correct here? Are you a spy? are you setting up your defense? what is your reason? you think you can comment against what is right and just? who are you and what is it you want? for certain you must be against us. Ask your self if human life, dignity, pure goodness, loving values are in the forefront of your mind with every action or words you make. If not, be gone, as your kind are not welcome here to darken anyone's doorstep.
It is the greatest minds, the wisdom of ages, the pain of the history of those that have suffered or heard of the suffering that speak up, shout on the mountain top and find their courageous voice for all to hear. If you know nothing of what I speak of, go in search of what it means to have empathy. Search until you know it all through your brain, heart and soul, then come back and we welcome you. It is then that I shall call you a caring human.

With all this being said, I add that I don't think it's wrong for the people of a country to want to feel safe in their country by securing borders. This doesn't mean no immigration, it means safer immigration. I don't think it's wrong to strive for a more robust economy by bringing manufacturing and jobs back to America. I don't think it's wrong to take another look at the ACA (Obamacare) and revamp it or start over. It has not done the job that it was meant to do because people continue to not have primary access to health care. The working people of America have to fund all of these marginally successful policies of the former administration. There aren't as many of us working folks now to keep this country running. We are tired and we need a break. This country has become incredibly weakened and drained of valuable resources through a variety of sources. The chronic opioid addiction of America is one and the others I won't mention on this forum as the contributors here are too easily offended to hear them. This is the time that America needs to take care of America, not the whole world for once, just America. No one is going to lose rights, we are not going backwards. I strongly believe that Donald Trump is going to be a great president. He has a plan and I don't think he would've run for president if he didn't think he could make a change for the better.

Respectfully yours,

CM

P.S. I came upon this forum because I read all of these evil hateful things about George Soros, so i googled him to find out out more about him and I found this forum. I didn't find George S to be overtly evil, however: like beauty, evil is in the eyes of the beholder.

Excellent article. Please keep your wonderful work up. It will be essential indeed that, in the spirit of Gandhi, we be steadfast in making injustice visible, use non-violent resistance to bring about meaningful change that will allow all human beings to effectively enjoy their human rights without discrimination. This also means that evil forces must not get our obedience. Together we are strong. As stressed by Gandhi, the strength of civil resistance is that we are in control, they are not!

Soo hypocritical, divide and conqueror is the Soros plan business as usual. i cant believe we are using these techniques to divide America once again. look at what soros and his collaborators have done to Europe especial Germany and Sweden i guess we want that here too. People need to stop following along with the cnn narrative with American is racist xenophobic and sexist bs. At least America has a fighting chance now against the establishment.

Sounds to me like you are doing your fair share of fear mungering here with pen and paper!

Mr. Soros - the world indeed turned upside down. I wish though you can tell your admirers (including myself) what we can expect from such a disastrous event so we don't get caught off guard.
Thank you for all you've done Mr. Soros. You sir are worthy to be honored as you seem to treat the burden of wealth as but a loan for which you are accountable to mankind as a whole.

Trump has a plan to make the wealthy wealthier, because he will be in his own company, birds of a feather flock together. That is his plan. He ran for President to WIN, his narcissism would not let him pass this huge race/test, at being the number one leader of America. He has plotted for 20 years to be here and set up the chess game so well, even his allies will not know what will hit them when it is all done. He is rebellious, a dictator, and does not like to follow the rules, as they don't apply to him. Why do you think his father sent him to military school at age 13 years old until he graduated high school. A know it all. He is a bigot, a womanizer, a cheater, a workaholic, a fraud and tax evader. Yes, he is smart, but so was Hitler. Did people know they were walking into the gas chamber? wake up.

The situation became more destructive in Africa,together civil society can bring change

Pages

Add your voice