Since November 8, the idea of a Trump presidency has seemed to me almost surreal, like a Black Mirror episode, not an actual thing that would actually happen.
It was too far-fetched that the world's superpower would cede control to an insecure, vainglorious game-show host who has surrounded himself with white nationalists, conspiracy mongers, and ideologues, and who has over the past two months resolutely demonstrated that his administration will have little regard for ethics and norms and will be outright dismissive of conflicts of interest.
Like, that can't really happen, can it?
But here we are. As I watched Donald Trump take the oath of office last Friday—from a hotel in Portland, where I was attending a conference—the reality of this moment took hold. There was Trump, scowling and dour, telling us what a hellscape America had become: "Mothers and children trapped in poverty in our inner cities; rusted-out factories scattered like tombstones across the landscape of our nation; an education system flush with cash, but which leaves our young and beautiful students deprived of knowledge; and the crime and gangs and drugs that have stolen too many lives and robbed our country of so much unrealized potential. This American carnage stops right here and right now."
The president's first few days didn't inspire much hope. To review: Trump went to the CIA, cheering section in tow, to complain about media coverage of his inauguration crowd's size. His press secretary lied and his adviser excused the lying with talk of "alternative facts." Trump also had the Justice Department back down from fighting a voter-ID law in Texas, issued an executive order to begin dismantling the Affordable Care Act, revived the anti-abortion Global Gag Rule, and signed an executive order that will increase mortgage-insurance premiums for some homebuyers.
But I found hope Friday night on Portland's streets, where, despite the cold and rain, some five thousand people poured into downtown in protest. And I found hope the next day, when more than three million people took to cities across the country to denounce the new regime and its would-be strongman, including a half-million in Washington, one hundred thousand in Portland, and, back home, seventeen thousand in Raleigh.
Welcome to the resistance.
In the pages that follow, you'll find stories about this burgeoning movement, from the inauguration protests to the women's marches. And maybe they'll give you the same hope that they gave me.
This article appeared in print with the headline "Welcome to the Resistance."