The Women's March on Jan. 21, 2017, with the pink, knitted “pussy hats” on display was uplifting for millions of Americans who felt like they'd been sucker punched by the election of Donald Trump. It helped inspire record numbers of women to run for public office.
At the time, the word “resistance” felt apt enough as a label for the phenomenon. Via social media the label functioned almost like a slogan and it gave folks a feeling of solidarity that was a balm. It felt good for some millions of progressives and anti-Trumpists of whatever stripe to be a part of something – The Resistance – even if there was no consensus for a plan of action.
Yet, rather than planning, eventually it seems to me The Resistance turned into being about getting outraged over Trump's every dishonest, mean or foolish utterance ... and expressing one's outrage on social media. Furthermore, in my view selecting “resistance” for a label was simply bad wordsmithing from the start.
Maybe, for me, "resistance" still has a negative connotation, because of the Byrd Machine's Massive Resistance pro-segregation movement in Virginia during the 1950s and '60s. But I confess that I soon put my initial reaction to the warmed-over word aside and accepted it as a handy label to stick on what looked like an endless loop of a collective outrage.
Now, upon further review, I'm going back and trusting my first take. Plus, now the word “resistance” just sounds way too 2017. It has outlived its usefulness to Democrats. Just today I heard a supposedly progressive pundit use the term The Resistance, as if it is a banner under which to march toward 2020's elections. I cringed. Words matter.