Has April been the cruelest month of Donald Trump’s presidency? Or simply the most absurd? After 100 days of grotesque gaffes and gross ineptitude—of watching a claque of unskilled oafs hurl up chunks of half-digested policy like a bunch of teens on a Tilt-a-Whirl—it can be hard to tell where tragicomedy ends and true horror begins. Does it start with that slice of beautiful chocolate cake that so pleased the presidential palate as a fleet of Tomahawk cruise missiles carried out his command to pound a Syrian airbase? Or with the tax-code overhaul that promises to bankrupt the federal government while bloating the Trump piggy bank? What about with the newly minted Supreme Court justice who celebrated his ascent to the nation’s highest bench by sending a man to his death? The mind reels.
Mercifully, far from the centripetal cruelty of the Beltway, a very different America is emerging, one steeped in humanity, decency, and sanity. This is the America of the counter-Trump resistance, and while it can be found in all corners of the country, its bases are the cities whose residents say “NO!” in a thousand different ways every day to the new Trumpian order.
It was in a city, for instance, that just the other day a leading elected official—New York Mayor Bill de Blasio—proposed ramping up the fight against education inequality by offering free, universal preschool for 3-year-olds. (Take that, Betsy DeVos!) It was in cities that swarms of scientists, nurses, physicians, and their supporters marched for scientific inquiry and evidence-based policy. And it was in cities—nearly 65 of them—that elected officials doubled down on their commitment to protecting vulnerable immigrants by signing an open letter to Trump and Congress vowing to defend their cities’ sanctuary policies.
Here, for the first time, The Nation, in partnership with Local Progress, offers a sampling of some of the efforts at municipal movement building and progressive policy-making that have burbled up in cities this past month. Few, on their own, will shake the earth hard enough to undo all Trump’s damage or roust the president from his White House perch. But one by one, they are marking out an alternative vision for this country, building a path to a different future.
Welcome to the April (and inaugural) edition of Dispatches from the Urban Resistance.
Meet the New LDEFs — Local Defends Funds
As Trump relentlessly tars undocumented immigrants in the press and transforms our country’s immigration system into a deportation force, cities are throwing pesky obstacles in his path. On April 17, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to create a legal defense fund to support those snared in Trump’s immigration dragnet. Among other things, the new fund will provide community groups with $1 million in grant money so they can hire defense attorneys for locally based immigrants caught in deportation proceedings.