The ascendance of Donald Trump to the White House was a dark day for much of the nation, and the world. But six months into his presidency, the resistance has shown that it will not be intimidated, and it is not going away.
It was easy to feel demoralized after the 2016 election, and even more so when the final numbers proved that it was Hillary Clinton whom the majority of the nation wanted as their next president.
But it was also an opportunity, a real-life "Choose your own adventure" story: Would you give in to despair and apathy, resigning yourself to Donald Trump's ill-gotten victory and disastrous administration — or would you turn your frustration into action, despondence into resistance?
Millions of Americans chose the latter path.
We saw it early on, in the historically massive Women's Marches, in the nationwide Muslim ban protests at airports, and in the sparsely attended inauguration ceremony.
And in the months since, the resistance has grown larger and louder, pushing back wherever necessary against the Trump administration's harmful agenda — particularly the disastrous health care repeal plan championed by Republican leadership.
Protests against the bill have been widespread, geographically and politically, and it is surely thanks to these powerful displays of opposition that the plan has become a floundering mess, with basement-level approval ratings, including from Republican voters.
That's not just liberal wishful thinking — it's from the mouths of Republicans themselves.
Grassroots groups like the Indivisible branches have proliferated rapidly, and according to the organization, over 2,000,000 people have downloaded their guide to resisting the administration.
Indivisible groups across the country have gotten the people out in the streets and in the halls of government, demanding that their elected officials put the health and well-being of their constituents over the pocketbooks of their wealthy friends.
And Americans have also forcefully demanded to know the whole truth about the Trump team's ties to and potential collusion with Russia during and after the campaign. Thanks to pressure from the public, more and more members of Trump's inner circle have been pulled into the special counsel's investigation.
On these and many other issues, the people have been stepping up and speaking out.
As Sean Eldridge, the president of the grassroots resistance community Stand Up America, put it, "Six months into Donald Trump's presidency, the resistance is winning and our grassroots community is more energized than ever to fight back against Trump's corrupt agenda."
Energized, indeed: According to the group's research, over 1,000,000 members have taken some kind of political action across every single congressional district in the country.
That includes over 80,000 phone calls to Congress on issues like Russia, Trump's troubling Supreme Court justice nominee, his unqualified pick for secretary of Education, and health care, which accounted for about 25,000 of those calls alone, along with 90,000 faxes to Senators pleading with them not to support the repeal.
"Our community grows stronger every day," Eldridge stated, "as more and more Americans stand up and fight back."
And they are using all of the modern tools available to them. Resistbot, an automated service that turns your text message to them into a fax or letter to your member of Congress, counts over 745,000 users, who collectively have sent over 4,000,000 faxes to their senators and representatives.
Lawmakers may be doing their best to hide from their constituents, but people will always find a way to make their voices heard when it matters most.
And it matters right now, each and every day.
As Trump barrels forward with his terrifying agenda — buddying up to Vladimir Putin, pushing voter suppression efforts, treating immigrants like suspects, wreaking havoc on the environment, and destroying our nation's standing on the global stage — the American people will not be dissuaded.
"Six months ago, we knew Donald Trump had absolutely no regard for women or their families," said EMILY's List President Stephanie Schriock in a statement to Shareblue. "Today, half a year into his presidency, nothing has changed. In fact, he's doubled down on his disgusting, anti-woman rhetoric while pushing almost exclusively for policies that will hurt women. But if Trump thought that women were going to back down and cower, he's been forced to think again."
According to Schriock, more than 16,000 women have approached EMILY's List about running for office to "throw the Republicans who have propped up this president and his radical agenda out for good."
Protests, phone calls, and marches will continue as long as this White House persists in trying to tear down the very fabric of our democracy.