Going Rogue

By Luz Gonzalez

9 federal government agencies have gone rogue, I suspect largely in response to Trump and his administration’s determination to disrespect the value of its work, spread a false narrative of their mission and goals, and create a toxic environment of mistrust, misinformation, and uncooperative discourse.  In other words, federal employees are doing for the American people what the Republican majority will not do, stand up to an authoritarian President and administration who do not even remotely resemble or represent the American people.

On January 26, all the senior staff at the United States Department of State resigned.  Since Trump took office on January 20 (has it really been only 6 days) federal employees have created twitter accounts and tweets in defiance to the new administration’s attacks on truth and science.  Showing courage and conviction. Days old rogue accounts @rogueNASA, @AltNatParkSer, @ActualEPAFacts, @Alt_NASA, and @WhiteHouseLeaks have tens of thousands of followers.

As all administrators know, sometimes the hardest thing to do is to make the call, make the decision that will affect tens of employees as well as policy for the year or beyond.  No one faults good decision-making or clear messaging on directives, but the opposition to the Trump transition is about the poorness of the team’s preparation to lead, the limited but yet arrogant pretend-knowledge they demonstrate when interacting with agency heads, and the unwillingness to listen and communicate respectfully in order to reach mutually and beneficial actions that will benefit the American people, who they all should serve, with equal commitment.

Acts of civil disobedience have long been admired by the American Republic.  How could they not.  The Boston Tea Party was an act of civil disobedience from which this country was founded.  Then, of course, we have great lessons from Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr..  Much of the most recent actions of federal employees seem to be centered on dissent.  Whether it goes much further to widespread nonviolent and willful acts of civil disobedience remains to be seen.

Many consider Henry David Thoreau the father of the treatise on American civil disobedience.  Certainly, I find great attraction and solace in his words:

“If any think that their influence would be lost there, and their voices no longer affect the ear of the State, that they would not be as an enemy within its walls, they do not know how much truth is stronger than errors, nor how much more eloquently and effectively he can combat injustice who has experienced a little in his own person.  Cast your whole vote, not a strip of paper merely, but your whole influence.”

The actions of the federal employees show a willingness to lend their whole influence, whole conviction, to constitutional and effective federal governance.  In their own way, they are now a voice of “the people” seeking fidelity to peace and combating an atmosphere of tragic indifference to truth or ethical communication.

Where do we go from here?  The words of Martin Luther King, Jr. might be a guide.

“I became convinced that noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good.”

Count me uncooperative to the elimination of the importance of truth, the disrespect of the value of all Americans, and the subjugation of workers, whether federal or private, who provide needed services and information to the public. UNCOOPERATIVE. Going rogue.

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