The shock is beginning to wear off now. At least until the next newspaper or internet or television piece that I see or read. Then it comes back again, dulled somewhat by resignation, but it’s there nonetheless. Talking about it with like minded people or writing about it helps, but talking and writing will not reverse what has happened.
Unless you have been sequestered on a tropical island, completely bereft of news from the outside world (and if you have, lucky you!), then you know “it” is the recent national election, one result of which is that we will soon be saddled with a thin-skinned, incompetent blowhard for our next president. This is bad enough, but Mr. T
(no, not that Mr. T)
will not arrive in Washington, DC, alone. He will bring with him, to oversee and direct the various departments of government, an assortment of conspiracy fantasists, anti-government government employees, inhabitants of bubbles, sellers of snake oil, privatizers, insiders, major political donors, and Elaine Cho, wife of Sen. Mitch McConnell.
Some of these people were already in Washington, but I suppose if one is going to drain a swamp, enlisting the inhabitants of that swamp in the effort makes a certain amount of sense; if those inhabitants actually want their swamp drained. I seriously doubt that to be the case, but we shall see.
Perhaps Mr. T will go to Washington and become transformed. Perhaps he will sit where Lincoln and FDR and Kennedy have sat, and grow into the office. I am going to resist making a cancer analogy here, and simply say that this too is doubtful. Not only were those predecessors technologically incapable of firing off tweets at 3 a.m., they were also not emotionally predisposed to do so, even if they could have. Well, as I said, that’s bad enough, but there are other things to consider now.
For example: a chief advisor and strategist who has encouraged racist, anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim statements, to say nothing of proclaiming his most recent business venture to be a platform for white “nationalists”; a future Secretary of Education who hates public education; a National Security Advisor who hates Muslims; a Treasury Secretary who used to work at Goldman Sachs (I wonder if he was present for any of Hillary Clinton’s speeches there?); for Secretary of State, it will be either an incompetent sycophant or a man who only months ago loudly decried Mr. T as a fraud and a phony; an Assistant National Security Advisor whose main qualification seems to be that she donated a lot of money to our future president’s campaign; a Health and Human Services secretary who wants to destroy the Affordable Care Act, privatize Medicare, and reverse Roe vs. Wade; a Secretary of Transportation who in her previous Federal job cut back on mine inspections and OSHA regulations. And so on.
I know that of the non-majority who voted for Mr. Trump, not all of you are racists and misogynists. I know that the mills and foundries your fathers and grandfathers worked in are mostly gone, the unions that helped them gain a decent living have been eviscerated, the coal mines are closing, and your home towns are often thin shadows of the communities they once were. I also know many of you wanted to “send a message to Washington.”
That’s all well and good, but do you know exactly what that message was intended to communicate, and do you think it has reached the ears of its intended recipients? Was the message, “Make Washington work again,” or was it, “I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore”? Either way, I really don’t think the people now about to place their hands on the levers of power in Washington, DC, are going to fulfill either the hopes you carry or the inflated list of contradictory promises that Mr. Trump made to all and sundry over the last few months.
Quite apart from all that – and once again, that’s bad enough – how could you square your own values and morals, your own (presumed) belief in American democracy, with the record of sexual assault, bankruptcies, race-baiting, and the ever-lengthening list of egregious lies that constitute the reality of our future Reality-Star-in-Chief? How could you simply discount all that in the name of “telling it like it is” and not being PC. I don’t know, but you did, and now we all have to live with it.
Living with it does not, however, mean we have to accept it. It does not mean that now we should all just link arms and sing Kumbaya.
To the contrary, I believe it better that we in the majority (that is, the 64,777,890 citizens who voted for Hillary Clinton) link arms and sing a different song. We Shall Overcome would be a good choice.
I think it’s very important that we resist calls to give our next president a chance to govern, a chance to succeed. That’s a nice sentiment, but I don’t want him to succeed, because his success, and that of his appointees, would be built atop the ruins of eight decades of social progress in this country.
Therefore, I am going to do whatever I can to resist the coming attempts to return America to the supposedly bucolic days of 1956. I encourage you to do the same.
Donate money to progressive causes and organizations in which you believe. Volunteer for them, as well. Call your Congressperson and Senator. Sign petitions. March in protests. Write letters to the editor of your local newspaper. Demand that journalists do their job and factually report the lies, distortions, and obfuscations that are already a hallmark of the budding Trump administration. Demand that they use the word lie, when a lie is spoken, rather than trying to be polite and dance around it. Then, when they do call a lie a lie, we must defend those same journalists, and others, when they’re attacked for pointing out the truth.
If an idea does come out 0f the Trump administration that actually makes sense, then it should be given careful consideration and, if warranted, support. I have little hope at this point that such a thing will happen, but still …
Most importantly, though: Organize, because therein lies our strength. E Pluribus Unum, after all.
One last thing: When people who voted for Mr. Trump begin to realize that they were lied to all along, when they see that they’ve been taken in by a charlatan, let’s not say, “I tried to tell you, but you wouldn’t listen.” Rather, let’s approach them with loving kindness and understanding, because we, all of us, ultimately are part of the same American family, and the sooner we accept and act upon that knowledge, the sooner we can successfully resist the people who would destroy what has been built here in the last two hundred and forty years.
 As of 30 November 2016