by Joe Courter
So here we are. As I write this we are two weeks from swearing in a man totally lacking the temperament and knowledge to hold the highest office in the land.
Many activities are planned to protest, to build solidarity and resistance, but it is hard not to be in fear anticipating what is to come. It goes much deeper than just Trump. The Cabinet he has put together (see “Editors Picks,” pg. 24) is way worse than anyone would have imagined. Couple that with an evangelical wing nut as Vice President (and who very well may be much more involved in governing than most VPs) and the prospect of the judicial appointment which will serve beyond the Trump administration’s term and things can look pretty bleak.
Well, I don’t do bleak, I don’t do hopeless. This was not the outcome I would have preferred in the election, but here it is and we need to deal with it.
Can I find positives despite the bad stuff listed above? Yes, I can.
Oh yes, we will lose ground in a number of areas, there will be folks who suffer, folks who die. We will be set back in trying to deal with climate change. There’s lots of uncertainty and danger.
So what the hell could be positives?
First, a whole lot of people have been alerted that they need to be paying more attention, so we don’t let such a circumstance like the 2016 election take place again.
All across this country, resistance is building to challenge the impending attacks on our rights and liberties. It is obvious to all that voter suppression and gerrymandering had a big impact on this election’s outcome. If we can get past identity politics and single issue thinking, and recognize a common struggle we can have a huge impact on the 2018 and 2020 elections. Movement organizing could have a big role in getting electoral reforms passed and to get gerrymandering reversed in 2020, when the various state Houses are empowered to redraw districts.
Second, part of what needs to happen is a revitalized Democratic Party, and around the country supporters of the nearly victorious Bernie Sanders campaign are moving into local party organizations and running as candidates. This is really important, because there will be a lot of Trump voters who will be quite disappointed and feeling forsaken as their healthcare and social safety net is shredded.
Many of these Trump voters were not racist and sexist “deplorables.” They were people who had lost hope in the Democrats, and were giving a big middle finger to the establishment. A more progressive, populist party needs to be ready to work with them.
Third, in the last twenty years, under both parties, in the U.S. there has been a belief in a militarized foreign policy and efforts at regime change that have lead to destabilization and much death and suffering. Most recently, the vilification of Russia and attendant drums of war have been building louder.
A rethinking of this policy is overdue, and under Trump we may get that.
None of the above would be happening if Clinton had won. We would have continued as we were. The day of reckoning would have been postponed. But now we need to and can build up forces of resistance.
Join and support existing organizations that are advocating for issues you believe in. Take civic responsibility more seriously. Work harder to be media-literate and not to fall for propaganda. Be conscious to build common cause with others. Resist deportation of immigrants, fight racism and homophobia, defend women’s and workers rights. In the struggle comes connections and purpose.
Don’t mourn, organize! D