by Joe Courter
There is a weird irony that I begin writing this on the day Governor DeSantis is sworn in, as I wrote the last publisher’s note when that race, and, as well, the races for Senate and Ag Commissioner, were still undecided and in recounts. Well thankfully Nikki Fried got in, but the fact of Rick Scott being Senator and that close, close loss by Andrew Gillum really hurts.
I listened to DeSantis’s speech and sadly thought how different it could have been with a Gov. Gillum. Worst is the prospect of the huge change in the State Supreme Court where three liberal justices will be replaced by conservatives due to term limits. We here in Florida had better be ready to organize, because they will be coming after legal abortion, union organizing rights, immigrant rights, public schools, you name it.
Nationally the media fixation on Trump has the news media hopping from distraction to distraction while the issues of foreign policy, science, and civil rights become backround.
Horrible decisions are being made which are setting back labor, education, the environment and healthcare. The scale of damage being done feels overwhelming, and the recovery will not be easy. In a recent essay in Truth Out (which is in our Editors’ Picks on page 24) Arundhati Roy wrote, “People spend so much time mocking Trump or waiting for him to be impeached, and the danger with that kind of obsession with a single person is that you don’t see the system that produced him.”
I totally agree. Yes it is horrible that this strange man has ended up as President, but he is an outgrowth of a quite dysfunctional electoral system, where a combination of huge hidden money, a mass media with minimal commitment to caring about anything but ratings and profits, and an alienated electorate whose frustration and fears have them either not participating or falling into misleading silos of disinformation.
It is an unprecedented mess, we are sliding into an authoritarian oligarchy and it is a mistake to think it will be easy to turn around. And we damn sure won’t do it with wimpy compromises; it needs to be faced, called out, and resisted. Thankfully the November election turned the House blue and some quite dynamic women and men came in, and with the change in leadership some seasoned and principled Representatives have moved into powerful committee chairs, so we are in a much better position to resist from Congress than we were before.
So how do we resist? One of the biggest things is resisting the idea things are so hopelessly messed up that there is nothing to do but watch it unfold before our eyes (or even avert our eyes completely and ignore it all). If you are taking time to read this I assume you are not in that category. So we just need to do what we can beyond the necessary work, sleep and family/friends.
Upgrade your news sources – there is so much beyond the mainstream media, especially on line: democracynow.org, commondreams.org, truthout.org, theintercept.com and portside.org are a few sources I use. Many top magazines like the New Yorker, Atlantic, and Harpers post excellent long form stories. I subscribe to the Gainesville Sun to both keep up with what they are reporting (and not reporting), and as well to support them, because if they go out of business who knows what would replace them. There’s some good stuff on NPR amid the increasing fluff, too. And of course podcasts let you be you own programmer.
So fine, you are more aware – now what?
Talk to friends about what’s going on. Join an organization. (See our directory on pages 21-23 for a listing of organizations.) Support events put on by these organizations. Donate to them if you have the means, but not the time to go to events and meetings. Most importantly, get ready, ready for whatever may be coming down the pike. It may be hard times where we need to just be there to support one another. And actually, there are plenty of people needing help right now, this minute, where your participation and resources could be well used. D