By Jason Taylor
Despite the doom-and-gloomers voicing their despair on social media, blogs, and the media in general, There’s plenty of room for hope. Why? Because Americans still have the right to vote, and when we get people to the polls, liberals win. That’s why Obama won and Clinton didn’t. It’s also why Moore lost and Jones won in Alabama this year.
The real problem liberals need to solve is why did so many of the people who voted for Obama stay home and not vote at all in the last presidential election? The problem isn’t about trying to woo the disgruntled white voters who would vote for conservatives no matter what. We really don’t need to move to the right here. The problem will be solved when a clear motivating message drives more of the population to vote.
The big “loss” has been the soul of what used to be the Republican party. Formerly bedrock GOP principles have been tossed aside as the party worships at the feet of Trump and wealthy donors.
Fiscal conservatism? That mantle went out the window with the huge deficits to be brought about by the tax reform bill. Patriotism? Strong evidence of Russian interference and possible collusion in the election is being ignored or, at worst, swept under the rug by GOP leadership while the character of the independent counsel is impugned. Law and order? Trump and his media lackeys have now decided that the FBI is “failing” as he seeks to destroy a bedrock governmental institution to save his own hide.
And, apparently, that NRA support is more important than protecting police officers and citizens from home grown nut jobs and white supremacists with caches of weapons.
The GOP has become a soulless handmaiden for Trump and looks more and more like the boot-licking political parties that support dictators like Putin, Maduro, and Erdogan. Even the few Republicans who seemed to oppose Trump’s destruction of their party either came over to the dark side (Graham, McConnell, Collins etc…) or ran away rather than fight (Corker and Flake). How sad it is to watch GOP toadies obsequiously flattering the narcissistic, egomaniac Trump. The GOP is no more. In its place stands a prostituted shell, having sold itself to uber-rich donors and Trump for a last gasp of power.
I believe Trump and the Republicans have, in less than one year, already destroyed what took over 243 years to build: trust, honor, respect, credibility, reliability, and leadership based on democratic ideals and elections of generally capable individuals. The lies, deceits, Constitutional breach (the Republican’s refusal to advise and consent the nomination of Merrick Garland) and the autocratic dismantling of treaties and promises to our allies and friends have caused irreparable harm to our Country.
Our only hope is to overwhelmingly defeat Republicans in the 2018 mid-terms otherwise. Should the balance of power change in both institutions, then there is Hope. However, should the Republican Party retain power, I fear our Great Nation that was the beacon of Light through the generations shall be no more.
Things would look better if the debate were about the real problems that people face, namely, massive inequality, lethal addictions, embarrassingly poor schools, environmental degradation and inadequate healthcare. Until we realize that the whole point of politics is to address these and other problems then the Trump vs. Democracy battle for our political blueprint will lack the urgency needed to move ahead and right the ship. Democrats will need to spend 2018 showing that they have better ideas, genuine hope, a deeper understanding of how people live and leadership that we can look up to.
As horrible as this year has been, and no doubt 2018 will again be a constant battle. We have seen much grassroots participation from all over the country that is holding the Trump and his minions accountable. The number of new faces, many of them women, who are planning on running for state and national offices far exceeds the number in previous election cycles.
Our country was born as an answer to the more rigid and unresponsive governments abroad. At its very core is the idea of personal responsibility, a tradition of choosing our leaders and having in place safeguards that can prevent these leaders from attaining too much power. While Trump attempts to corrupt those norms, enough of our tradition lives in the hearts and minds of most people in our country that his preference of and tendency towards autocratic rule is both alarming and unacceptable.
There will always be a number of people who will be attracted to a strong leader who is willing to eviscerate the culture’s norms to attain his or her goals. Unlike many other countries that have encountered this rift between autocratic and more democratic tendencies, I am confident that the current struggle will once again swing back towards the democratic because this is a part of Americans’ DNA. There is no country with a more solid tradition, and the activism we see now is a clear indication that the current political climate is unacceptable.
America is like a pendulum. When it swings too far to one extreme, it swings often with near equal momentum in the opposite direction. Just look at recent presidential history. Nixon/Ford led to Carter. He led to Reagan/Bush which led to Clinton. Clinton to Bush, Bush to Obama, and Obama to Trump. Who will be next?
Our current government has without any concern for catching a cold discarded all its clothing. It runs naked willing to fully expose itself through the streets of DC. It’s literally streaking across the nation. And in its streaking rush to hand us all their version of a Christmas gift, they have exposed themselves enough to offend far too many of us. Getting out the vote is what the next election is all about. I suggest forget worrying about voter registration cards and instead focus on voter registration card drives. This time, instead of registering voters, get the registered their cards and show them where they vote. Perhaps even help them get to the polls.
Additionally, now is the time to unify our voting public around the core issues that the 2018 congress will have to face, the prevention of gutting entitlements. Here most everyone has skin in the game. The baby boomers have social security and Medicare. Young families have healthcare and jobs. More mature families have healthcare and education. Young people have the most at stake, their entire future. The focus has to be about voting.
For every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. So for every lie, every authoritarian move, every assault on the press, every act of bigotry, every theft of the non-wealthy, every attack on the environment, every sign is corruption, every embarrassment on the world stage coming from the White House, the rest of us have to dig in our heels, resist, and fight for what’s right. Congress is not going to pick up any slack. Most Republican legislators are there to rubber-stamp Trump, so determined are they to enact a far-right agenda and so timid are they of the Bully-in-Chief. But we have some sway here, as midterm elections are around the corner.
The voting this year has been against Trump, both prominently and locally. Trump can pretend that it is because of voter fraud, or because of too much distance from him, all he wants, but let the results speak for themselves. And 2020 is within sight.
Now is no time for apathy or despair. Our reaction to the reactionary platform of Trump and the GOP can be a progressive society worth our pride.