Our Long National Nightmare

People are still trying to come to grips with the concept of a Trump presidency. And it’s not a pretty sight. Even if he somehow manages to be sane and rational, surrounds himself with sane and rational advisers, moderates his political agenda, and doesn’t embarrass the nation any further, there are still some things that are going to happen no matter what.

He has already emboldened racists and bigots, and the GOP pretty much has free rein to do what they want in Congress.

It doesn’t look good for us.

But there are things we can do to at least mitigate the damage.

Protest, but protest effectively

Yes, it’s cathartic to march down your local Main Street. It gets you in the local papers. But no one outside of your local area is really going to hear about it, and all you’re really doing is pissing off your neighbors by getting in their way. If you want the government to notice, go where they are. Protest in DC. March in your state capital. Let your elected officials SEE you up close and in person.

Hire your own lobbyist

“Wait, WTF? How am I supposed to find and pay for someone to hang around Washington all day, badgering people? Come on!” No, I don’t expect you to do that. But you can look up lobbying organizations that you agree with, and donate. The ACLU. Planned Parenthood. The Sierra Club. The NAACP. They are already working for you, why not pay them so that they can work harder?

Petition the government for a redress of grievances

It’s right there in the First Amendment. You can write / call / e-mail / text your Congressional representatives and give them a piece of your mind. You’re probably thinking, “What good will that do? They don’t listen!” Let me ask you this. Have you ever wondered why the NRA is so successful as a lobbying organization? They keep an eye on ALL the legislation being considered in Congress, and whenever something they think is relevant comes up, they send out alerts to their members – complete with bill number, dates it comes up for a vote or goes into committee, the names of key committee members, the whole lot. That makes it easy for their members to act.

Most of you, I’ll wager, think only of sending general boilerplate letters to your Congressmen. How much more effective – how much louder – would your voice be if your particular representatives got letters and phone calls every single day for weeks before a matter came up for a vote? And you specifically mentioned the exact piece of legislation, complete with official name and number?

It’s not hard to find out what they’re up to. You can start here

Remember that all politics is local

We spend far too much time worrying over what’s going on in Washington while forgetting that our state and local governments play a significant role, too. Minimum wages, marriage laws, marijuana legalization, assignment of Congressional districts, voting rules, even economic development initiatives come out of your state capitol. Bother your state government, too!

And don’t forget your local government, either. Show up at the next town meeting and ask your mayor or city council what they plan to do about the rise in hate crimes.

Don’t abandon the Democratic Party

I know, it’s far too easy to just toss them aside as being useless and head for the Libertarians or Greens. Right now, that will do nothing other than divide the opposition. And that’s something that we cannot let happen. The GOP is teetering, too. The sane ones there have to realize what they let the nut cases do, and are just as afraid as the rest of us. The GOP Congress is also going to be fighting Trump tooth and nail over who actually does control things. Remember all the arguments over Obama’s “abuse” of executive orders? Do you think the GOP is going to sit back and let Trump do the same? And they are facing a demographic collapse. Young people aren’t joining them, and America is getting less and less white. They may be happy now, but the future isn’t looking good. Party leaders and officials cannot help but see the writing on the wall.

And even then, the next mid-term elections are only about 720 days away. Do you really think that the Libertarians or Greens are going to get their acts together in time to come up with even one candidate for Congress who has more than a snowball’s chance in hell of winning? Look, the Democrats have just been socked in the gut. They are down, and hurting. You can bet that the party bosses are trying to figure out what to do next, and how to reshape the party in time for 2018. Instead of kicking them when they’re down, why not get involved and help create Democrats 2.0? They’ve already got the national organization in place, with fundraising mechanisms and information sources. Why toss all that aside?

Fixing the Electoral College

OK, this is sort of a breather before my closing argument. Look, we all know that the EC is an old and archaic system. But it has its uses. Ditching it entirely would take a Constitutional amendment, which isn’t going to happen. Not enough states are going to give up the extra influence that the EC gives them. But as I wrote earlier, the key thing is that nowhere in the Constitution does it say how a state must choose its electors. Study some of the alternative plans, and go after your state government to change things.

Never give up, never surrender!

There’s the old line (attributed to Edmund Burke, but really by John Stuart Mill) that bears repeating:

Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing. –  address at the University of St. Andrew (1 February 1867)

It is more than tempting to throw your hands up in surrender and try and hide for the next four years. But America cannot afford it. The world cannot afford it. You cannot afford it. Staring with Vietnam and Watergate, cynicism has spoiled our national political discussion. Failed economic programs, unending conflicts around the world, politicians who promise much more than they know they can deliver, lies about the big things and scandals over the petty ones….

It is lack of confidence, more than anything else, that kills a civilisation. We can destroy ourselves by cynicism and disillusion, just as effectively as by bombs. – Kenneth Clark, Civilisation

Remember that more people voted against Trump than for him.

Don’t let the GOP or the Trumpsters forget that.

And maybe our long national nightmare won’t be that long after all……

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3 thoughts on “Our Long National Nightmare

    • It is entirely possible that he will be at least a decent president – though I must confess that so far, it doesn’t look promising to me.

      In any case, we absolutely must keep two things in mind:

      1. Even if we don’t care for the person, we have to at least honor the Office of President. Whoever holds that position deserves some basic respect.
      2. If Trump fails, most likely the country will, too……

      Reply

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