The last 8 months, going from immediately before Mr. Trump’s election to the Presidency to today, have seemed to have passed by in a chaotic whirlwind. The media report on horse race after horse race story, on whatever new scandal Mr. Trump has stumbled his way into. I’d like to believe that the man who has become President is smarter than the rambling, cocksure fool he appears to be, but this man seems to not know any bounds when it comes to thumbing his frustrations and national security secrets in 140-or-fewer character spurts. I’ve been hoping that at some point, I will awake from the coma I have been in for the last eight months from a traumatic brain injury and be brought back into a world where the sane and competent have the loudest voice and the most sway.
However, this fevered nightmare continues. Donald Trump is the President of the United States. Perhaps more worrying is that in the wings resides an arch-conservative Vice President, whose actions would match Mr. Trump’s rhetoric because Mr. Pence has the political wherewithal to properly manage accomplishments. I want to believe that none of this is true – that Mr. Pence isn’t the super conservative nightmare that I’ve been able to cobble together from his record, that Mr. Trump isn’t this duplicitous canker sore on the mouth of American democracy. But all evidence leads to the contrary. Mr. Trump’s America First/MAGA ploy has been exactly that – a ploy to gin up the anger of an electorate that’s been deceived time and time again. And now it has deceived itself into believing that someone who has built his empire on something as vacuous as a brand could Make America Great America, TM.
At this point, there are few things I take for granted, because every second, every day seems to be on borrowed time for us as a society. We have hired a flim-flam man to the most challenging job in a nation-state: the one to lead it. And with our flim-flam man, it certainly seems that his every act seems to build one self-serving mission upon another. And if this is true, if our flim-flam man is nothing but a sham, what do we do? Why should we have trust in each other in the political process? I don’t have answers, mostly because I am afraid of the answers.
I am afraid that the answer is that we can’t trust each other. I am afraid that the answer is that every person, to the last man, is a duplicitous actor whose motivations only serve to maximize the self, regardless of the cost to everyone else. Why else would we elect people who deny basic, foundational, and evidence-based science to be in charge of the programs that fund basic, foundational, and evidence-based science? Why would we elect people who constantly drive fear into the hearts of others for the sake of their own re-election? Why would we elect people who work tirelessly to conceal the sources of their campaign contributions so as to protect themselves from controversy? There are so many whys that need to be answered and I don’t think any of the answers will be either satisfactory or comforting.
And maybe the lack of comfort is a good thing. Maybe it’s time that we mobilize ourselves en masse to confront the issues of our time: to tackle racism, to restore wealth to communities decimated by decade upon decade upon decade of economic dispossession, to repudiate the wars that these politicians launch to line their contributors’ pockets, to restore the integrity of the American Project, to empower the working class with strong unions that represent all American workers, to bring about a living wage, to insure that people have access to health care that doesn’t cost them their rent or home, to have the so-called service class become the working class, and, in the words of the Preamble to the Constitution, to promote the general welfare.
So: where do we go from here? Let us be frank – the federal government is where go ideas go to die. The best course of action is to work within our communities to mobilize the promotion of the general welfare of the American public. There will be few grand victories, but our victory will be total if we dedicate ourselves to getting to know our neighbors, understanding their plight, and sharing in our common humanity. Our victory will be total if we share in our common victory and not pursue individual glories for the sake of an individual ego. Our victory will be total when we, in fight after fight, bring the cause of justice to our neighborhoods and give it a home with us. This is where we go from here. Do not look to Washington – they don’t give a damn. Look next door. Down the road. That is our way forward.
That is where we go.