Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and God—whichever god, if any, is meaningful to you—well, may she help us all.
Is this going to be a terrible four years? Yes. Is Donald Trump going to do terrible things? Undoubtedly. Will the cause of justice—personal, racial, gendered, economic, ecological—suffer terrible setbacks? Ho ho ho, yes indeed. Donald Trump is going to head the most reactionary government in over a century.
Think about that. We’re talking about a presidency that’s a solid bet to compare unfavorably with those of Richard Nixon, whose dark corruption was somewhat held in check by a liberal Congress; Warren Harding, who packed his cabinet with thieves but wasn’t a complete foreign policy nightmare; George W. Bush, who set the Middle East on fire and wrecked the economy but was a strong advocate for tolerance and helping rid Africa of HIV/AIDS; or the much-maligned centrist Bill Clinton, who is going to look like a combination of Jesus Christ, MLK, Lincoln, FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt by the time Trump is finished crapping all over the White House.
Where do we go from here? By “we,” we mean liberals, leftists, Democrats and “progressives.” Anyone who opposes what the modern Republican Party advocates: redistributing wealth upward through regressive tax cuts; taking health care coverage away from millions of Americans; keeping the boot of government on the neck of people of color; freeing the banks to do whatever they want; rolling back the rights of LGBTQ citizens; and restricting the autonomy of women in perversely paternal, life-threatening ways.
You can protest. We all should. A visible, noisy presence will infuriate Il Douche and his sore-winner followers. (Christ, an SNL comedienne sings “Hallelujah” as Hillary Clinton and they moan like they got gut-punched.) These are Americans who spent eight years bitching about President Barack Obama but shrink at criticism of Donald Trump like George Costanza’s penis did when it was hit by a cool breeze.
But the only way to really effect change—to roll back what Trump will hath wrought—is to join the Democratic Party.
(We’re not including those Bernie Bros who are clearly closet libertarians. Come out of the closet, gents. Your narcissism shows.)
If you supported Bernie Sanders and were horrified by the presidential primary system, welcome to American politics. It’s a mean, hard business because so much is at stake. (Everything is at stake.) If you want a better Democratic Party and better Dem-lib-progressive candidates, you need to join.
That means you too, Bernie. Become a Democrat. Fight from the inside. You won’t always win, but in a political party that still has a faction that values hacks like Rahm Emanuel, you are desperately needed.
We all need to get involved. Vote in the primaries. Vote in local elections, state elections—and, most critically—vote in midterm elections when the entire House and a chunk of the U.S. Senate is up for grabs. President Trump wouldn’t be able to do as much damage if Paul Ryan wasn’t Speaker of the House and Mitch McConnell weren’t Senate Majority Leader.
Realize this: contemporary Republicans respect, and vote for power. They always will. Conservative politicians and pundits who seemed “reasonable” fell in line like sheep behind the least qualified major party candidate in history. They will avert their eyes from corruption in Trump they’d scream bloody murder about in a Democrat. Why? They want to get their agenda passed, above all else.
Good heavens, Russia was the literal Devil to millions of these people for decades; now, Russian meddling in our national election is greeted with Republican shrugs.
That’s what we’re up against. There is no reasonable middle ground to be found with Trump and Trumpism, aided and abetted as it will be by the rest of the Republican-controlled U.S. government.
Register. Get involved. Be heard. Vote.