04 July 2017

Independence Day

It may seem that there's little to celebrate today.  I don't deny the gravity of the threats we're facing.  I do want to offer a few reminders.

1) This country is now 241 years old.  It has been through a lot.  It has faced evils and threats much worse than anything we face now.  Evils such as slavery, the expropriations and massacres of the Indians, the disenfranchisement of women until 1920, Jim Crow, the criminalization and persecution of gays up to (in some states) 2003.  Threats such as the Confederate secession, German and Japanese fascist imperialism, McCarthyism, the rise of the Christian Right.  Through it all, the country has remained and the Constitution has remained, and inch by inch freedom and social equality have been expanded.  We will get through this too.

2) The current regime is a minority-rule regime -- Americans did not vote for it.  Not only did three million more of us vote for Hillary than for Trump, but eleven million more voted for Democratic Senators than for Republican ones.  The empowerment of the Republicans is an artifact of vote suppression, an archaic and unrepresentative electoral system, and Russian interference.  It does not represent who we as a people are.

(I hope that Americans will finally unlearn the habit of treating every foreign country as a homogenous monolith defined by its government.  When the news says "Iran did X" or "Germany did Y", that means the government in question did something, which may not reflect the real will of the people there, any more than Trump's actions reflect yours.)

3) The real people of our country have responded with mass popular resistance in the form of huge demonstrations, raucous town halls, and wave after wave of messages to Congress.  These actions, combined with the enemy's division and ineptitude, have stymied most of their agenda.  They are so scared of us that the Senate version of ACA repeal was written in secret and sneaked out in the hopes that it could be voted on before the public knew what was happening and started putting pressure on its Senators -- and even that gambit has failed so far.  They have all the power on paper, yet they have to skulk and hide and smuggle their agenda under the radar in hopes of getting something done.  They are cowards and they are not as powerful as they seem.

4) As always, the threat within the gates is cynicism and defeatism.  No problem has ever been solved by declaring that it is insoluble and that the situation is hopeless.  No enemy has ever been defeated by deciding that it has already beaten us and that all is lost.  The suffragettes and the early civil-rights fighters and the first gay-liberation pioneers all faced dauntingly strong and terrifyingly ruthless opposition, yet they fought on.  What would they think of those today who are ready to declare defeat and give up after just a few months, especially after the successes we've had?

5) If you fear that the impeachment of Trump will rob the resistance of its energy and leave the enemy free to push through their agenda under President Pence, remember that the biggest issue firing up popular pressure on Congress hasn't been anything to do with Trump at all -- it's been ACA repeal.  When people understand what the Republicans' plans would really mean for them, they are energized to fight back.  That will remain true as long as those plans remain what they are, even with a different President.

6) When this is over, all the Republicans who defended and excused and normalized Trump's endlessly disgusting and moronic behavior will be saddled with that for the rest of their careers.  They'll be on record as insisting that Twitter tantrums, misogynistic vulgarity, stygian ignorance, and unimaginative insults -- to say nothing of flagrant efforts to shut down investigations of possible misdeeds in his inner circle -- are normal and acceptable in a successor to Lincoln and FDR and Eisenhower.  Eventually Trump will be gone, but the stench of what they had to wallow in for his sake will never fade.

7) Demographic changes continue to work in our favor.  Among the most important of these is the inexorable decline of religion (now that Republicans are the anti-secular and anti-science party, and will become even more so under Pence), which cannot be stopped by immigration controls or racist vote-restriction laws.

8) The US is not the whole world.  While we are dealing with this temporary reign of malignant clowns, the rest of the world continues moving forward on issues like global warming.

This is a setback.  We have had setbacks before.  We will still win.


Blogger Donna said...

Thank you. Needed this...badly!

05 July, 2017 10:08  
Blogger Jono said...

Thanks for the pep talk!

05 July, 2017 11:31  
Blogger Shaw Kenawe said...

This is the best thing I've read over the 4th holiday. A welcome balm.

06 July, 2017 08:32  
Blogger Kevin Robbins said...

Thank you for that. It's nice to see that most people are not being distracted by Trump's diversions. The media may get caught up in it, but most of us are able to keep the focus on healthcare, the environment and so on where it belongs. That said, it would be nice to sit back with a cold one and enjoy the work of Robert Mueller and his crew. Maybe in a few months we can do so.

06 July, 2017 13:06  
Blogger anymouse said...

Standing up and applauding your excellent post!! Wow. Should appear in every paper, magazine and website.

06 July, 2017 14:45  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thank you everyone for the high praise!

06 July, 2017 16:05  
Anonymous Marc McKenzie said...

Infidel, you earned the high praise for this. Just read it now and it is easily one of the most inspirational pieces I have read during these, well, dark times. Thank you so much for penning it.

Stout hearts, everyone. We WILL get through this--but we must never give in to despair or defeat.

07 July, 2017 07:01  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

Thanks, Marc -- always glad to provide a morale boost!

07 July, 2017 11:42  

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