Living in Donald Trump’s America has been a lot like living in a pressure cooker.
The time leading up to the election was not the worst year in American history, but it may well have been the most stressful. Around 2014, ominous signs began popping up, in strange form and large number, that we had a real problem on our hands. The forces of radicalism are always given a shot in the arm by economic recessions, i.e. the Great Depression and the rise of Adolf Hitler. On the left and the right alike, people started getting really out there.
By the time it was widely realized that Bernie Sanders was actually going to not only be taken seriously, but held up as an example and idolized, it’s not hard to think looking back that it was already too late. If I would have started organizing sooner, worked a few more hours, shared to a few more Groups, tried a little harder to reach people, etc. It’s a wistful feeling, looking back on a great battle lost.
It started to become clear that a great many, a terrible many people, were not going to embrace Hillary Clinton as a candidate, no matter how good a President she would be, and she would have been great. The biggest tragedy here is the scale of the missed opportunity.
We’re talking about a person who had on-the-job approval ratings that were through the roof in every job she had. Those are the only kinds of polls that really matter; the others are nothing but a photograph, one second’s popularity contest. Rational people know that. So when it had clearly started falling by the wayside, in favor of emotional considerations poorly expressed and ill-conceived of, it became darkly evident that things were not going to continue managing themselves.
In our lives, when we come up against a wrong too big to be ignored, it forces us to make a choice. We either take a side or turn a blind eye. We are given a voice for a reason. The time had come to use it, for every American. We were, and are, in the midst of facing a major existential crisis, one to set the direction for the entire nation’s paradigm. Simply stated, the question is: Do we want to keep being a democracy?
A terrible shame is self-claimed by anyone who was fortunate enough to grow up in this country, and still attempts to justify answering that question in the negative. The very fact of people being able to run around on the streets spouting off in that manner is in and of itself a tremendous luxury, one that was paid for and made possible by the success of American democracy. In the days of fascism and communism, things were otherwise to a very horrible extent.
Stalin’s gulag system held nearly 3,000 to 100,000 of its citizens at any given time. Most, like author of the Gulag Archipelago Alexander Solzhenitsyn, were there for speaking out against the government. The Tiananmen Square incident in China was a murderous repression of democratic protesters. It is not yet thirty years old. The Nazis had a whole interior of labor camps, such as Dachau or Mauthausen, reserved exclusively for German “political criminals” until the final days of the war.
There have never been such things in America. We have plenty of prisons, but no concentration camps. Foreign radicalism has never taken deep root over here, because for the most part, people have had the good sense to know how lucky they are to have the chance to participate in this. To risk all that because you are angry is insane. Recessions and depressions are a part of human life on Planet Earth, and that is not going to change to suit anyone.
At this stage in our history, the entire global economy is already deeply interconnected. Wherever you live, they are going to come and go.
If you think that’s a good reason to start down the road toward a second Dark Ages, you might want to read up on the first ones. There are many problems in this country. We are not a perfect nation. But for all our faults, we are the linchpin of the entire global order. Every life in the world will feel it, should the lights go out again.
All through the year of 2016, we heard a great deal about a revolution. Why is it we never heard any of this under Bush, when it was necessary? Back when the world really needed that power, it was found lacking and largely absent. All these brave revolutionaries waited for a kind and tolerant President Obama to come in and start actually making America great again, to start screaming about a revolution. They gambled with the utmost recklessness with the future of the whole human race. Why?
It’s been like this all throughout history. Tightly repressive regimes are rarely overthrown. It’s only after the restrictions are loosened, that the people tend to break levees. We see this all the time, in the Middle East. Its hallmark was all over the place in Syria. It was also this way when the French Revolution felled the monarchy in 1789, and again when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. Just as soon as a system starts to mature, it suddenly collapses.
The events of American life since the year 2000 have indeed been nauseating; it’s worth remembering that Hunter S. Thompson took his own life just after the second Bush was reelected. Times have been hard since Bill Clinton left office.
Still, after Obama got elected, and particularly when compared to the past, we had things really good. We suffered for eight years under Bush, but after that things started getting better.
The economy started recovering, we got universal health care in the form of decades worth of work with the Affordable Care Act, and we started getting back to work. We were once again having the time to worry about things other than base survival. To risk that, on the gambler’s promise of some screaming demagogue, was the absolute height of stupidity. How anyone could have been so foolhardy as to risk our tangible, hard-fought gains on a pack of ridiculous pipedreams will never be explainable by any sort of logical standard. Everyone is trying somehow to get to the answer. Yet for all we have learned along the way, the governing dynamic still manages to elude.
As we approach the midterms in 2018, the Republicans have been killing us in terms of small donors. That’s an ugly fact. For Republicans to be outdoing Democrats, on a grassroots level, is the very worst case scenario. They have taken the strategies of the Bernie Sanders campaign and turned them into a juggernaut.
For all the ugliness and chaos surrounding his presidency, Trump is getting stronger. And not a day goes by that he doesn’t use that strength to chip away further and further at the bedrock of our democracy. Koch Industries has had an unprecedented opportunity to pass through their long-sought Libertarian agenda. The star of fascism is clearly on the ascendant.
What is it going to take? That’s the question we keep coming back to, ever since November of last year. What can we possibly do, to pull back from this chasm we are heading toward? A disturbing percentage of us are behaving like nuclear powered lemmings. There is no one on the horizon at this time who can do much about any of this, except possibly for Robert Mueller, the Obi-Wan Kenobi of our whole drama.
Think as well, about Bob Mueller himself. His good, kind, honest face. How hard he is working, and in his retirement age, no less. All the years he was the director of the FBI, the best one that we ever had. He chose James Comey as his successor. He spent many years training him. He made sure he was the best man to head up the Agency.
Trump threw Comey away like the garbage, and it makes me want to vomit. All the best people in the country right now, are completely excluded from its government, while the worst are getting away with bloody murder. Putin is laughing at us. The Russian media laughs and boasts about the way he’s made a toilet out of Trump. And rock bottom is still nowhere in sight. Surely some revelation is at hand.
In the interim, the author of this article is in Facebook jail, over sharing the articles we recently published regarding the Zapad war games in Russia and the fact of Russian Stuxnet viruses being found in over a hundred American power grids. Facebook Jail is slang for when you get blocked from various Facebook features by its robots, because the Russians and their proxies have figured out how to game its Report as Spam/Abuse buttons.
Sixteen other Democratic activists I know are in jail also. Meanwhile, Zuckerberg does nothing with the greatest of industry. As a good friend and mentor of mine wrote recently, Congress must reform Facebook.
Posting is way down. Russian ads are everywhere. People are scared, and actively exploring other platforms. We are being stopped from participating in the political process of America, as Americans, by foreign agents and agitators who have effectively conquered our entire section of cyberspace, while the people able to handle it have their hands tied behind their backs. The indignance I feel at this state of affairs cannot be adequately expressed by language.
The only clear way forward for us is to get serious about education. Education is the key to it all. That’s why the Kochs and the DeVos’s and all the other Tea Party monsters have been paying so much money to destroy and withhold it. It’s why Betsy DeVos was chosen for the Secretary of Education post. They know knowledge is power, and they don’t want reliably Democratic voters to have any- which includes every single at-risk part of our population, including all persons of color and women.
That’s what this is all about for the opposition. Power, dominance, and money. The Republicans have no actual social agenda. They can only whip up enthusiasm among their supporters by lying about and otherwise savaging ours. It’s become a trench battle, and it threatens every day to break out into another wild fight.
In the end, is it really possible for reason to understand emotion? Because when we analyze the 2016 election, that is the task that faces us. Donald Trump is not something most people wanted, but they chose him all the same, out of desperation.
We’ve got to find a way to address the pain that caused that desperation, because it is severe in the extreme. In the midst of it all, heroin use has gotten so bad that our children are in prison and dying. And Jeff Sessions wants to go back to locking us up for weed. People are looking for a release valve, and if they do not get it, then one should fear wholeheartedly for the future of our beloved, hopeful, wonderful country.
Shortly before he was murdered, Robert Kennedy had these words to say.
“What I think is quite clear is that we can work together in the last analysis, and that is what has been going on within the United States—the division, the violence, the disenchantment with our society; the divisions, whether it’s between blacks and whites, between poor and more affluent, or between age groups or on the war in Vietnam-is that we can start to work together. We are a great country, an unselfish country, and a compassionate country.”
Those words are still true, but it’s going away. If we don’t fight for it, with all that we have got, it will be too late before much longer. Millions have lived and died, for the future of a great America. We cannot disgrace our ancestors, and we cannot let down our descendants.
This is the purpose of Millennial Democrats. This is the task that lies before us. It is largely up to us now. We have to get our peers to see the light and get active in their own fates and futures. Remember when we were kids, and we all watched the NeverEnding Story on the big screen? It is like when the Nothing came. It has eaten everything, and the last glowing seed held by the Empress is ours to blow life into. We must somehow find the courage to dare what we dream.