Not that hope isn’t the antithesis of despair — it’s just that in the age of Trumpery hope isn’t the answer to any important questions. Back in the day, before utter incompetence combined with bestial cruelty and flagrant corruption created the current administration it was possible to write daily blog posts on economic, political, and social topics with some semblance of erudition and explication. No more.
Trumpian economics is devoid of any understanding indicating a grasp of macro-economics, much less micro. Where once I might have delved into a bit of Econ 101 or 102 to posit the implications of a Bush or Obama policy position, I’m now having to think in terms of a president who flat out doesn’t understand trade policy. Period. Full stop.
Trumpian politics is strictly tribal and alarmingly focused on a narrow portion of the electorate. There’s no middle positioning, merely my way or the highway polarized thought; ideology masquerading as political theory. There’s precious little to write about here since nuance left the building and compromise positions are abhorrent to the tribal leadership.
Trumpian social policy is blatantly racist. Not sure of this? There’s more than Charlottesville to contemplate. There is the “Muslim ban,” Was anyone ever in any doubt about the intent of that Trumpian policy announcement? Was anyone ever in any doubt about the mis-administration’s position on Black Lives Matter? Has not the Oval Office Occupant made it abundantly clear he intends to use NFL player protests to stir the racism pot? To play the race card? When the news cycle incorporates too much “bad press” has not the Oval Office Occupant decided to tweet or to speak about “those” “unAmerican” people of color who “denigrate the flag?” That act has shown up center stage all too often to be a coincidence.
Who else would advocate, much less implement, a policy including separating children, some under the age of 6, from their parents at our borders? Who calls for those children to be kept in “detention” facilities? Who would have these children taken for an indefinite period while records relating to their parents’ identities are lost or destroyed? Who would have assumed that the nation wouldn’t care that this was happening in our midst? Who would think for a moment that this was an appropriate deterrent for those seeking asylum in our country? Only the most virulent racist. Only someone capable of thinking we don’t want “thugs” coming into the United States from “Sh*thole Countries.”
Is anyone in any doubt whatsoever about the mis-administration’s attitude toward human rights? Civil rights? Take a quick look at what the mis-administration has done to the Department of Justice — and not only concerning the continual assault on the Attorney General and the Mueller investigation, but on the enforcement of civil rights legislation; on the enforcement of voting rights; on the enforcement of workers’ rights. The assault has been wide, deep, and truly disturbing.
This is an administration headed by an amoral man of whom his cult followers are willing to say he’s on a “spiritual journey,” aligned with their notions of what constitutes godliness, which of course is anti-gay, anti-Muslim, deeply sexist, malignantly misogynistic. The assaulter in chief becomes the arbiter in chief of what defines sexual misconduct, harassment, assault, and rape.
What posts would a person have to write to counter the racism, religious intolerance, bigotry, and misogyny of this mis-administration?
Yes, the antidote to despair is hope, but at this point hope is not enough.
We can’t hope that our fellow citizens will go to their polling places in the upcoming mid-term elections in sufficient numbers to oust the purveyors of protectionism, racism, and tribal politics. We have to register. Check our registration (sad to have to say this in the age of Trumpian politics), and help others register, and to assist them in check on their registration. This election may not hinge on “likely” voters; it may well be decided by “unlikely voters.”
In the latest Nevada primary election there were 1.439,953 active voters, and 329,863 vote cast statewide [SOS pdf] 146,677 Democrats cast ballots, 143,645 Republicans did likewise. In the last general election 1,464,819 were eligible to vote in Nevada; 76.83% of our active voters cast ballots. [SOS pdf] 451,825 Democrats voted; 404,047 Republicans voted; and, 269,556 “others” cast votes. In the 2014 mid-term election 45.56% of our active voters cast ballots. [SOS pdf]. Stemming the tide of racism, protectionism, economic illiteracy, and misogyny is going to take much more than just hoping Nevada’s voting participation rate exceeds the last mid-term election and looks more like the last general election. It’s going to take walking precincts. Manning phone banks. Talking to neighbors. Registering new voters. Taking voters to the polls. All of the above and more.
We can’t hope our March for Our Lives youngsters can register more young voters; we have to encourage them to do so, assist their efforts, help man their tables, help them explain that registering to vote doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to get a jury summons, and providing them with accurate information on when and where to cast their votes.
We can’t hope that our labor unions can energize their members to register voters, staff phone banks, walk precincts, and handout campaign literature. We have to support their efforts. Do they need some volunteers on the phones? People to walk the precincts? More friends to drive cars, donate clipboards, provide bottled water? Every little bit helps.
We can’t hope that public interest groups will provide the spark to increase voter turnout. As in the case of the young people and the union members, where, when, and how can members of the public assist? Twitter provides one link, nearly every group announces its activities. Follow. Read. Act. Social media has been misused by those seeking to interfere in our electoral system, but it is also a source of valid information about organizations willing and able to get out the vote. We can do our homework. Discern which are sheep and which have wolves beneath, and ACT accordingly. Once more, this election outcome may be determined, not by those who are regularly counted among the electorate — but by those who sign up, and show up.
We can’t hope that people will be “inspired” by charismatic candidates. Those candidates are few and far between. Perhaps a candidate isn’t a bright shining flash of brilliance in the political skies…fine. People need to know that a solid (perhaps even a bit stolid) candidate who earns polite applause for common sense policy positions is to be preferred over the platitude pounding generalization generator advanced by the opposition. This will take work.
We can’t hope that candidates will counter campaign commercials from the opposition, we have to make the contributions which will keep them on the air. Is $10 too little? It’s ten more than the candidate had before the check book was opened up yesterday. We can’t hope that someone else makes a big donation to make up for a possible paucity of smaller ones. A note here: Small contributions are an unscientific but interesting way to predict votes. People do tend to vote in line with their billfolds. The gazillionaire doesn’t have any more votes than the couple who send it a $35 donation, and the couple has two votes.
In short: We can’t hope. We’re going to have to ACT.