Finding Solace Around Trump’s Election

Ken Krobb at the Bureau of Public Secrets proposes that we can take heart in Trump’s election, which he suggests will hasten the demise of the Republican Party. “…It’s going to be like the proverbial dog chasing a car: what happens if the dog actually catches the car?” With the Republican monopoly of power, there’ll be no one else to blame when they actually have to deliver on their empty promises and can’t accomplish anything.

For instance, if they succeed in dismantling Obamacare, it is pretty clear they won’t be able to come up with some pie-in-the sky superior plan, and they will leave 22 million voters, newly insured under Obamacare, back to their previous uninsured situation.

But so what? Obamacare was admittedly never that popular anyway. How about the most popular social programs in America for decades, social security and Medicare, which Paul Ryan wants to dismantle?  As Eisenhower famously noted,

“Should any political party attempt to abolish social security unemployment insurance and eliminate labor laws and farm programs you would not hear of that party again in our political history. There is a tiny splinter group of course that believes you can do these things. Among them are a few Texas oil millionaires and an occasional politician or business man from other areas. Their number is negligible and they are stupid.”

Well, no longer negligible, at least.

Even though Trump’s fanatic base may think they have won a victory against reproductive rights and marriage equality, they are increasingly out of step with the positions of a majority of Americans on those issues. Dismantling existing rights in those spheres and sending us back to the chaos of “leaving it to the states” would be a logistical nightmare… with a backlash, hopefully.

Racism has been a core canon of the Republican Party since Nixon’s “southern strategy” in the 60s, but now it is out in the open rather than covert and deniable. Fervent Trump supporters are already supporting their newfound mandate by viciously harassing and threatening people of color in his name. The Trump Republican Party is going to have to own that, to its shame and detriment.

“[The Republican] party was already heading toward a civil war between its mutually contradictory components (financial elite, tea party, neocons, libertarians, religious reactionaries, and the few remaining moderates). To those general divisions are now added the antagonisms between the new Leader and those who oppose him. Bush at least had sense enough to know that he was an incompetent figurehead, and gladly let Cheney and Rove run things. Trump thinks he’s a genius, and anyone who doesn’t agree will be added to his already very large enemies list.”

And the whole show is so public. With the whole world scrutinizing “President Ubu and his Clown Car administration,” all Republicans will be tarred by association with his inanities, backtracking and failures. “You’re no longer in the Republican Party, you’re in the Trump Party. You bought it, you own it.”

Everyone takes it as a given that responding to this bizarre situation will strengthen the rise of new movements of protest and resistance. With the Republican monopoly control of the government, even those who normally focus on electoral politics must realize that for some time to come the main efforts for political change will be outside the parties and outside the government; “it will be grassroots participatory action or nothing.” And everyone seems to recognize that the defense of those most threatened by the new regime — people of color, Muslims, LGBTQs, Jews, the disabled — will be a strong priority.

“But we will also need to defend ourselves. The first step in resisting this regime is to avoid getting too caught up with it — obsessively following the latest news about it and impulsively reacting to each new outrage. That kind of compulsive media consumption was part of what led to this situation in the first place. Let’s treat this clown show with the contempt it deserves and not forget the fundamental things that still apply — picking our battles, but also continuing to nourish the personal relations and creative activities that make life worthwhile in the first place. Otherwise, what will we be defending?”

So this disaster will hopefully shock people into coming together to care better for one another and themselves and addressing the looming crises of the coming decades more wholeheartedly and with far fewer illusory hopes that the existing system will save us.

[When the Southern racist George Wallace ran for President in 1968, there was an oft-stated scurrilous wish from some on the Left that he succeed, so as to bring on the Revolution. Of course, what we mean these days by Revolution is a little different, but now,  nearly fifty years later, Could it finally come to pass? Krobb is not the only one pointing out that this may be the worm that eats itself, and the last gasp of the misogynist white gerontocracy in American politics, dare one hope –FmH]

A Tour of Contested Walls Around the World

Should Donald Trump actually succeed in building his long-promised wall along Mexico’s border with the United States, he’ll be in good company. Walls have long been a symbol of—and a tool in—the division between sovereignties, “From the building of the Roman Limes in the second century CE … up to more modern structures such as the iconic Berlin Wall,” as University of Quebec geographer Elisabeth Vallet writes in her book, Borders, Fences and Walls.

Source: Francie Diep, Pacific Standard

The Crowd…

Tonight there was a protest in Los Angeles, condemning the pick of Steve Bannon as Sr Advisor to the president. I think Breitbart News is very good at stirring people into a frenzy and very bad at reporting the news. I think picking the guy who runs that for a position equal to Chief of Staff is dangerous. I wanted to go and take photos, my wife Tara wanted to go and hold up a sign. Ripley, my 6 year old son also wanted a sign but I’m not a fan of indoctrinating children to anything, and didn’t want to write up a political sign that him carrying around would suggest he was making the statement. I told him what the protest was about, and asked him what he wanted on his sign. I told him he could put anything that he wanted. He wanted a happy sign that would make other people happy too, so he decided his sign should say “I Love Cats.” I thought it was great. On the other side he decided the sign should say “It’s past my bedtime” because the protest was at night and he would be tired and this would show people that even though he was tired and it was late he was there with them. I loved this sentiment. We drew up the signs and headed out.

Tara and Ripley joined some friends of ours on one side of the crowd and I walked around taking photos. The mood of the evening was largely positive, people were protesting something they were upset about but the crowd working together. There were the expected “Ban Bannon” and “No KKK” signs, as well as some more original and light hearted ones including one older lady with a sign that read “I’ve been protesting this same fascist shit for 50 years!” and a guy with a trans flag and a sign saying “This isn’t the kind of dick I wanted.” Anytime I was near my family people were taking photos of my son and his sign, with many people telling him they loved it and it was the best sign there, which made him smile big.

He got in on the chanting, memorizing the rymes. He waved his sign for people and smiled when they took his photo. This was his first protest and he told me he really enjoyed it. He said he loved seeing all the people together, hoping for the same thing.

By 8:30 it was in fact well past his bedtime and we decided to leave. Tara and Rips started to move to the edge of the crowd and I was behind them. As I turned to leave two younger women tapped me on the shoulder. I only spoke with them for a moment but I’d guess they were late 20’s-ish.

“Hi, can we talk to you for a moment about your son’s sign?”
“It’s very cute, but we are concerned that if someone sees it and takes a photo it will misrepresent the feeling of this event.”
“Lots of people have taken photos of it all night, everyone has been enjoying it”
“That’s the problem, it’s sending the wrong message – I Love Cats? This isn’t about cats”
“He’s 6, that’s what he wanted on his sign. I’m not going to put my politics on a sign and make him carry it.”
“He doesn’t support immigrants rights?”
“He’s 6”
“There are lots of kids here with political signs”
“Sure, that their parents wrote for them”
“But what will people think if they see this sign”
“I don’t really care”
“Are you really upset that a 6 year old isn’t protesting correctly?”
“You wouldn’t be saying that if you weren’t a white man, maybe you should meet an immigrant and find out how they feel, you are mocking the serious people here… Racist!”

I turned around and to walk away and one of them punched me in the back of the head.

I kept walking, they shouted something but I wasn’t listening anymore.

In the 5 minute walk back to our car, at least 10 more people said “Love that sign!!”

As some of you know, my wife is an immigrant…

The sun will rise tomorrow.

Source: Sean Bonner, newsletter