Now the truly hard part begins, America.
Your Democratic savior from the most fascist, least qualified candidate ever for President of the United States lost to the monster. Both houses of Congress are Republican. In all likelihood, the new Republican president is going to be able to appoint a long-lasting conservative majority to the Supreme Court in the next four years. It would be reasonable to just throw in the towel. You could move to Canada. You could abandon politics forever and just try to get by with whatever scraps the millionaires and billionaires deem your share.
Grow tougher, grow stronger, grow more resilient. Definitely become more resourceful. Because there is no cavalry coming to save us. There is only us.
I’m neither Democrat nor Republican. Many of my friends are, too. Let me tell you, what those of you who believed in Clinton are feeling today is what most of us feel all the time: Supreme disillusionment. Our candidates struggle to even get on ballots, much less get on CNN, MSNBC or elected to office. Ours is an isolated world view, ignored and often ridiculed by corporate news media and the major party cronies. To survive, we have to have pretty thick skin.
Which is what you must do now. Grow tougher, grow stronger, grow more resilient. Definitely become more resourceful. Because there is no cavalry coming to save us. There is only us.
One of my friends posted on Facebook yesterday that he is looking forward to social media becoming a space where he and his friends can just post pictures of their kids and vacations again. It can, of course. Perhaps it will. But the notion that social media should be abandoned as a place of political awareness and activism now that the presidential election is over is misguided. This country has just elected quite possibly the most dangerous president in its history. I reiterate that there is no cavalry coming to the rescue.While we may not want to dwell on such a frightening reality, ignoring it won’t avert the worst possible outcomes.
That so few people believed Donald Trump could win this election is testament to our distance from reality. That is a distance we have to close if we are to make the best of this horrendous situation. That means no longer relying on billionaires and corporations to drive our political movements. No more listening to pragmatists and incrementalists who consider “unrealistic” progressive goals like single-payer healthcare, free college tuition, student debt relief, ending for-profit prisons, a $15 an hour minimum wage, ending the useless war on drugs and reining in drone wars and a wildly out-of-control military imperialism. These are goals that help Americans of every economic class, and they are the sort of things that definitely would have been a better defense against our president-elect. These issues and this fight for them cannot go away now, cannot be abandoned in pursuit of more centrist compromises. In order to pull our government out of its rightward death spiral, toward total corporate rule and unabridged power for the wealthy, we have to make these type of issues into hard demands.
Like a seedling growing through a sidewalk that eventually becomes a tree, we have to be bold and believe in our own strength to conquer the seemingly unconquerable.
Otherwise, we just try to coast along on a steep downhill road littered with boulders. Doing nothing, ignoring politics, will send us flying into more pain and misery.
We have to do this. Not them. Us. Our elected representatives are mostly millionaires, people. They are not all greedy assholes, but far too many are, and they thrive in a system that gives even more millions to those in power so that they can divert billions of dollars to corporations and the enormously wealthy oligarchs of America. We struggle to pay our bills, to get necessary and affordable healthcare, to educate our children, to find affordable homes and retire without going into poverty. Meanwhile, millions of jobs are sent overseas and to Mexico in order to improve the bottom line of corporations and their CEOs. In the simplest terms possible, we must understand (as I suspect many Trump supporters did) that this is a full-scale assault on the working and middle class of America by the 1%. That is not an exaggeration. It is this proposition alone that could probably explain Trump’s election. The good news is that this is a belief that both progressives and conservatives can rally around together. We need to consolidate that power. If we squander it with partisan culture war bullshit, we squander one of our few sources of strength.
We have to become aware. We have to use the vast resources of social media and the internet to find sources of the news and politics that we can trust. We must come to grips with the fact that mainstream media (ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, MSNBC, FOX News, etc.) are all owned by corporations who don’t give two shits that Donald Trump won this election. It is not a conspiracy theory when I tell you that corporate news media gave Trump billions of dollars of free air time throughout this election merely so they could rake in hundreds of millions of dollars in advertising profits. We have to know that our news, by and large, has become a profit-making enterprise, not a truth-revealing enterprise. We have to become more discerning about what we believe and who we believe and when we believe it. Social media, for all of its faults, still offers a vast network of news sources, far more than we had twenty years ago. The challenge ahead is to be prudent and diligent in determining which sources fairly and objectively inform us.
It’s time to put ourselves on the line for the things we deserve, but which they more and more frequently say we don’t work hard enough to deserve. It’s time to channel our rage into action. Time to unleash our frustration and turn it into a passion for disruption. We must be prepared to do those things we are not always comfortable with.
More than anything, perhaps, we must become activists. Democracy, done right, is not docile. Becoming an activist doesn’t mean everyone has to participate in marches and public protests. Those who can and are inclined to that kind of protest should, of course. Without public events, political movements seldom get covered in the press. Bodies in the streets can be powerful disrupters, and disruption is the key to protest. Remarkably, however, subtle gestures can disrupt as powerfully as carrying a sign and blocking a highway or crowding a shopping mall. For a celebrity like Colin Kaepernick, taking a knee for a few minutes every Sunday has created a firestorm of controversy and a welcome national conversation about racism and police brutality in America.
However, even non-celebrities can contribute disruptive acts, and with ease. Well-timed boycotts, say, can have a profound effect on the powers that be. Those powers care about one thing: Money. Organizing intense national boycotts of banks, corporations, and political organizations over short periods of time can effectively raise awareness and dent the ledgers of those who bribe our politicians. Social media, again, gives us the ability to organize such events with relative swiftness and ease. Participating, say, in a one day or one week boycott of credit card companies and corporate-owned businesses and restaurants would be relatively painless to you and me. What inconvenience it does cause us must be something we learn to bear. Because if we can’t bear tiny inconveniences, we are hopeless.
To put it in perspective, we need to look back in history at the great cultural and political movements in the United States. The fight for independence, the abolitionist movement, the fight for women’s right to vote, the Civil Rights movement, the gay rights movement, and most recently Black Lives Matter. The participants in these movements engaged in real battles, suffered real harm and, too frequently, death. The strategy of Martin Luther King’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference was to put non-violent protesters in situations that were most likely to erupt in one-sided violence against them. They did not want violence, but they knew that the only way to end injustice was to bring it into the light, especially when cameras were around. These movements and their protests lasted for years, not days, weeks or months. Had the protesters been too squeamish for the inconveniences we are faced with, black people would still not have the right to vote today.
Too long we have been polite and patient with those who run our government. Meanwhile, they’ve grown bloated and content with their extravagant lifestyles, too often turning their very profitable years in public office to 1000% pay raises in lobbying firms after their terms end. It’s time to stop being polite. It’s time to become angry. It’s time to put ourselves on the line for the things we deserve, but which they more and more frequently say we don’t work hard enough to deserve. It’s time to channel our rage into action. Time to unleash our frustration and turn it into a passion for disruption. We must be prepared to do those things we are not always comfortable with. Speaking out should no longer be a once every four year act. Spreading news of political malfeasance or misbehavior shouldn’t either. Raising awareness of movements, protests, petitions, boycotts, divestment and more should be something we do routinely, not sporadically. Only we can rescue ourselves. No one else is going to fix our government. No one else is going to stop skyrocketing income inequality that leaves so many millions of us struggling to get by, to provide for our families, to evade poverty.
So, grow that skin thicker. Grow brave. Grow strong and outspoken. Like a seedling growing through a sidewalk that eventually becomes a tree, we have to be bold and believe in our own strength to conquer the seemingly unconquerable.
My heart is with you all. I pray for your courage. #LoveAndProtestNOW #NotThemUs