There’s a new reality in the United States of America. We have to deal with it whether we like it or not. We ignore it at our own peril. The people who ignored it on election day helped to bring it about. The new regime can’t destroy America as easily as they would like to. Yet they can cause enough damage so that it may take the rest of our lives to repair it.
The cabinet choices leave nothing to the imagination. Any attempt to win people over or meet people halfway seems to be discarded. Many of them appear to be amateurs, never having held office or served in any other leadership positions. Others have records of incompetence and are prone to making mistakes. Where, exactly, is the new administration coming from?
Some things will become evident right away. Others will take a few years to figure out. But for now:
First, we are still at the early stages of the troubles. It’s a sort of civil war. The other side has been fighting it for eight years. They did everything they could to thwart Barack Obama. They even fought against things which were truly in their own best interest. This was mainly done through the Republican Congress. They’ve blocked over 500 bills, some of which would have helped the disgusted and angry electorate. For them, throwing the baby out with the bath water has become a way of life. I wonder what they’ll say yes to instead of no.
Now, the humanitarians, environmentalists, feminists and pacifists must come together to struggle for what they believe in. In doing this, we need to do all we can to keep it a non-violent conflict. This is extremely important. We don’t want a lot of death and mayhem. We want to be part of the non-violent protest tradition. Yet we must join the fight. You can have a war against war. You can fight for respect and for justice.
The antagonism between the two Americas has reached an extreme point. If there’s not much violence as yet, there’s a disquieting threat of violence. Violence is in the air. Yet violence is what we’re trying to prevent.
Some of us want to reach out to our fellow citizens across the political divide. Do any of them want to reach out to us as well?
Second, this is where the “checks and balances” system of the USA will receive one of its most intense tests ever. The immune system of the body politic will find itself exposed to a series of diseases. Will the country as a whole remain healthy?
The voice of the majority of the people will find a way to make itself heard. The Republicans can’t change the laws of this country very easily. We must make sure that they strictly follow the laws that are on the books. The news media need to be thorough, vigorous, honest and forceful. The people and the media should interact and work together.
Third, we need to formulate some solid responses. There are things which we can do as individual citizens. We can act in concert with and collaboration with our fellow citizens. Attitudes and stances can be of consequence. Actions and networking are even more important. Here are some ideas:
- Murder, torture, cruelty and exploitation are continuing problems for the human race. Some enjoy it or glory in it, or pretend to do so. Others take the opposite path. We disdain war except for the rare, rare times when it becomes unavoidable. Violence is only really necessary in self-defense. If someone’s trying to kill you, you fight back or try to run. It’s difficult to deal with. It’s hard to really make a difference. Yet we need to try.
- I’ve also stressed elsewhere that we need to celebrate, promote and live within the truest sort of absolute reality. Living in a false and delusional reality can lead to nothing but trouble.
- Be aware and wary. Search out the truth and share it, promote it. Search out important things which have actually happened and are happening.
- Keep after your representatives to do the right thing. They’d like to be re-elected in most cases. Keep the pressure up.
- Donate time, energy and money to groups and causes that will resist the more destructive parts of the oncoming agenda. These include groups which help women, children, poor people, sick people, retirees, immigrants, the LGBT community (and others who’ll be threatened in the next four years).
- When you see people who feel that it’s OK to be a bigot once again, don’t give them get away with it. I’ve seen plenty of evidence of this, both in media reports and in my own life. People feel “re-entitled” to attack, swindle and insult immigrants, women, African-Americans, Native Americans, Middle Eastern people and more. You may get a chance to help someone. Be careful and try not to risk your life. Yet if you see something, say something. Some seem to glory in “political incorrectness”
- Appeal to the young people and try to bring them into the cause. They have the most to lose, through the ravages of climate change and through serious economic and educational challenges. Not “Give me mine now!” but “Posterity Now!” Show young people that a lot of us really care about what happens to them. Give serious consideration and respect to future generations as well.
- Keep reminding the new administration that we’re living under a rule of the majority of the people by a minority of the people. There’s no way that they have any sort of real mandate. Make this known. Find further proof and evidence of this and tell people about it. They won largely by sheer luck and by a series of irregularities.
- We need to try to reach out to the new administration and their supporters as best we can. Reaching out to the common, everyday people on the other side is important. They’re not all ideologues, bigots and worse. Some of them have a more complex sense of humanity and may be willing to listen to reason. We need to try to persuade or convert people from the other side. At least, maybe we can reduce some of the discord. I think we’ll have better luck with the common people than we will with their leaders. You never know though. We’ll see what happens.
- One of the most difficult things will be to try to accept and respect people even as they refuse to accept and respect you. This isn’t a matter of taking whatever comes. We’ll stand up and take a stand. We’re not sheep, wimps, masochists or losers. We’re strong and unique women and men. We’re not going to let our civil and human rights be taken away.
- Some of us still listen to what Abraham Lincoln called “the better angels of our nature.” Like Lincoln in ways, we’re trying to stay out of the ugliest partisan bickering and accept the others as best we can. Yet we need to try to prevent whatever we can prevent. We need to find imaginative, ethical ways to resist the new administration’s agenda and temper its impact on society.
- We artists will have a part to play as well. Good writing, poetry, music, drawing, painting dance, theatre and cinema will thrive and surprise us. Creativity often rises to the challenge in difficult times. This can serve as both healing balm and as inspiration.
- I’ll add more to this as it comes to me or as people share their ideas with me. Happy New Years and Good luck!
This is likely my final blog post related to politics in this space For similar future posts, check my new blog, which includes Political, Social and Environmental studies and comments, post 2016:
George Lackoff, an important and sensible voice. I’ll write more about him in my new Political Reality blog:
The Indivisible Guide, also an important take on the whole mess:
Some interesting takes on the “What Do We Do Now?” puzzle:
“And there is Truth in the Old Saying, That if you make yourself a Sheep, the Wolves will eat you.” Benjamin Franklin
Abraham Lincoln, March 4, 1861. He was taking office and still trying to prevent the Civil War:
“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”