Monday, November 14, 2016

Hiring the Alligators

What does it mean when every news outlet in the US is publishing/broadcasting ways to talk to one's children about the election of Donald Trump? Even Andy Borowitz of the New Yorker pens a quasi-serious piece on how he explained this to his 6-year old daughter.

In the days immediately following the election, there were random acts of hate committed in the president-elect's name. A few were here in Minnesota. Some, of course, will be discovered to be bogus, but too many of them are turning out to be very real. And very scary.

Adding to the terror are the appointments to his staff. Known hate mongers like Steve Bannon formerly of Breitbart. Leading contenders for Secretary of State include Newt Gingrich and Rudy Giuliani. Sarah Palin for Secretary of the Interior...the list goes on.

Concerned as I was about the possibility of a Trump victory, I was equally concerned about what would happen if he lost. Well, he won, and the incipient insurrection is coming from not the left...but from the center. And the center is taking to the streets protesting the difference between a win in the electoral college and the loss of the popular vote. This is the second time in recent history (fourth time overall) that a president has been elected with that kind of split. The most recent was George Bush II....and we all know how that went. We're still paying for the wars started by that administration with no end in sight. 

This time, We, the People are faced with a homophobic, misogynistic,  bankruptcy-king facing a string of consumer fraud suits in civil court which his lawyers are scrambling to settle. And he is the duly elected president and we have elected electoral college. The majority of We, the People, felt differently....but not enough to stop this debacle. But I don't want to talk about that.

I want to talk about taking to the streets in protest. I have two words for that idea:


Oh, we all cheered as the regimes in north Africa tumbled one after another. We cheered when the kids of Tahrir Square brought down Hosni Mubarak. Well, some people cheered. I did not. I kept asking, "What are they going to replace it with?" I even wrote a blog episode about it a year after the fall of Tahrir Square.  The bottom line for all the Arab Spring revolutions came down to a lack of Plan B. No one, not one single revolutionary council went into the fray with a government waiting in the wings. It's as if they did not believe they could succeed, but they did....and then what?

Such is the situation here. People are demonstrating, marching, throwing epithets around....but what is the plan? Are you wanting to overthrow the government, and if so, are you ready for the military government that will take its place after the coup?  Because if you overthrow the government, it will require the approval and complicit presence of the generals. Hillary will NOT be the new president. 

So, what is it you're asking for? 
  • The removal of the electoral college? I believe that requires a Constitutional amendment. Could take a while to get one of those through. [Correction, it does not require an amendment, but it's kinda complicated. Here's an explanation
  • President-Elect Trump's resignation before his swearing in? That leaves us Mike Pence as President....and he's the governor who signed the law requiring funerals for miscarried fetuses. 
  • I cannot think of a third let me know if you have one.
Whatever it is, it had damn well better be on its way to being in-place before you even think about toppling this government. For good or for bad, this government is fairly functional and if you bring it down, you will leave this rather large swath of manifest destiny in utter chaos....and I don't think that's a real plan. 

So, what is Plan B?

There is none, at least not one I've seen yet. I'm thinking no one learned from the last go 'round. 

My little cuzlet who's studying in Canada is part of a movement taking to the streets to protest the American election, but they have some very clearly defined goals. He wrote:
1) communicate solidarity with my friends in the States who stand to be personally affected

2) communicate discontent as a global citizen that a solution to climate change is now in peril, and that various precarious international conflicts might be further destabilized

3) communicate to the Canadian politicians that politicians similar to Trump (such as Kelly Leitch) will be met with strident opposition
4) communicate that if Trump pursues and promotes the hateful side of his base, he will be met with nothing but opposition, and 
5) increase the number of people in the crowds by 1, to increase the odds of a media narrative that boy, people are really pissed about Trump and his alt-right supporters.
I followed up the first question with a second: What outcome do you want to see?
1) A President Trump who caves to popular and media pressure and abandons the alt-right and his misogynistic ways and governs more reasonably (following his long talk with Obama I think there's hope for this), and 

2) A Canadian government and populace that remains inoculated against Trump's brand of racism, even as a leading contender for the conservative party aims to promote it.
This is a wise child. (We already know he's smart, he's getting a PhD in astrophysics from the University of Toronto. That's pretty smart.) Smarts are really beyond the point here. This is about a reasonable expectation while still voicing disgust and dismay. And that's an okay thing to do, especially in Canada because political action here directly impacts there. 

The pitchfork brigade we're seeing in some places is not about reasonable expectation.

So, here's the thing. DON'T TOPPLE THE GOVERNMENT unless you really want a military junta running these here United States. That's not how to change this. There are better things you can do.

Begin now to take back the midterm elections. Work on finding candidates that are, above and beyond everything else, honest. Tell them being the nominee means: 
  1. no dark money, 
  2. no superpacs,
  3. no attack ads, 
  4. no hyperbole, 
  5. no lies. 

The job of a candidate is to talk with the constituency about the needs of the constituency. Work on providing concrete examples to contrast and compare. Advise the candidate there will be no sinking to the gutter level. RAISE the bar on the conversation, and don't let it slip. This coming election is not about big words and lofty ideas; it's about what your district needs from Washington. The midterms will be about how the first year of a Trump presidency is perceived by the voters. The conversation has to be pragmatic and factual. Everyone is tired of bullshit. 

And we're about to be tired of something infinitely more tragic. 

Well-documented reports are coming in from all over the country about children harassing children. White kids telling black kids to "go back to Africa, we don't want you here," Muslim girls having their scarves torn off their heads, Muslim boys being pushed around, swastikas on lockers, walls, and cemeteries, dark-haired kids being beaten up because they look Latino. The message that sends is the most terrifying of all...that kids think it's okay to beat up on other kids because Donald Trump was elected POTUS. 

It's all about perception. I say that a lot. Really. I know. 

So, here's what to do:  you don't like what you're getting, change it....but change it with the midterms. This nation is all about peaceful transition of power. We, the People neither need nor want a coup. Don't risk a full collapse unless you have one seriously good plan on to how to run a government already in place and with the full backing of the not-so-silent majority. If you don't....well.....just look at Donald Trump's newest face. This is a guy who just stepped into a big, steaming pile of political and intellectual manure. Sure, it's rich in nutrients and will make things grow...but it's not instant like Jell-O Pudding. It requires experience.

Just look at that face. It's the same look the kids used to give Ziggy when he was trying to explain rocket science to toddlers. Can't say it inspires much confidence

"Shit, what the hell is he talking about"

Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Draining the swamp does not meaning hiring the alligators 
as they emerge from muck.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, you have embraced my motto - "Today is a day of infinite possibilities". Congrats on your closing and may the wind be at your back.