Don’t Turn Off; Tune In

It’s almost two weeks since the election and I’m like most progressives: still reeling and wondering just what to do. Uncertainty seems to be the only certainty when trying to predict the near term future of American politics. Many are tempted to simply ignore what is going on because they can’t stomach it. That is exactly the wrong thing to do! Let me try and explain why.

As of this writing President-elect Trump has named five people to his team. The best of the picks is Reince Priebus. When Priebus is at the top of the rankings you know America is in trouble. I don’t have the time and space to go through the other four in detail today but the common traits are bigotry, xenophobia and prejudice gone wild. If that reflects American values then I’m missed something on the sixty plus years of my journey called living in America!

There are also the instances where it appears national security has been totally disregarded because it interfered Trump’s lifestyle. While dodging the press does not violate any laws or endanger the nation’s security it leaves the public less informed. Being elected President entails an obligation to the nation and the world. You have to pay attention to who is in the room and what instrument you communicate via. The American people elected Donald Trump as their next President, not his kids or buddies.

Settling a lawsuit for $25 million when you bragged you could very easily win it and you don’t settle because that only invites more lawsuits isn’t something that promotes confidence in your conduct, honesty or character.

I sincerely hope I’m incorrect, but I expect the Trump presidency to be a disaster for America and its allies. I see the general advance America has made over my lifetime not only being paused but actually taking steps backward during Trump’s reign. Not only is Trump tragically unprepared for the office; he has surrounded himself with equally unqualified extremists and is now supplementing that team with radicals for the most part. It would require something akin to a miracle for bad things not to happen.

Politically the main ally of the progressive movement is the Democratic Party. The Democrats have lost the White House, have control of neither chamber of Congress, hold the minority of Governor’s mansions and have the fewest state legislature seats since the Great Depression. From the standpoint of elected officials the Democrats have very little influence and control. Progressives can’t expect much help from within the system.

What progressives must do is stay informed and involved! Pay attention and hold the feet of officials – very much including Trump’s – to the fire when they make bad moves. Call those moves out and make as much noise as possible in the process. As agencies (i.e. Planned Parenthood) get hurt by the retraction of government support (or at least indifference) volunteer and/or donate to help offset the harm.

Your disgust is a normal reaction; use it as motivation. Your ignorance is your own fault; stay involved at least to the point of staying informed. Your apathy is what the forces of evil are hoping for and the only way they can succeed in the long term. There isn’t a lot of corrective action we can take until the next election rolls around but disengagement is the worst thing we can do in the interim.

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