Sunday, March 5, 2017

Trump's Seventh Weekend

Donald Trump has now been President of the United States for six weeks, and we are in the seventh weekend with Trump as President.  Most people reading this consider these past six weeks a scary disaster.

United States of America:  The upside down flag signals distress.
So much has happened, most of it not very good, during these past 7 weeks.  We've seen huge protests all over the country; we've seen Democrats in Congress staging all-night filibusters; we've seen people who are here without documentation (often people who have been here for decades) pulled away from their families, sometimes in front of those families, we've seen incredible messes at airports as the DHS tried to enforce Trump's "Muslim ban"; we've seen and heard Trump apologists, people both inside and outside the administration, say that Trump and his agenda is "good".

We've heard of or seen proposals to make defense contractors even richer while we "rebuild" the military. We've heard of or seen proposals to take money out of the State Department, to get rid of ObamaCare (and pull health care from tens of millions of people); we've heard of or seen of proposals to cut food stamps, Social Security, Medicare, you name it; anything that helps people (vs. anything that gives more and more money to the richest among us) should be cut according to the epistle of Trump and the Republcians.

Jobs?  But he's going to bring back jobs!   

Jobs? Coal?  Infrastructure?  Any of us who have followed these issues over the last few years know that these issues are not easy to resolve and the idea that Trump will wave a magic wand and suddenly we will have tens of thousands of coal mining and road building jobs is just plain malarkey.  I would like to think that many of the Trump supporters were well-meaning people who believed in the propaganda of the Trump "miracle" of jobs (despite the 15 million jobs added under Obama) and they weren't just stone-cold racists.  In case you don't know, Trump is inheriting one of the strongest economics of any incoming president in modern times.  

The Russians!

And the Russians...  We KNOW the Russians were meddling in the 2016 elections; we don't know what the role (if any) Trump et al played in the meddling as we don't have any smoking guns yet.  But we have plenty of blame, consternation, and confusion to go around.      

Yesterday and today, we've heard allegations from the Trump administration that Obama wire "tapped" Trump during the campaign!  Now Trump wants to investigate Obama!  What's that about?

The Best Defense is a Strong Offense.

Now the best defense is a strong offense, and that is what Trump is doing here... He is pulling the focus away from him and his band of Russian-influenced flunkies and he is trying to put the focus back on Obama and the Democrats.  Unfortunately we have many stupid people in this country that will believe him.

So what happens to all of us now?  

How do we make any sense out of this absolute and terrifying chaos?   

First of all, if you are as disturbed about the Trump/Republican administration as I am, don't assume that you represent an overwhelming majority of the people of this country.  The threat is real, and it isn't just coming from Trump; it's coming from people who actually believe the guy and voted for him.  As we look on in horror, we have to remember that somewhere between 38 and 44% of the voters of this country STILL approve of the guy!  I find that number more disturbing than anything that Trump is doing. (We ignore or dismiss polls at our own peril.)

Secondly, we have to remember that people vote with their pocketbooks.  Right now the stock market is on a tear and jobs numbers keep increasing.  (Thanks Obama!)  If these trends continue under Trump, the Republicans may well hold on to Congress in 2018, no matter what horrors the right manages to inflict on our liberties, our Constituion, our voting rights, our democratic institutions.  (Most of the economic "improvement" under Republicans, however, will probably be a bubble, as we really have an economy that Trickles UP vs. Trickles down.  More about that later.)  But we still have to be aware of this.. Many people value jobs and money in their pockets more than they value freedom of speech or voting rights.. especially freedoms and rights of "others".     

So how do we fight back?

1.  Keep informed.  Watch/read at more liberal sites/stations, but also give a cursory look to see what the righties are talking about.  Don't allow yourself to be blind-sided by people spouting Republican or Trump talking points.  Watch for "fake news" from the right or the left --meaning don't get taken in by headlines or clickbait sites.  And if a headline is too good to be true (something like "Republicans turning on Trump.  Impeachment hearings to begin soon."), it probably is not true.    

2.  Indivisible.  There are many, many movements and meetings out there.  Join one.  Find and like a Facebook page for one or more.  Petitioning and letter-writing and calling are great and important, but showing up in person for a march or at a CongressCritter's office really makes an impression.

3.  Choose one or two issues that are most important to you.
 If you spread yourself too thin, you may find yourself depressed, overwhelmed, and unable to do anything.

4.  Keep a dialogue.  Posting and sharing memes that show Donald Trump as Hitler or Trump at his ugliest may make you feel good (and therefore some of that might be necessary), but they don't help in rebuilding this country .. and that's what we need to do:  We need to rebuild this country from the ground up, neighbor to neighbor, friend to friend, family member to family member.  Some people may be too far gone, but many are not.  Trump did not win with a majority, and the Republicans as a whole are not a majority party in terms of the people of this country.  

5.  Be strong in your convictions and your beliefs.  No, shipping out millions of undocumented immigrants is NOT good for the country; it's horrific to see parents being pulled away from their children....    Keeping people out of the country just because they are refugees, students, visitors, or immigrants from certain Muslim-majority countries is NOT good for the country.  Be careful about getting into arguments with people who try to convince you of things such as "they are criminals; they shouldn't be here".  It's much more complex than that and you may not be able to argue with someone who tries such oversimplification.

5.  Take some time for yourself.  Preserving and protecting the ideals and the values of the United States of America in these troubled times is energy-sapping.  There is so much against us.  It's OK to take a few days off from politics, a few days off from even reading about politics.  Especially as we greet Spring.

So far, this has been the most significant (and depressing) year that I can remember.  Work hard, fight hard, keep the faith!  We can win this, for ourselves, our families, the world!  But it won't be easy!

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