In a Washington Post column this Tuesday, “If you aren’t filled with rage at Trump, you aren’t paying attention,” Paul Waldman wrote: “Before the pandemic, Trump was one of the worst presidents in our history. But now he has laid waste to our country, with his unique combination of incompetence and malevolence — and he’s not done yet. Once we finally rid ourselves of him, it will take years to recover. But as we do, we should never for a moment forget what he was and what he did to us. And we should never stop being angry about it.”
I woke up this past Saturday morning filled with dread about possible outcomes that seemed feasible for later that night in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As the dominoes fell that evening, I was thrilled that my fears of Tulsa being a “powder keg on the brink of exploding” turned out to be unfounded. Last week was, in fact, a pretty good week for democracy in America. Let’s take a moment to briefly recap and celebrate some of the good news, and then focus in on why we must remain vigilant regarding what it bodes for the future.
“Take that down off your Facebook page!!!”
That’s the admonishment I received from a friend of mine the other day after I posted a graphic informing people about the March for Justice taking place near my home today. She told me how unsafe she felt in her own city in the midst of all the protests and accompanying police presence.
The violence is, of course, horrible. But it is temporary… it shall pass. The racism and the injustice, however, will not pass so quickly. It is pervasive, and has been broadly emboldened by a President who seems to enjoy exacerbating it, along with white nationalists and other outsiders who have infiltrated the protests in a deliberate effort to exploit them, turn them violent and incite racial division. I was pleased that the protest I participated in today was a peaceful outpouring of love and passion from hundreds of people who were dedicated to making their community a better place for themselves and their families.
In a world in which our activities have been abruptly curtailed by the novel coronavirus, warm weather, relaxed restrictions and boredom stemming from months in isolation are already enticing many people to engage in behaviors that put their lives, and the lives of others, at greater and unnecessary risk. We can expect that such behaviors will continue and even increase.
We might observe others choosing to take high risk actions that could result in the spreading of COVID-19, like enjoying a meal inside a crowded restaurant. We might infer that if the government allows it, and that if these people think it is okay to engage in these behaviors, then it is also okay to engage in these activities ourselves. We might feel that if we don’t take such actions ourselves, we are “missing out” on what everyone else is doing.
Times of instability provide valuable lessons for how falling dominoes can drive extensive societal changes in very small periods of time. The past few weeks, and the coming few weeks, have and will illustrate this in exceptional fashion. Those of us who choose to do so have an opportunity to be self-aware as it all happens, and we can learn valuable lessons from observing the process.
The Race for the Democratic Presidential Nomination
Let’s start by looking at the Democratic primary race for the presidential nomination. The early results from Iowa and New Hampshire were clear… the majority of the democratic party was supporting candidates who were more moderate (including Buttigieg, Klobuchar, and Biden). On the more progressive side, Sanders ran as a populist progressive, while Warren ran as a pragmatic progressive, trying to appeal to both the center and the left. But even together, the vote for Sanders and Warren didn’t match the vote totals for the more moderate candidates.
We had a good run.
You were there for me 24/7 during my 60 years as a United States citizen. You didn’t ask much of me except to show up to vote every couple of years, which, of course, I did. And frankly, beyond the whole voting thing, I did not give you a lot of thought. I just figured you would always be there. OK, I am embarrassed to admit it, but I took you for granted.
You were really A-M-A-Z-I-N-G back in the day! You took great care of my grandparents, and my great aunts and uncles when they showed up at the turn of the last century. When they first arrived they could not have been much to look at….no fancy college degrees and a really strange language. But somehow you saw through all that; you saw their potential when no one else did. They built successful careers and founded businesses, paid their taxes, learned English, and sent their children to college. They voted.
On Thanksgiving this year I am profoundly thankful for so many things. I am thankful for having amazing friends and family in my life who love and support me, and whom I love and support. I am thankful for the extraordinary freedoms and privileges I have living in America, even if they are quite imperfect. I am thankful to be in good health. I am thankful for all the majestic beauty around me… I am so lucky to be able to look out my living room window, past my rose garden, and see the morning sunshine reflecting on the ocean beyond.
A man walks into a football stadium.
The man has been credibly accused of the sexual assault or sexual harassment of well over twenty woman; several have credibly accused him of rape; one was just 13 years old at the time.
The man has an extensive history of betraying, in a truly traitorous manner, the national security interests of the United States of America and its allies in deference to supporting the interests of Vladamir Putin and Russia.
And he gets an ovation from a significant segment of the 101,821 people attending the football game.
Where’s the Whistleblower?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 23, 2019
I am the Whistleblower because I have seen you engage in the extortion of a US ally, holding them hostage by withholding U.S. military aid unless they further your personal political ambitions by falsely defaming your opponent.
I am the Whisleblower because I have seen your actions in Syria lead to the unnecessary slaughter of our former Kurdish allies, the release of more than 100 key ISIS prisoners, the dropping of all sanctions against Turkey in spite of the war crimes they have apparently committed, and your ceding control of that part of Syria to Russia and Turkey in betrayal of American interests.
Watching this shithole presidency self-destruct in real-time as the rats that have enabled it start devouring each other is already proving to be one of the most amusing things to happen in a very long time. Karma is a bitch.
Yet it is not a time to rejoice. The public spectacle of all of this happening is hardly a source of pride for America. As the dominoes fall, the destruction of American values and interests triggered by this administration’s actions will cause disturbing negative repercussions that will be felt for generations.