I didn't vote for Trump. I called fascist early in his campaign. I did graduate work on Italian Fascism, the Sonderweg, the lead-up to the Nazis, and the historiography of the Holocaust. I know a fucking fascist when I see one. I was a little shocked by how many people were ok with his shenanigans, but then again the groundwork had been laid by the Republican Party and rightwing media for decades.
I'm disappointed that the powers of be have done so little to directly address Trump and what a batshit crazy wannabe dictator he is, but then people will rarely stand up for the politically unpowerful when it means sacrificing their own power. Which is how you end up with things like the Catholic Church's child molestation scandals or Jerry Sandusky.
I've been more politically active in the past few months than ever before in my life. I still feel largely impotent. I called and emailed Paul Ryan to ask him to preserve the Affordable Care Act, but I dont' think he actually gives a shit. The people in his shitty district want him to repeal it, his funders want him to repeal it, so it will get repealed.
The reaction to Trump has been telling. The Dems have been using it to ask me for money (something they do three times a day anyways, to be fair). Every nonprofit I remotely support has been emailing me for money. Shops I like have been using protest as a way to sell hats or albums or natural fabrics. We are trying to spend our way out of this, turn it into an opportunity to drive up sales. I know it is for a good cause (and I was happy to give money to help lobby against Trump's appointees), but it is still a little gross. Like, THIS is our idea?
I've been vocally skeptical about protest marches for a while, but I was impressed by the Woman's March, and I think similar marches could do some actual good. I just hope they don't devolve into the same pool of far-left groups shutting down highways or smashing burger kings or camping out to like protest capitalism or whatever. I've been disappointed at how unfocused the Black Lives Matter movement has been. Instead of trying to seek actionable, achievable outcomes, it has become, in my opinion, too broad and too unrealistic. It's really hard to see a path from the movement to any sort of actual change. And don't get me started that they have an internationally focused charity as their fiscal sponsor because they want to end racism globally. I think they had a tough hill to climb from the get-go because they are a)black and b)going against the police, which is tough politically and tends to bring out the asshole anarchists, which isn't the image you want the American people to see. My experience with those protests, though, was that they were more expressions of anger without any policy follow through or realistic policy objectives. In oakland they were demanding the Oakland Police be disbanded, as if THAT was ever going to happen.
Again, focused, achievable, actionable. That's the key, I think. Stuff that people can actually do, like try to shut down Betsy Davos' nomination, or block Trump's crazier executive order, or win swing districts, or (longer term, bigger lift) support redistricting efforts. In the end, a lot of this is going to come down to voter outreach and registration and making it easier for young people and brown people to vote. Easy to say, hard to do. Especially when you are dealing with an uneducated populace (I'm speaking Americans generally) and really complicated, boring issues like environmental regulatory policy etc. that no one understands but that has a huge impact. We also can't afford to get cynical. Hardest of all, we somehow need to not throw people under the bus while at the same time tamping down the "but what about me!!!!!" impulse that is so destructively american. It's this weird thing I try to tell myself and teach my daughter - you are important and your needs matter, but you also one of seven billion people on this planet, so you are not the only person in the world who matters. It's not all about you, which is a frustrating thing to hear when you've been ignored your whole life, but yeah. It's not.
Also, this can't just be about Democrats taking back control of congress and the white house. This has to be about the Republican party moving to a more moderate/less batshit crazy place. They are doing incredibly well at the same time they are totally fucking crazy. So there's that.
Mostly, I just want to find a balance between fighting the good fight and not being consumed by the abuser in chief. I wake up at 2am freaking out about how shitty things are. That's not good.
This week has taught me that things you spent decades building can be destroyed in a moment, and that there are way more people opposed to the Trump presidency than for it.
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