Saturday, June 15, 2019

The Die Was Cast in November of 2016

The people of Hong Kong are showing us how people should act in a democracy. We are failing the test.

In recent weeks I have been increasingly angered and unnerved and the lack of political action by opponents of the current regime. Trump keeps escalating, whether it be through suppressing the Mueller Report, claiming he would accept foreign help in the election, putting immigrants in concentration camps, putting said camps under military jurisdiction, engaging in a massively destructive trade war, manipulating the census to rig elections, and engaging in naked political corruption. In response to this, Nancy Pelosi won't even begin impeachment. The massive protests of 2017 have not repeated themselves.

These last few weeks I have felt an overwhelming urge to be on the barricades, but there's no one to lead the way or even to join up with me. I have never felt more frightened or downhearted since Trump has come to power, because back during the Muslim ban and last summer's family separation, people were taking action. Nowadays they are paralyzed.

Part of this is due to the poor leadership of the Democratic Party, which has been narrowly focused on electoral politics. Once the House was taken, all the fight seems to have been gone, even though winning the House was supposed to be the beginning, not the end of the story. Another part is the fact that so much of the "Resistance" is made up of comfortably middle-class suburban whites who are too complacent, protected, and numbed to be able to engage in the direct action necessary to fight back.

I also think, however, that so many have lost faith because they now believe, quite rightly I am afraid, that the die was cast in November of 2016. The bedrock fact is that Donald Trump holds the highest office in the land and has rigged the Supreme Court in his favor. He has weaponized all of the tools of the imperial presidency granted by the Cold War. Once in power, he was never going to allow himself to lose it. The next election will not be a free and fair election, and beyond voter suppression, gerrymandering, and God knows what other tactics our social media will be flooded with disinformation both domestic and foreign.

Just the fact of him becoming president was the product of the complete failure of our Constitutional system. The electoral college, which was created partially to stop a demagogue like Trump from being president, enabled him to win despite his loss of the popular vote. The country is so divided that the system is not going to be changed, so it will now essentially be a tool to ensure minority rule through the electoral college, Senate, the now-packed courts, and its tolerance for manipulating voter qualifications. The nagging thought I keep having is that we are not in a fight against creeping autocracy, we are instead merely flailing against an autocracy that grows stronger with each passing day.

I know I can do nothing else in this situation, other than fight. I have been calling my representatives and begging them to act with the urgency the current moment demands, but they are not. They, like everyone else, are just trying to close their eyes and go on as if nothing has changed. Perhaps I'm a fool for even bothering to still fight.

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