“Oops,” said Texas governor Rick Perry during the Republican primary. He couldn’t remember which vital branch of our government he would flippantly trash. Now, such silly, sad, slogan-laden stupidity of the Tea Party and Alt Right might attack us and our government with all the finesse of a sledge-hammer.
“Oops,” says America. What frivolous, furious, folly have we voted into rule? Trump and his supporters will be making America groan again! And again. We will wince for generations.
He’ll be making America grope again too, not just modeling crude, rude sexual assault, but groping for meaning, community, environmental stewardship and social justice. It won’t be there.
The one cause that won him the rust belt – that our jobs and know-how left for cheaper labor – he shared with populist star Bernie Sanders. But, weren’t the Republicans part of that decades-long process? Now they’re the saviors of the process they blessed? Must such jobs come with sexism, racism, anti-governmentism, and anti-environmentalism?
We can’t call all Trump voters deplorable. Some, I assume, are good people. But many have had their low- and mid-brains persistently riled into a place of anxiety and anger, of fear, self-righteousness and hate. How many times in the last eight years did the Republicans blatantly insult and obstruct our decent president? Relentless ridicule was all this disloyal party had to offer. How many times did we hear of “crooked Hillary” or of “oppressive regulations,” and how many times were such insulting and vague attacks justified with evidence or analysis? Such reactionary non-thinking is a national neurosis slyly inflicted on our society by hate talk radio, Fox News, and the Republican Party. They’re the new “nattering nabobs of negativity” Spiro Agnew warned us of.
The Republican Party is showing what it is made of. The so-called “party of Lincoln” is really more the party of Booth lately. It pushes a flag in our face along with scowls, insults, and guns, defiling the flag in the way they wave it. “Assassinate the bi..h” yells a Trump supporter at the rally, receiving no censure or shame.
An arrogant Tea Party and Alt Right wing have bullied their way into power. None of this seems like the Republicans I’ve known and loved. I’ve never known a Republican as vile as this crew. Such decent people are being led by indecent, dangerous fanatics.
What checks and balances will protect us from their brash arrogance and vindictive morality? They’ve utterly defeated “the party of social security.” What will they replace it with, “the party of anti-social insecurity?” Who is to stop them?
We’ll see. They’ve been trying to undo and defund our government for decades. The lie of “trickle-down” has bloated the few top rich while draining the rest of us, yet their plan is to give the rich more and us less. They will weaken our government and exploit our environment while turning us over to the amorality of the trans-national corporations and the self-righteous morality of those long-determined to control and punish women who dare to live their own lives.
Oops, indeed! We let a jaded cynicism drag us into apathy, forsaking our long-fought inheritance of a humanistic, pluralistic, secular society and it’s accompanying need for intelligent, caring, sovereign citizens. We fell into the illusion of equivalence between the parties and forsook our responsibility to engage, attend, and improve them.
Republicans have long persistently and quietly taken over most lower-level governments in our states and counties. They’ve gerrymandered our congressional districts into Frankenstein shapes bound to lock their lobby-funded power into place. They’ve blatantly blocked our voting in many states. Now they will rule from the top-down as well. They’ll have the presidency, the Senate, the House, and soon the Supreme Court, plus they’ll control most states and counties, including their highly militarized, often trigger-happy-then-excused police departments.
Now we’ll see what this Republican sweep will manifest. In Trump we have the potential for a despot, an egocentric bully surrounded by authoritarian bullies, funded by the coal fortunes of a founder of the John Birch Society (whose wealthy sons deny global warming while worsening it), boosted by a rogue group in our own FBI, cheered on by election-meddling Russian president Putin, and endorsed by the Klu Klux Klan.
We’ll see. One hope: Trump is not beholden to lobbyists and Republicans. Maybe he’ll be smart, create a diverse, inclusive, and balanced inner circle (such that includes Bernie Sanders). He has a chance to steer the sort of history he’ll create for himself and us.
Maybe he’ll bother to watch “Before the Flood” and “Years of Living Dangerously” and help avoid the obviously increasing baking of our planet. Or will he and Putin rush to the North Sea to plunder it and further kill our oceans and ruin our weather? Maybe he’ll lose his fear of non-white people and intelligent women. Maybe he’ll care for all of us, not just he and his types. Maybe he’ll change the tone and tenor of this mounting civil warring that some would eagerly and angrily impose in our formerly civil culture. Maybe he’ll surprise us with creative, inclusive, peaceful policies – create a better outcome for history to remember than we now rightly fear.
This is wishful thinking, though, for there are precious few signs he and his are such decent people. Deplorable.