Monday, December 25, 2017

America—Made Great Yet?

It’s been quite of year, hasn’t it, this new age of Trumpism? Probably a bit early to see whether America has been made great again.  But there are steps in that direction—

There’s a big tax cut for the rich and for corporations… lots of money for the military… right-wing judges for the federal courts… a ban on Muslims entering our country… deporting law-abiding Mexicans and soon children… undoing Affordable Health Care… warmongering in North Korea... Bullying in Jerusalem... dissing global warming… extolling oil and coal… and even supporting an anti-woman’s rights child molester for the U.S. Senate.

Trump and his Republican supporters say this makes America great again. Not my America. In less than a year of governing, Trump and his collaborators have shown no decency, no shame.

Post-election earlier this year, talk was about how it was important to understand Trump supporters in order to heal the country’s divisions.  Trump and his fellow travelers have shown no interest in governing to heal divisions but to exploit national divisions. What’s clear months later as this first year of Trumpism comes to a close is that the Civil War never ended, the Vietnam War continues at home, race and religious bigotry is alive and well, a woman’s body is still not her own, and big money swears and rules.

Remember that safety pin? You wear it on your lapel to show you will provide safety and shelter to anyone being harassed and threatened by bullies and bigots. Get that safety pin out and wear it when Trump’s federal courts reverse gay and lesbian rights, when “Dreamers” start being deported, when the ICE Gestapo drives up to take your Mexican neighbor away.

But wait, there’s more: Wait to see the other GOP shoe drop with measures to cut poverty, social and environmental funding to reduce the ballooning deficit caused by rich folk and corporate tax cuts. Go ahead, take the year-end bonuses and hourly wage increases from the big banks and corporations— the money they could have given workers years ago— but don’t be a sucker for their shameless PR antics.

Maybe the Robert Mueller investigation will clean traitors out of the White House. Maybe, maybe not, depends on the rule of law, doesn’t it, in America? My America and Trump’s America.

Maybe disclosures of sexual harassment will reach beyond the political and entertainment industry and make all workplaces safe and decent places to work. Maybe, maybe not, depending on the owners and managers of workplaces in America. My America and Trump’s America.

More cynical pundits now write about how Trump could prevail despite his unfavorable public ratings because he will please his political base, the economy will chug along, and his failures will be the fault of others and bad news never to be trusted. Sort of like the first year of the Trumpian presidency.

Cynical and disheartening as that might be, there might be folks who, although not happy with Trump and his Republican collaborators, are also weary of the constant barrage of incoming bad news and controversy. Or folks who for political, economic or social reasons decide it’s easier to go along to get along,… stop talking politics among friends and family… find something easier to engage in like sports, drugs, video games…

It’s understandable to be weary but that’s not the way we take our America back again. We only need to have more votes than the other side. Doug Jones energized enough voters in Alabama to win his election despite nearly half the voters voting for Trump’s child molester candidate. It took just one Washington State Senate seat win this past fall to control both houses of the state legislature. Winning elections is a matter of getting out enough people voting for the values of our America to win. The hard part, the real art of governing, is to get enough of the people’s work done so that you get to come back to continue the work of the people.

I’ll be there in 2018; will you? No illusions-- civil and cultural wars are not easy. I’ll have my safety pin on and ready to stand up against bullies and bigots. Will you? I’ll vote for diplomacy and education and equal opportunity, for diversity and welcoming borders, for jobs and the environment. I’ll hold elected officials, government officials and business leaders accountable for honesty and transparency, for getting the people’s business done.

That’s my America. You in? Happy New Year.

--Mike Sato