I’ve been depressed about American politics for a long time. Who were these roughly 30% of the country who approved of W. Bush at the end of his presidency? The Iraq War, the financial implosion, torture, CIA black sites, warrantless wiretapping, exploding deficits…? On and on. The list is long.
30% or so of my fellow countrypersons appear to be dangerously, well, not right in the head.
And now we have the mentally unstable jackass Trump. Take the 30% who are out to lunch add another 15 or so percent of the easily led astray, plus restrictive voter laws, absurd corporate personhood laws, topped with more laws that view money as speech, obscenely gerrymandered districts and: Voila! We have a madman as president and the Zombie GOP controlling the entire federal government. Depressing. And scary.
Scary because they seem intent on taking us into some kind of autocracy, silencing dissent, destroying the environment for the sake of profits, privatizing everything they can get ahold of. Depressing and scary.
So, where has the Left been to fight these bastards? In my opinion, just my opinion, the Left has been divided between the go-slow moderate or establishment wing and the fire breathing progressives. Many on the Left have been apathetic or given in to cynicism. Many on the Left have been disenfranchised by restrictive voting laws and gerrymandering. A lot of the voices on the Left have been drowned out by truckloads of “speech” in the form of Koch brothers’ cash and the like. That’s where I think the Left has been.
On the Right it’s common to hear them proclaim that the US is a Center Right country (Steve Bannon is fond of saying this). Putting aside that the definition of “Right” and “Left” may be undergoing a change, the assertion is simply false. Their policies are wildly unpopular. The statement is easy to source. They really have only been able to push through their policies because the Left has been woefully ineffective at countering the Right and pushing through their policies.
There are hopeful signs that that may be changing. The Women’s March is an extremely encouraging sign that the Left is finding it’s voice and leadership. And last night Senate Majority Leader McConnell silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren reading a letter from Coretta Scot King concerning Jeff Sessions racist history. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.
In the not too distant past McConnell’s sleazy move of using an obscure rule that goes back to protecting pro-slave senators to silence a women senator would probably have just been added to the list of unpunished humiliations and abuses piled on the Left. Not today. The backlash is strong and loud. The Left appears to be finding it’s voice and it’s voice is a woman’s voice and I’m delighted.
McConnell’s tone deaf back-hand, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.” is about to become a war cry for the Left.
The Right has a big problem at the moment. They control everything, so they will have to deliver on their promises. If they do begin to deliver they will continue to galvanize and enrage the coalescing Left.
I have said before and I will continue to say it: The Left needs to begin NOW to think about the changes it wants to make, must make so that this sort of dysfunctional government can not easily happen again. We have to come up with a vision, now, of what we want the country to look like after this near-death experience. For now though, it’s good and encouraging to see the Left rising, and women leading the way.