Thursday, January 19, 2017

Melancholy Musings on Inauguration Eve

‘Twas the night before Trump, and all through the land,
people sobbed and they wailed, heads in their hands,
the votes had been counted, yet the winner had lost,
The Donald will rule, at a terrible cost.

Tomorrow is inauguration day in America, and Donald Trump will be sworn is our 45th President. It is a travesty that we have come to this point, that a man who lost the popular election by nearly three million votes, a man who doesn’t care that a foreign government interfered with our election process, a man who shows open contempt for the U.S. Constitution, a man who admires ruthless dictators, will sit in the Oval Office (or an office in Trump Tower) for the next four years.

One question that stands out for me at this juncture in our history: What will it take to break free millions of Americans from the ideological and cultural walls they’ve built around their hearts and minds? We know they are mostly middle class and poor angry white males who feel threatened by just about everything. It’s vexing because they cannot be reached by traditional methods like facts, reason or scientific data. The only answer I can come up with is that it will have to get so bad for them personally that they will be forced to confront the real culprit — Donald Trump (let’s set aside conservative ideology for now, that’s too big a leap).

Things will have to get terribly, awfully bad, because Trump and his minions are very, very good at diverting their supporters’ already short attention spans with straw men, easy targets (the poor, minorities, immigrants, etc.) and good old smoke and mirrors. I guess this is sort of a required skill to be a successful dictator.  Trump will never accept any responsibility for the chaos he creates.

The sad reality is that even if Donald Trump is impeached or found guilty of a felony, he will be able to convince his supporters that it was somebody else’s fault. And if Donald goes, we get Pence.

Tomorrow will be a dark day for America when everything that was right about this country comes under attack from a cabal of renegade ideologues and right-wing reactionaries. Winning back Midwestern and Southern whites will be a decade’s long project for the Democratic Party, if they even have the will to try. At this point in time, all of our energies need to be focused on resistance and fighting the Trump agenda. Dealing with the problems posed by Red State America will have to wait.

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