I’ve been trying to write a political blog post for weeks now. I literally can’t keep up. Every time I settle on a topic, something else lights up as more important.
It’s been observed, I believe rightly, that this is deliberate. There is such a deluge of flat out shit coming down the pipe that none of us can reasonably keep up with it all, let alone write cogent commentary on the entire mess. Some have made noble and brilliant efforts. I find myself picking apart many of the lists, such as the one on The Daily Kos, as offering too much bias and not enough stand alone, unassailable truth. There’s a roundup at CNN that is more balanced in its wording. Either way, there are enough summaries and lists already out there that I feel no need to reinvent the wheel, as it were.
I’m also seeing a stark difference between my Facebook and Twitter feeds. Granted, I’ve populated them with very different “friends and follows”, but I’m beginning to realize many of the folks on my FB friends list genuinely don’t know most of what’s going on. I keep forgetting that not everyone is glued to the news feed. Many people just want to live their lives, go to work, shake their heads, cluck sadly, and wait it out.
Wait and see. He can’t do all those things he’s threatening. He doesn’t have that power. He has to get approval from Congress. He didn’t mean those things, politicians always say outrageous things to get elected. Give him a chance. He needs our support. He deserves our support. We owe him a chance. It’s about time we got tough on these problems, anyway. . . .
Does that sound familiar? Have you, or has someone you know, said any of that?
Here’s an exchange I had recently. Please do not try to search this out, as I’m not trying to start a shitstorm on anyone’s timeline.:
[name redacted]: …During campaigns politicians say anything they think will get them elected. Here’s my thing, everyone wanted people to give Obama a chance. The same goes for Trump. No I didn’t vote for him but ya know what, I want to see what he can do before condemning him. If you give one a chance you have to do it for the next. And if you didn’t vote than you have no right to gripe.
[me]: So far Trump has: stated that he might invade Iraq again in order to get the oil; pushed through approval to get his son in law hired; refused to divest his business assets; banned the National Park Service from using Twitter because he was upset at their repost of photo comparing inaugural crowds from previous and latest election; issued orders to withdraw from the Trans Pacific Partnership; reinstated the gag rule that forbids overseas medical caregivers from even MENTIONING the word abortion; complained at length about the media misrepresenting him; restarted the Dakota Pipeline Project despite massive protests; declared his own inauguration day to be National Patriotism Day; set a clear focus on business negotiations as more important than human rights issues. What else would you like? Oh, how about his nomination of DeVos for Secretary of Education, a woman who has zero experience with public education, teaching, or anything relevant but who JUST SO HAPPENED to donate heavily to his campaign. ….There is so, so much more that marks Trump as an already unfit leader. I haven’t even gotten into the fact that he’s the darling of the Nazi movement and hasn’t pushed back at that in any meaningful way. He’s had his chance. He’s shown who he is. He’s not going to change. The international community isn’t going to give him more time; they can’t afford to. They’re already making plans to deal with him as he is presenting himself right this moment.
I’m utterly unsurprised that there has been no reply whatsoever from the original poster. I have yet to hear any coherent defense of the “give him a chance” stance once confronted with the actual, unslanted facts of what Trump has already put into motion.
Meanwhile, there are many threads on Twitter like this one, explaining in clear and flat detail how Hitler rose to power, and how easily it slides from small to medium to huge without even being noticed–because part of the process is a growing deluge of problems ranging from petty to emotional hot-button issues, problems that come far too fast and thick to absorb or comprehend. Logic need not apply.
One obvious example comes to mind:
Trump is insisting that a wall must be built on the Mexican border. He is insisting that Americans will pay for it up front but Mexico will pay us back. Mexico’s president has said, over and over, that his country will do no such thing. Trump’s response, when asked about that by a reporter, was literally dismissive: “Oh, he has to say that.” Then he said something about alternative ways for Mexico to pay us back–other than currency, by implication.
Dear God. That interview absolutely chilled me to the bone. Let’s set aside the debate about whether the wall should be built, and focus on that one small angle with common sense and logic:
We’re going to build a wall to stop illegal immigrants from coming into the country. We’re going to add a huge burden ($15-25 BILLION) to our taxpayers in order to build this wall. And in return, the other country, which does not want this wall, which has publicly condemned this notion (not because they mean it, according to Trump, but to save face–which, Logic 101, why would you call them out on the international stage about that? Doesn’t that make their loss of face that much worse and increase the likelihood that they will, in fact, dig their heels in?) . . . this country, then, in spite of being so blatantly disrespected and humiliated, will do . . . something . . . not directly financial . . . to pay us back . . . ?
Sure. Let’s wait and see. How bad can it get? There’s already so much to do in day to day life, after all, and what can one person do, and maybe if we just wait it’ll sort itself out, and hey there are already people protesting, I don’t need to get involved. Phone calls? Why bother? Surely thousands of other people are calling already. I’m busy. I hate talking on the phone. I might have to give my name and address to prove I’m a resident, and then–
That last protest is rooted directly in fear of negative consequences for making that phone call. So if you have that thought or make that argument, you already know the problem is very very deeply bad. America has always protected political protest as a basic right. If you’re truly afraid of losing your job or being arrested or having your computer hacked just because you called your senator to register your dissent—
–you’ve just revealed that any wait and see rhetoric you might be spouting is self-serving bullshit.
Thousands of people are calling to complain every day. It needs to be hundreds of thousands of people, every single day. You. Me. Our siblings. Our kids.
I’m terrified. I’m depressed as hell. I’ve said and continue to say all the deflections I typed above. I’m as complicit in the I’ll do it tomorrow stall-out as anyone else.
I can’t get out to march, for many reasons. I rarely pick up the phone to call and complain, mainly because there’s so damn much to call about I’m overwhelmed and drowning in indecision. As guilty as I feel over those two things, it’s not enough to make me do them. (Although I’m hitting my self over my failure every day, trust me. Sometimes that even works, and I pick up the phone.)
What I can do, instead, is write blog posts like this one. What I can do is winnow out the most reliable stuff I see online and point my readers to verifiable facts. What I can do is push people out of complacency and be a naggy bitch about making you face what’s happening all around us.
What can you do? –not a defeatist question. A real one. What is within your abilities and capacity and passion to achieve? Please, figure it out, and start doing that thing.