Where are the leaders – WHO are the leaders – of the Democratic Party?
As a goodly portion of the country is nervously reading about the Donald’s cabinet choices, about his challenges to China, his friendships with Russians, his threats to purge entire governmental agencies for doing their jobs, his possible lock on the Press – his refusal to present publicly his tax returns, his plans to “hire” his family, his international business connections vis a vis the benefits to the US or the benefits to the Trump family – do we even begin to hear in the distance “push-back,” ideas to fight for, determination to make the country whole again?
We’re exhausted by the repeated chant, “Give him a chance.” We think the answer to that plea should be when he deserves it. And he hasn’t.
And in a few weeks, neither will the Democratic Party.
Granted, people are worrying themselves sick over the possibilities of governmental disaster. No matter how apt his choices for his cabinet, no matter that the incessant “victory thank you tours” demonstrate only two things: Trump’s egoism and the fact that his supporters don’t give a damn what he says or does or does not do… it’s vital to remember that he is not yet president. That while he piles up nominees like toy soldiers, or that his “off the cuff” suggestions of future progressive endeavors –many, we imagine, coming from Steve Bannon et al – are enough to scare the whiskers off Chihuahuas, Mr. Trump is still Mr. Trump, not President Trump.
We do not advocate keeping him from assuming the post. We admit to admiring the wit and planning of his entire team, family and friends alike. While we disagree with fully half his would-be appointments, the other half seems well-qualified and solid.
What we do not admire, however, is what seems to be the instinctive drive of Democratic Senators and members of the House to keep below Trump’s horizon. True enough, we have heard a few bleets from Pelosi and Schumer. And we cheer for John McCain and Lindsey Graham. But the fact that the holiday season coincides with what should be a time for organizing and planning to combat what may indeed turn out to be internal sabotage of our entire long cherished way of life is no excuse for silence.
Some would go so far as to suggest that this coming month may be the last chance democracy will have in the US of A.
We neither wish for nor envision a Democratic policy of “Just Say No” as the Republicans so maddeningly conceived to keep Barack Obama from success of nearly any kind. Gridlock is not our cup of tea. But unless the Democrats begin to organize, draw wagons around the campfire, situate their troops into fighting formation NOW there won’t be too many other chances. Once Donald is installed, any Democratic defensive plays will seem to the public illegal interference.
The Press is still wondering why they were hornswoggled so easily. Today’s New York Times focuses nearly entirely on the past. O.K., the matter of money and ratings and market share played a major role in letting Donald be Donald until it was too late. The man is not going to change. In his mind, he is KING and the rest of us are here to wait on him. His mindset needs to be blown up into shards of vapor and shame.
We continually hear about the separation of powers, about the powers of the Constitution. Mr. Trump hasn’t read that document, we suspect, and if he has, he doesn’t believe it applies to him. The Democrats AND the Press should be making plans for daily – even hourly – seminars on what our system of democracy entails, and how ideally it is meant to succeed. The Democrats AND the Press should be out on the hustings, explaining to the people between the Atlantic and the Pacific how the visions offered by Mr. Trump et all are counter to the welfare of his voting public’s good.
They should be explaining how charter schools rob the public school system and keep it from providing what has long been a jewel in our crowns: reading, writing, and arithmetic for every child in America. They should be explaining to Trump voters how making Medicare, Medicaid, and social security private enterprises will cause not only mass confusion, but rob Americans of care and income on which they have come to depend.
The Democrats and the Press should be trumpeting the differences between clean air, water, and food in terms of public health and budgets. They should be enshrining the Voting Rights Act and the loss to millions of the ability to participate in democracy at all if it is further weakened. They should be reminded (although we believe this is unnecessary) that there are good and ample reasons for a minimum wage. It should be made clear that the public’s offspring – their children and grandchildren – may well be prey to climate change which, although some cabinet members remain (or say they are) unconvinced is real. And what this means for us all.
At the end of this fall’s election process, there were rumors (hardly more than that, alas) that Bernie Sanders and his followers were building a long-lasting structure for progressive, clean, honest government. What happened to that effort?
We generally do not favor violent metaphor. But unless and until the Democrats and the Press can pull themselves together to see the value of a great offense, defending America from the possible predation of Donald Trump and his coterie of pals and family may ultimately be impossible.