When we don’t post, we’re waiting and watching. Sometimes we’re confused; sometimes angry; sometimes desperate. Even some times optimistic.
Watching the nation’s confusion this past week has led us to a state of possible euphoria, incredible as that sounds.
“S.O.S.” today stands for “Save Our Skins.”
We’re not quite ready to invert the Stars and Stripes in a distress call. Only because we have a plan.
What we want most to do is unify the country, remind it of its greatness (past and present). We want Europe to acknowledge, as it so frequently does, that without the US of A reconstruction after World War II would have been impossible. We want NATO to be certain of the paramount role it has played in keeping both Europe and the Central Balkans (as well as the US after 9/11, AND after our ill-fated expeditions into Iraq and Afghanistan), safe and secure. We want our government to remember, if not acknowledge, a former defense pact, SEATO (Southeast Asian Treaty Organization), about which we can only hope Mr. Tillerson this week, and his boss, Mr. Trump at all times, need to learn.
We want the country to stand by, build upon, and enshrine the guideposts that have made this nation the world’s greatest. These include the freedoms inscribed on the Statue of Liberty, in the Constitution, the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the Voting Act of1966.
We want our citizens to recall with gratitude and pride our scientific victories, including of course our first trip to the moon, our National Institutes of Health, our social services (the “social safety nets”). We once had the best and only public education system in the Western World. Our farms fed the world. Our wit and determination moved the world from shops to assembly lines.
Remembering all this goodness and the willingness to be responsible for the world’s peace and prosperity is a tough sell today when we look at the chaos in Washington…where “double speak” is the language of the day, and perfectly (we think) sentient human beings seem intent on stripping the countryside of clean air, water, basic public education, food and comfort for the elderly and ill – “Meals on Wheels.”
When the administration, under the guise of keeping campaign promises, doesn’t give a damn whom it hurts, frightens, causes nightmares because it doesn’t even begin to understand the concept of “compassion,” as was so clear in the press conference Mick Mulvaney held yesterday, someone else has to. Or many “someone elses.” Under the rubric of keeping Mr. Trump’s outrageous campaign promises, Mulvaney and his staff have come up with a system of carrots and sticks that rely far more heavily on sticks than carrots. And because he cannot even begin to understand the benefits of many governmental programs, those sticks are landing squarely on the backs of the poor, the elderly, the sick, the middle class. Naturally the carrots go to those who are already overfed.
How can seventy-five percent of the nation’s voters combat this kind of ignorance and brutality?
Now we know there is resistance to the administration, evidenced by the January 21st march in Washington and the continuing demonstrations of dissatisfied voters wherever an administration cabinet minister or even a Congressman speaks. Activism of the sort that we first experienced in the 60’s is with us again.
But – HERE IS THE PLAN – we need to do more than march, phone, email, Facebook and Tweet our members of Congress threatening them. We do not want Congress to feel under siege. We want Congress to realize on which side its bread is buttered, and to do this, we need to butter each and every member of that previously august body – slather him or her – with support!
What this means is simple. We need allies against Trump, Kushner, Bannon. Not to mention the deliberately destructive personalities that team has chosen as secretaries of various, and important, cabinet offices.
So rather than rail at our “elected representatives,” we need to woo them. We need to reassure them that we, the voters, are behind them in their efforts to stop the careening carriage of state down Pennsylvania Avenue. Rather than threatening never again to vote for them, we need to point out that what they can do will only cement our gratitude and our attitudes towards them favorably. That we want to work with them positively, to reinstate the harmony and ambition of the nation at large.
We are not talking about one phalanx of dispirited Democratic voters. We’re talking about a courtship of Trump voters who may be increasingly worried that the ax is falling on their necks, too. We’re proposing a unified and continual resistance operating under the flag of affection and understanding. After all, for whatever reasons and on whatever party line, we voted these people into office. If they felt good will coming from their constituents, might they not be inclined to listen a little more carefully, try to understand a little more fully why voters are scared to death of the new budget as recently outlined, not to mention the many executive orders that issue daily from Mr. Trump’s desk.
We want mothers and fathers, white and blue collars, students and teachers, farmers and unionists, politically engaged and neophytes of any and all parties who realize the danger to our country and to democracy from this administration to flirt with, seduce, court amorously and to constantly reassure our representatives that we believe they are doing their best to reconstitute a nation that for nearly 260 years beckoned to those less fortunate and that we are WITH them. That they have nothing to fear from their friends and neighbors who are engaged in the same struggles.
S.O.S. means saving the skins of us all, regardless of party or bent.
Sending our first love letters cannot begin too soon.