PLAN B

 

O.K., Plan A didn’t work.

For all we know, Plan A2 may not, either.   Today’s supposedly the day.

Moving on to PLAN B.

Thanks to the ever-lovin’ New York Times, we know how much each cabinet member and “special assistant” to our new President is reputedly worth.

We ALSO know, thanks to the same source, the names and positions of those in the “Chain of Command,” i.e., if something “bad” were to happen, who’s next?   Pence is no improvement, and if we run down the list of statutory presidents-to-be (also available in your handy copy of the US Constitution), there’s not one whom we could enthusiastically endorse.

The rate at which Mr. Trump is firing off executive orders (some, we think, entirely unknown to himself) at the direction of his “Team” – Stephen Bannon et al – is altering life in America even as we try to ignore them.   While we are cautioned by pundits short and small, or tall and loud, to keep our eyes on the real problem – whether or not collusion took place between the Russians and Mr. Trump’s team last year – if we don’t also keep eagle eyes on the lower case pronouncements from the Oval Office we wouldn’t otherwise know what real damage is being done to our Republic.

We ourselves, our friends, families, fellow citizens are being worked over relentlessly in terms of the air we breathe, the food we eat, our own health and that of millions of others, our PBS, our educational systems, our investments, consumer “rights” (“Hah!” we hear from the Team), our modes of transportation, the privacy of our communications.

For a political party that pretends to favor smaller government, the Team is now involved daily in altering the rules by which we all play in any town in any state.  That takes a lot of people.

And the Team’s speed has brought matters into very clear focus.  Which is why we need to begin planning for PLAN B no later than yesterday.

Trump may well get through the first few months (years) of his first term.   O.K., we can be a LITTLE patient as long as our own PLAN B is gearing up AND AS LONG AS THE DEMOCRATS and the few moderate Republicans left in Congress coalesce to try to beat back the lower case damage being done to the nation and its way of life, its standard of living.  This, from a moderate Republican.

But keeping our eyes on the prize, we have to inspire our troops to begin working out, carrying backpacks, hiking, doing rehab, getting medical check-ups in preparation for 2018.  And we have to be realistic.  Keeping in mind the damage to the fabric of our lives that is now daily being carried out, we have to remember that it’s going to take what will probably be an equal amount of time just to UNDO what the Team is promulgating today, what it will have done in the next two years.  We can’t expect miracles.

The likelihood of persuading Trump voters that they may have made a tragic mistake is pretty slim.  Elizabeth Warren (of whom we are in awe) nonetheless sets off fire alarms.   Bernie will be too old.   And Hillary should be in happy grandmotherly retirement (making the occasional big-buck speech.)

That means that PLAN B rests on several important factors.  (a)  On not attacking Trumpism or criticizing his followers for their decisions.  (b)  Maintaining the sense of urgent activism we saw in January, 2017.  (c) Organizing across the nation to campaign for everything from schoolboards to mayor’s offices, to special elections for Congress as they arise.  (d)  It also means that we must erase from our own minds any possibility of supporting ANY Republican for ANYTHING, no matter how jovial, sensible, and popular he/she may be in our own districts.  (We are not the Party of NO.  We just need to hunker down in fighting positions until an equality is restored in state houses, Congress, town halls.)  (e) Identifying men and women of good will, experience, and purpose to become candidates.

If we begin now, or yesterday, there’s a good chance we can begin to reconstruct the Republic by 2018, even if Trump still sits atop his throne.

The main component of PLAN B  isn’t anger or disillusionment or daily doses of criticism.   It IS daily conversations about how life is changing with the destruction of health care, education, small business subsidies, the possibility of voucherizing Social Security and Medicaid.  It is DAILY conversations about how life is changing for each of us, not for the better.  The likelihood there will be no improvement in the basic minimum wage, the increases in tuition we expect as we are forced to send our kids to daycare in order to work harder to keep them there.  The confusion and cruelty of developing immigration policies.    Rising prices for gasoline – already going up but after last night’s action, likely to go much higher.  And, of course, what are likely to be inequalities in any new tax proposition, where the nation takes its eyes off what really needs to be done – infrastructure of all kinds, for example – as compared to money for defense and the Wall.

We care about what is being done to the Supreme Court – Supreme no more, just another set of people above the rest of us ignoring the needs and desires of the people it is supposed to adjudicate, serve, help.   To cry in desperation, “I’m taking this all the way to the Supreme Court” as of this afternoon will no longer even be funny.

The House ignored its constituents entirely in shaping its latest healthcare plan.  Congress will again ignore most of us all in matters of lowercase urgency.  On coal, on transportation, on treatment centers for the addicted.

But bravely we have to beard the opposition, one by one, bravely and in reasonable tones.  It will be us who lean over picket fences, not they.

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