This is an important twist to the popularity of the recent rising up movement in the form of the collective women’s March (which was more than just women). I think it is the most important point of all, and, if we are truly going to make positive progressive changes, this has to be understood. The March was phenomenal, I mean really great stuff. It was the stuff of the civil rights era, and we must nurture those embers and bring them to full flame. But, progress will be halted if we don’t acknowledge certain realities. Namely that, a great many of the good natured, well intentioned people that took part in these protests, were the same people that allowed Trump to come to power in the first place. To move forward, we must understand and acknowledge what that means and what we must do moving forward. Let me explain what I think needs to happen:
1) I do not say this to be divisive. My goal is to bring people together. We must understand, learn from, and accept that Hillary was not the best candidate to run. I don’t say that to be mean or dismissive. Many people liked her and thought she would make a good president. There are also many of us out here that find her to be unethical, and to be inextricably tied to the corporate interests, which is the main source of our contempt with government. All of the ills that we perceive to be present in society stem from the fact that the 1 percent and corporations own the government, the media, and control all. We believe her to be part of that corruption. There was simply no way that we could vote for her. We said it. We made it known. The dem party (and the media, which is owned by the corporate elite, the 1 percent), corrupt to its core, at the very least, you would have to admit, put their thumb on the scale of the primaries to favor her. Knowing this, then logic would dictate that she was not the best person to vote for (even if you like her). Whether you agree or not, you knew that there were a whole lot of people — progressives, independents, Republicans, green party, many democrats, and many people who voted for obama but ultimately voted for Trump because they could not stomach her — who found her to be unethical and just could not vote for her. So, the reality that we must acknowledge is that we brought Trump about. It was our own short sightedness that allowed this to happen. Most people thought that there just simply would not be enough people out there to side with Trump over her. Well, there were. It happened. Not in the popular vote, but, at least as of now, that doesn’t matter.
2) this is a fantastic start. We need to keep the momentum going. One day of civil unrest will not be enough to turn the tides. We must continue talking to each other in open minded ways, promote civil discourse, continue to raise political/cultural intelligence, and produce action, not just words.
3) we must stand up for the justice of all people, not just one particular group of people. The women’s March was fantastic. But, we must also speak up and be active for the justice of all people — Native Americans, lgbt, black americans, immigrants, Muslims, and especially the working class that contains all of these groups. We could all stand to revisit Walt Whitman who saw a vision for uniting a divided america following the seismic separation of the country in and after the civil war. There are many parallels between our country now and then. In “Song of Myself,” he writes:
“I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuff’d with the stuff that is coarse and stuff’d with the stuff
that is fine,
One of the Nation of many nations, the smallest the same
and the largest the same,”
3) we need to reform our election system to, if not get rid of the outdated electoral college, at the very least implement a ranked voting system. Many other countries have this in place. Had this been in place, Trump would not have been elected.
4) we must stop relying on social media, particularly memes, for our news. It is far too easy to say public opinion by posting a simple picture and a sentence. That is our fault. To be swayed by a punchy line, while ignoring the differing perspectives available, is intellectually lazy. We must weed out the lazy journalism, fake news, and one sided sensationalism, from our news feeds. We must rely on reputable, substantiated, legitimate sources.
I am truly hopeful that what I see going on around me are the beginnings of a social activist movement that has been percolating for a long time now. I hope we are seeing a return to the civil rights movement of the sixties. Moving forward, we must show the same level of popular support in the voting booths of the mid-term elections in two years. Way before the presidential election in 2020, the foundation of change needs to begin with a new Congress. Whoever the president is in 2020, if they come into power with an already progressive Congress, we can achieve anything. We must acknowledge what went wrong with this election and not repeat the same mistakes. We must begin with the understanding — and this cannot be overstated because it is the absolute foundation of everything — that the two party system must go. We must start with the shared premise that both the democrats, the Republicans, and the media are all owned by powerful corporate interests that don’t give a damn about you or me. There are plenty of democrats, progressives, liberals, and Republicans (yes, even some of those that voted for Trump) that feel this way. This will be our starting point. Everything else can be negotiated from there. We join forces to rail against the corporations and special interests that work to benefit only themselves and not the working class. That is our common ground. We will have disagreements and arguments. But, if we unite around that one common core principle, we will realize that the people truly have the power. We can create a better society for us all, built around the principles of compassion, dignity, and justice for all.