Tuesday, November 22, 2016

I've Got Those Post-Election Armchair Revolutionary Blues   

    There are a couple aspects of the current socio-political situation that I want to look at. One is the vote-counting in swing states and the electoral college. The other is the correct stance in relation to the unfolding transfer of power to Trump and the Republicans.
    There are reports of voter suppression surfacing in the "swing" states Trump won. There is evidence that the rolls were scrubbed to dilute Democratic numbers, giving the GOP the narrowest of victories in a handful of states, enough to take the electoral college. Greg Palast, who has been on top of this story since the 2000 election, is on it again. If this story got the attention it deserves, millions of ballots currently uncounted, in storage, would have to be counted. People who are petitioning for the abolition of the electoral college should find this investigation helpful to their cause. Despite the criminal disenfranchisement of millions, it appears Clinton has won the popular majority and would be President, but for the electoral college. Activists in the targeted states should keep the spotlight on this, get the media covering it with press releases where the ballots are stored (or destroyed). Find voters who were denied the right and have a picnic/speak out (with media, livestream).
    As this story unfolds, look for signs of a third party emerging. Do folks prize the vote but despise the choices? I bet they do, and that's something we want to foster.
      *                  *
    With daily announcements to the press services, Trump's team has identified the President-elect's first appointees, and they are appalling. Which is my second, but primary, concern today. What is the correct stance to take with respect to this transfer of power? There are some on the left, within the Democratic establishment, counselling for a conciliatory, "Wait and see" posture. The sitting President has offered his cooperation. The Senator from Vermont has promised to help Trump do what is good for the country, and vigorously oppose him when he does not. The mainstream mass media appear to be engaged in the process of reshaping, or reframing, what is acceptable, normal public behavior for the head of state. At the same time, the press is schooling Trump, tripping him up over his conflicts of interest and displays of ignorance. He is a media-creature and like any organism, he'll adapt to the changing environment or die.
    There seems, to my ear, to be a chorus calling for cautious vigilance: yellow alert, as it were. It may be based on some romantic belief in the gravitas of the office having a sobering effect on the occupant. Don't count on it, I say. If anything, it's likely to feed the ego of a narcissist. My initial response to "Wait and see" was, "See what? How bad it can get?" For half-a-second I was seduced by Obama, but then I realized what a "successful" Trump presidency would mean: the achievement of his campaign pledges:  Mass deportations. A Scalia-clone on the Supreme Court. Obama care-- gone. EPA-- gone. And what else?
    Those are but the dire prospects perhaps in the future. Turning to what we know, by past words and deeds, there are predictions we can reasonably make about decisions Trump will make that affect us all. We can begin with those appointees mentioned in passing above. Each is an indicator of the tone, style and objective purpose of the incoming regime. Trump's closest advisor and chief strategist, Steven Bannon, created Breitbart, the pre-eminent platform of the 'alt-right' white-rights movement. The head of the transition team for energy policy is the leading climate-change denier. The economics advisors include the CEO of Cerberus, former chair of the SEC, & a longtime exec from Goldman-Sachs. Trump's choice for Attorney-General is so reactionary, he was rejected by the Senate for a federal judgeship. The next head of the CIA is the quintessential Tea-Party Republican, totally in the pocket of the Kochs and neo-Cons. And then Trump's other "first" apointment, his national security advisor, has drawn attention for his apparent close ties to Putin and vitriolic comments about Muslims. Lest we forget, it's only been two weeks. More to come.
    In addition to these political moves that determine how the state is to be governed, some of Trump's other doings outside the Office are having an impact. His tweets continue to draw attention in the media. His refusal to hold a press conference raises questions about access, privacy and transparency. His private meetings with heads of state are "off the record." His continued refusal to repudiate the bigotry of white supremacist groups emboldened by his election clarifies his pledge to represent all Americans. He means all those who are white.
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    To me, it's obvious this is the early stage of a fascist coup. Remember Mussolini's definition? The corporate capture of the state apparatus. Most of the Congress, most federal courts, state legislatures and governors are dependent on corporate "sponsorship." There are ways to please the sponsor, and ways to provoke his wrath. Invariably, "he" is also "white." The election of a neo-fascist governor in Wisconsin, followed by the crushing defeat of the state's public unions, demonstrates the power and ruthless indifference of the "corporate elite." (Give me a better term?) From my perspective, there is no alternative but to oppose Trump in every possible way. When I consider the arc of history, both the long view and the short, there is no room for compromise with illegitimate authority that appeals to racist supremacy. Mr Trump and I share the same planet, breathe the same air, but that is all we have in common. Thus, I must stand in militant, non-violent resistance to his election, installation and occupation of the Office of President.
    As I watch the talking heads on tv, tossing their points back and forth, this "new normal" becomes more and more hollow as I listen. Now it strikes me what's missing from all this empty talk. I have not heard from the Elders, from the Grandmothers, from women, from communities of color, from the displaced and undocumented victims of American intervention. These are voices I want to hear. I want their counsel. I want them to tell me if my stance is correct or not.

     (The election was two weeks ago. Turkey Day is this week. In between, we've survived another Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour, and been to my Uncle Al's funeral. I feel like I'm still recovering from the three weeks I spent subbing at a Charter school, teaching high school English. (That's a subject for another essay.) Just giving context to this entry.)  

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