Trump has his accomplishments and his fans, and I gainsay him neither. He is not alone in using hate, in overreacting. But the truth is, no one in Trump’s party has the stomach to stand up to him anymore. Not even Paul Ryan, who in the final moments as House speaker dared to suggest that Trump can’t magically repeal the 14th Amendment and birthright citizenship. Trump smashed him down, and his party’s sheeple watched. The GOP, especially those in Congress, now is owned just as much by Trump as that tower on the Chicago River. The party’s elite got bought off by big tax cuts. Deficits? What deficits?
So here we are, our time to say what matters, or doesn’t.
I said it in 2016 and I’m saying it now: I don’t care whether you’re inspired by your local congressional candidates. Get inspired. Or don’t, but vote anyway. Vote for Democrats for every office in the land. This is all we’ve got. This party, right here, is all we’ve got to stop what’s happening. It’s the only answer that exists right here and now.
I’ve been saying it since 2010 at least, maybe before that: We don’t have two parties that differ on marginal tax rates for corporations, or the best way to teach math. We have a roiling mass of howling, booing, lock-her-upping lunatics who left reason by the wayside a long time ago in favor of feeling good and kicking the homeless, and we have everybody else.
We have the people who put babies in cages, and everybody else.
We have the people who want to shoot kids who throw rocks, and everybody else.
We have the people who hate immigrants and Jews and gays and women and girls and black people and trans people, and everybody else.
We have the people who think it’s okay to shoot up synagogues and beat journalists and march with tiki torches on students protesting Confederate monuments, and everybody else.
We have the arsonists.
And we have the fire brigade.
The fire brigade is dumb, and trips over its own hose a lot. The fire brigade doesn’t put out all the fires everywhere, and it doesn’t put out the fires all the way sometimes, so that things still smolder. Sometimes it takes money to put out fires in one place instead of another. Sometimes it ignores fires it should put out. Sometimes it fights fires it doesn’t need to fight.
BUT GODDAMN IT, THE FIRE BRIGADE IS NOT OUT HERE TOSSING DYNAMITE INTO KINDLING IN A CANYON, PULL IT TOGETHER, WOULD YOU, and pick up a bucket of water.
I have every sympathy for people for whom the Democratic Party is insufficient. But the Democratic Party is being remade, daily, in the image of the women and people of color running for office in places that haven’t seen a Dem make a fight of it in decades. The party is, at least on the state level, open to being remade from the inside. So remake it. Get on board.
I don’t have a lot of patience for policing other people’s protest signs but I also don’t have a lot of patience for pretending that if Hillary had been elected we’d be living in a hippie paradise. We would NOT, pace pussyhats, be at brunch right now, not all of us. We would still be fighting mass incarceration, the dregs of the Bush administration’s wars at every turn, and a tendency to treat the poor like disappointing children in need of correction. There would still be a thousand battlefields. There always will be, no matter what happens on Tuesday.
But if Democrats controlled the state and federal government, we would not hear from the halls of power that citizenship is not a birthright. We would not see the elevation of unhinged torchlight shrieking that “Jews will not replace us.” We would not see erasure of the few protections awarded transgender and nonbinary people for no other reason than to be mean.
That’s leaving out the punitive tariffs and ruinous tax cuts and the repeated gutting of the only feeble health care reform that’s ever been passed at all. Don’t tell me there’s no difference between the people doing all of this, and everybody else.
Vote for Heidi Heitkamp. Vote for Claire McCaskill. Vote for Joe Manchin, the creature. Vote for the Democratic governor who’s got a billion dollars. Vote for the boring tech-bro congressional candidate who is the personification of a conference call readout during a webinar. Vote for the candidate you voted against in the primary and then bring two or three friends who are still mad about it along with you.
Vote for the fire brigade. If you can’t get inspired by the principle of fighting fires, you can damn well open your window and feel the heat.