2017-05-18 – I know all this talk of high crimes and misdemeanors makes you giddy. But take a deep breath. We’ve been down this path before and it didn’t get us where we wanted to be.
Remember Gerald Ford? Then Jimmy Carter? Then Ronald Reagan? Stick with Ronald Reagan for a moment because his election marked a turning point. And it would not have happened without Watergate and its aftermath.
Republicans are fairly good with long-term goals. They wanted to convince you that government is bad and they’ve been working on that for over 30 years. They’ve got a good part of the country convinced. (If you weren’t convinced before, they now control the entire government and they are going to town.)
In that time, what have Democrats been trying to do? It’s been a losing battle. Civil rights, worker rights, women’s rights have been in a slow and steady decline. We’ve gotten an uptick in LGBT and marijuana rights, but the gains are slippery.
So, while it is exciting to watch Donald Trump destroy our government, any effort to evict him could work in favor of the Republicans—if we don’t keep our eyes on the ball.
What can we reasonably do to make people’s lives better—outside the Beltway?
I have my list. Here are a few things, in no particular order (but these are significant):
- Single-payer health insurance,
- Disincentivize bloated CEO pay,
- Promote unions,
- Fair voting (end gerrymandering, voter suppression, effect of money in politics, etc.),
- More robust anti-trust enforcement,
- Incentivize solar energy and other renewables/disincentivize fossil fuels,
- End penalties for weed use and make drug use a health concern rather than a criminal law concern,
- Incentivize investment and job growth in depressed urban and rural communities (not just in New York and the Silicon Valley), and
- Rebuild the nation’s infrastructure.
You may have different favorites. That’s okay. These are not all of mine. They are here to make a point:
The goal isn’t to beat Trump or to beat the Republicans or even to kick the neo-liberals out of the Democratic party (or whatever). That’s a means to an end. The means is political, but the end that we are looking for is a prosperous society in which all people share.
I’m not saying to give up the excitement of the game. Get excited. But bring that energy to the real battles. Don’t dissipate it into the air.
Remember: misdirected political energy is a greenhouse gas.
Like cow farts.