Immigrants – Resentments Feed Deportation Movement

From a Google Image Search (Huffington Post)

There seem to be basically three conscious reasons and one less conscious reason why some Americans are ostensibly adamantly opposed to any kind of “amnesty” for people who did not immigrate here through proper channels.

Misplaced Jealousy

One source of anger is a sort of probably misplaced jealousy that people who are not even supposed to be here are taking jobs that American workers need and are being given benefits which come from taxes on hard-working Americans. This is complicated by laws which state that anyone born in America is automatically a citizen of America. When immigrant families, “legal” or not, have children, their children do become eligible for benefits such as food stamps and free public education.

Changing “Complexion” of America

A second source of agitation is that Americans who are legal citizens (but whose parents were immigrants) do not like the changes they see in, let’s say, the complexion of America. We were always most unkind to immigrants, even if they arrived on our shores legally, if they were not of white European descent. We were happy to have Chinese laborers but not happy to accept them as neighbors. The same is true of others who arrived from Asian nations such as Japanese immigrants. We spoke of “black” Irishmen and we thought the skin of Italians a bit too toasty for our tastes. This discrimination based on skin color is driving some of the rage that some Americans experience as they are told in the media that Americans of European descent will soon be the minority in our previously majority white nation. With the arrival of more Muslim immigrants not only is the “color” of our nation changing, Americans are worried that Christianity will no longer be the primary religion in our nation and that when or if this change occurs we will no longer be America.

The very people who seem to object most to the changing complexion of our nation are possibly related to the Americans who bear the most responsibility for introducing non-Europeans onto American soil. In fact they kidnapped them from their African homes and enslaved them here where they became “property”. Once our principles caught up with us we did correct this situation but it has hardly been totally redressed. The descendants of slave owners continue to mourn a way of life that is so abhorrent to most of us that we cannot understand the attraction. These descendants have never actually stopped nursing their grievances about losing the Civil War, which makes them pretty sore losers and yet gives them, incongruently, enormous arrogance and pride. However deeply they bury the sentiment, they have never truly forgiven the rest of us for allowing non-Europeans, black folks, to mingle in American culture as equals. So we also have this strand running through our current emotional resentments to immigrants.

We Don’t Know Each Other

Immigrants tend to hang on to the languages and customs of the lands they came from. They tend to gather in communities where they can feel comfortable and speak the same language, eat the same foods, and experience the warmth that being in a strange land robs them of until they can assimilate. The first generation often experiences difficulty with learning to speak in the English language which is the only language most Americans know. The second generation usually can communicate more successfully. (These are generalization to which there are many exceptions.)

With this wave of immigrants from Muslim nations we have the added strangeness of women who wear headscarves as their religion requires. It provides another marker besides skin color that sets these particular immigrants apart and this tends to bother many Americans. In American we don’t wear headscarves. Some see the scarves as a sign that women in Muslim culture are not as free, or indeed are placed below their husbands in rank, a position which American women have trouble accepting, having fought so long and hard for their own imperfect emancipation. Others feel that refusing to give up headscarves means that Muslims do not want to assimilate with American culture. It also makes Muslim women easy to categorize as foreign.

Languages and customs and the desire to have some sense of a human community that is familiar, along with economics, tend to keep immigrants separate from other Americans. For people here without documents the situation is even more pronounced because of the need to stay hidden and keep their secrets. Although there is mixing between the wealthy or the farmers who often hire people with no papers, it is not the mixing of social equals. The fact that many “undocumented” people work in service to Americans with citizenship rights allows those who are the boss class to look upon the “servant” class as populated by people who are “less”.

Because there are often few opportunities for Americans, especially suburban and rural Americans, to meet and socialize with newly arrived immigrants, both legally-here and not legally here it is quite easy to see these groups as “invaders” who are pushing aside “real” Americans, taking our jobs, sharing our benefits which we are already in jeopardy of losing because our government is arguing that these benefit programs are unsustainable and even counterproductive.

They Did Something Illegal and They Must Be Punished

How can people who are not even supposed to be here be collecting benefits, Americans ask? There is a feeling that our nation is not a just nation because it is kicking “real” Americans to the curb and yet it is offering their tax dollars to people who are basically criminals. And criminals deserve to be punished not showered with free gifts. Even though Americans who think this way may realize that they are overstating the great good fortune of the “illegals,” they believe it is true enough that they are justified in being thoroughly ticked off, and the feelings are sometimes so strong that violence could fairly easily be ignited.

It did not help that many of the most recent immigrants, both legal and illegal, arrived in America just as good jobs were becoming scarce. Factories were closing in the North and moving South. Then they were closing in the South and moving out, mostly to Asia. There were empty factories everywhere. People did not find it difficult to make a connection, however false, between immigrants and increasing numbers of unemployed Americans. Although many studies have been published that debunk this logic, that say that most immigrants did not and could not take jobs away from Americans, displaced workers are convinced that someone who wasn’t born here has their job or the job that would have replaced the job they lost.

There is plenty of evidence available on the internet to debunk both the argument that immigrants are getting lots of benefits and that they are taking our jobs. If you think my claims are wrong, do a web search. The problem is that you can find evidence for almost any point of view on the internet if you are not too choosey about your sources. David Brooks, who leans right, has written two very cogent recent articles on this subject.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/21/opinion/this-century-is-broken.html

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/24/opinion/the-national-death-wish.html

Outcomes of Making Decisions Based on Negative Emotions

Logic barely makes a dent in this complicated mass of negative emotions. The smallest piece of news about these matters that appears to remind Americans that our nation is no longer as white or as Christian as it once was sets off new waves of resentment and makes the plans of the current administration to deport everyone who has not “behaved” and is here illegally back to their country of origin regardless of how they may be treated once they get there sound pretty appealing.

It is entirely possible that these Americans will not understand the down side to this pogrom until it is well under way and by then we will already be pariahs throughout the very European nations we so revere, and many other nations besides. Nations all around our temporarily tumultuous world are being inundated with immigrants who they must accept because it would be inhumane not to. They cannot be expected to feel any sympathy for the very minor disarrangements we are experiencing in America. They are saying “man up” and “get a grip”.

No matter how badly we might want to turn inwards and be that sort-of-white Christian America of old the upheavals of the times are against us. There are 7+ billion people now on our very small planet. Population density alone changes everything and it is way more essential that we address the ramifications of this upward trend than that we build walls or put people on buses and planes and “return to sender.” I love my country and I don’t want to bring disorder and lawlessness to it but our feelings right now look rather petty compared to the pictures of the devastation, starvation, and thuggery that people around the world are experiencing. Although I think we will eventually have to take in more immigrants, my argument right now is just that we probably need to keep the ones who are already here because we will lose all our allies if we don’t.

Immigration Policy – Please Rethink Mass Deportations

I think in order to deal with the immigration issue fairly you have to engage that special ability that most of us possess; you must be empathetic. You have to imagine that you live in a nation suddenly made un-liveable, perhaps by war, or famine, or a power vacuum and resulting lawlessness, or just a society so stagnant that you can see that your children will always be doomed to the deprivations of poverty.

Try Empathy

You have to follow the mental experience a bit further, and hear the stories about America that people tell. These stories say that America is not paved with gold but is still a land of opportunity where enterprising people can get a job, or start a business, and slowly build a good life for themselves and for their children. You find people who share with you ways to enter American legally and offer instructions for how to stay longer than is legal. You find a land that is far from perfect but you are willing to start at the bottom, in the most onerous, poorly paid jobs and then build up patiently to a better life. Often you and your family are willing to do work American citizens will not do.

Maybe you came to meet someone and outstayed your visa. If you came alone perhaps you came as a student and overstayed your visa. Maybe you never actually attended college at all and just enrolled to get into the country. Maybe you walked across a border successfully avoiding customs and then stayed.

Immigrant Guilt

There are some things that are problematic about your decision to stay here without legal status. Perhaps you need to steal an identity to get the documents you need to be employed, so you hack someone’s computer or steal a purse or wallet or buy a fake ID. Some employers know you have no papers but will look the other way and pay you under the table. These actions make you a criminal in your new land so you must hide, live a life that is full of fear and less free than the lives of legal citizens, to avoid calling attention to yourself. Stealing ID’s hurts someone who is a legal citizen and you know that it is wrong. Working under the table leaves you with no protections against an abusive or exploitative boss. Either way you wish you were here legally, especially for your children’s sake.

America’s Guilt

In many ways Americans know your status but look the other way. Schools care about educating children so they don’t make a big deal of it if they happen to suspect that an immigrant family did not come into the country through proper channels.

Suddenly though, after the 2016 election, immigrant families find themselves in great danger of being plucked out of their new, always precarious existence and threatened with imminent deportation. It doesn’t matter, apparently, how many years you have been here. If you have a fake ID you are classified as a criminal and you are in even greater danger of being deported. Maybe you speak perfect English (or not), maybe you have paid taxes for years, maybe you have a business. You feel like an American, but suddenly you are about to be hunted down and arrested and turned out of your life.

What you did was wrong but you did it for the best of reasons (survival) to save the lives of you and your family. But America knew that this was happening and they let you stay. People did get deported; there always was the nagging fear that you might be discovered and sent back to the bad situation you came from. As time went by perhaps you felt safer and safer; more and more an American and you had children here who are citizens.

Now I’m back from my empathy experiment, but I am able to keep that viewpoint in mind.  I’m me again, a poor but still privileged white woman born in America. Up until now I have never lived in a land that was chaotic or dangerous, or in an area that was devastated by a natural disaster. Since the 2016 election I am more worried about our stability as a nation, right here in America. But I have put myself in the immigrants’ place, so I must be honest. If my family faced these circumstances and I was told of a possible way out, I think I (or you) might do the same and take that chance.

And I am watching our own President try to do something I never thought I would see in America. He is going to expel people who have been allowed to stay in America for years – to send them back into countries they don’t even call home anymore. It is not the Holocaust – when people were rounded up and murdered – but it feels so much like that; at least enough like it to tell us that it is wrong. Obviously some people will be sent back to lands that are so unstable that murder or rape or kidnapping could be real possibilities. Will neighbor turn in neighbor? Will sympathetic Americans have to hide immigrants? How will that work in such a populated world? Exactly how will immigrants without documents be identified? I cannot imagine that any of this will make life pleasant for anyone in America. How unpleasant will things get? Will some American citizens have to lose their freedom or even their lives to oppose this activity?

We Are to Blame

It is actually our fault these folks came and were allowed to stay. We don’t have a consistent way to check documents without also making citizens carry papers. We don’t have any hard borders except between Canada and Mexico and America and, as we know, many argue that these border are not all that secure. It feels un-American and is perhaps un-Constitutional to make people present documents on demand. So we have been very lax about immigration. I contend that we cannot hold people responsible if they break laws that are rarely enforced.

America needs a way to track temporary visas and find the visa holders when those documents expire. But all of the ways we could do this are distasteful or invasive or ineffective. Visas could be placed under the skin as we do with the chips to keep track of our pets. You don’t like that idea? It also has flaws. What if you travel a lot? You will have lots of implants. What if someone with no compunctions kills you in order to physically remove your implant? There will end up being a market in counterfeit implants. We are even more creative in our criminal endeavors than we seem to be in our technological innovations these days. If you don’t like that idea then perhaps you have other ways we could keep track of expired visas and pair that information with the locations of the people who let that visa expire. Right now people with expired visas can easily get lost among 350 million of us.

There must be a way to find people who got here in ways that are not approved without rousting them out after they have made a new life and sending them back to a land that is no longer theirs. However, until we have a fair way to send undocumented people back “home,” we should fight against this current administration’s plan which is inhumane and which will cause as much damage to our American democracy/republic as it will to the people who are deported.

Grandfather in the people who are here and put in place a workable system for those who are currently arriving here and staying too long. Don’t do this deportation assault in the way that these executive actions mandate. Congress, do your jobs. Interview experts, devise a system, try it out, and start over if that doesn’t work. Stop undoing programs we need and really do your homework to set up an immigration system (not a wall) that is not too invasive to citizens and works to stop people from breaking rules that are not real rules because they are rarely, unevenly, and ideologically applied.

The new Executive Action we are hearing about is just as awful as the one the courts recently overturned. We will be judged harshly by nations around the globe and many countries will not allow deported individuals back in which will leave thousands in limbo. Steve Bannon may want to isolate us from other nations but it is not a good plan. It will cause atrophy and it will make us more of a target than we are for aggression from bad actors. But this time we won’t have any friends.

Absolutely Stunning New York Times Articles on Climate Change

 

In these days when Washington is under the almost total control of folks who argue that climate change either doesn’t exist or was not caused by humans, when the EPA is led by a climate denier, and we live in fear that when we go forth and rape the earth this time the repercussions could be imminent and immense, the NYT refuses to give up. The New York Times has been publishing a stunning series of articles on climate change. The information is personal and specific, pinpointing places around the world where people are being displaced or their daily lives are challenged by climate changes that are very real.

What is stunning, besides the stories, is the photos, the videos, the gorgeous graphic display of it all as the NYT prints articles from journalists who travel to places we would never know about, and places that are more familiar, to present us with these stories. I happen to have a desktop computer right now with a big screen and each time I go to one of these articles and the opening video rolls across my screen I am there, right there where this journalist wanted me to go, and I am immediately sucked into this story this newspaper wants me to read.  This is a truly great series of articles.

Even if you don’t believe climate change is real, even if you don’t believe that humans can do anything to slow down any changes there might be, it is clear that these changes are happening and that they are already requiring that people change the ways they live. Some of these are cultures that have always lived on the edges of the habitable world, but some are not. It is clear that accommodations will have to be made for these communities which face the obliteration of their way of life and even their possible demise and that this will impact all of us.

There is no way that I could research climate change on my own but the New York Times and many other news outlets use their funds to track this stuff down and bring it to us. This is why we need to go behind the pay wall whenever we can afford to and support all media, but especially the few remaining titans that have informed us so well for so many years.

So please follow the links and read this great journalism published at some expense and effort by the New York Times.

 

Part 1

Americans Displaced by Climate Change

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/03/us/resettling-the-first-american-climate-refugees.html

Part 2

A Remote Pacific Nation, Threatened by Rising Seas

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/03/world/asia/climate-change-kiribati.html

Part 3

Climate Change Claims a Lake, and an Identity

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/07/07/world/americas/bolivia-climate-change-lake-poopo.html

Part 4

Living in China’s Expanding Deserts

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/24/world/asia/living-in-chinas-expanding-deserts.html

点击查看本文中文版

Part 5

Resettling China’s ‘Ecological Migrants’

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/10/25/world/asia/china-climate-change-resettlement.html

点击查看本文中文版

Part 6

A Wrenching Choice for Alaska Town in the Path of Climate Change

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/29/science/alaska-global-warming.html

Part 7

Heat, Hunger and War Force Africans Onto a ‘Road on Fire’

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/15/world/africa/agadez-climate-change.html

Part 8

Polar Bears’ Path to Decline Runs Through Alaskan Village

 

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/18/science/polar-bears-global-warming.html

 

Newer climate change articles

 

Crack in Antarctic Ice Shelf

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/07/science/earth/antarctic-crack.html

Climate Change Mexico City

 

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/02/17/world/americas/mexico-city-sinking.html?_r=0

 

Don’t get so lost in the images that you neglect to read the text. In the end the words are as compelling as the pictures. The journalists talk to actual families and individuals affected by these things that could just look like extreme weather but which have lasted too long and had effects on living beings that are too far-reaching to be written off as weather events. After all these events come and go quite quickly, although the devastation wrought by weather can be equally devastating in the short term. If you are a climate denier you need to set aside your skepticism and at least open your mind to the stories these people have told to these journalists. As for me, I say “kudos to the New York Times” and please keep up the good work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If This Isn’t Treason, What Is?

The news that comes out of this White House is so unlike anything that I might have ever imagined that it seems as if America will just fall apart, disintegrate, and cease to exist as a democracy and as a nation. I have said this same thing at least once a year for the past seven years and it has always been true. The events of post 9/11 America have been contentious, shocking, unsettling, and indicative of a sort of spiral of chaos, held in check for a while by the charm and grace of the Obama administration and perhaps an unspoken anathema to going down in history as the person/s who impeached, discredited, or assassinated America’s first American President of African Descent, a man who was voted into office almost by acclamation.

Grace and charm are now gone. The GOP, which flirted with insurrection, (and still will, given half a chance) is overshadowed for the moment. What we seem to have moved on to at this moment in time is a President who has flirted (or is still flirting) with treason. And it seems that there is nothing we can do about it but stand gape-mouthed in our kitchens staring at our TV’s.

The people have not heard any actual proof that DT himself spoke with the Russians but we know he telegraphed his invitation to collusion because he did it right out loud in numerous rallies. The statement I heard on the news last night is that “Trump campaign aides were in constant touch with Russian intelligence.” The people who surround DT do not seem to be people who act on their own. He seems to require absolute loyalty and he hands down assignments to his underlings which they will then complete. They have been with DT for some time and they know how to complete tasks to his satisfaction. He seems to use a mainly top-down management style.

The media is trying to make it clear that if anyone knows of a way to actually connect DT with Russia they should come sit by them. I don’t blame them. This would be an amazing scoop. But it sounds as if even a direct connection between DT and Putin to dump propaganda and private conversations into the media before an election will not be enough to prove either election tampering or treason. DT seems completely unconcerned and his only reaction so far is to try to make folks feel guilty for doubting Flynn, to repeat his electoral college vote like an incantation, and to try to get us to prosecute the leakers rather than the perpetrators.

We appear to be back to the question of whether leakers are traitors or whistle blowers. Leakers in this case are giving the press and the people information they need to know so we like them. When we like what is happening that seems to qualify as whistle blowing. The decision about leak v blow of whistle cannot be resolved at this time, but in this case, I hope the leaks keep coming.

The Republicans have their majority in Congress but it has not proven to be productive for them yet because DT does not seem to have the least inclination to go through Congress to pass laws. In fact the whole of Congress appears to be just an aside or an afterthought in this administration. Mr. T seems to have the hang of the executive decision apparatus which includes consulting with all his loyal cronies and family, a sort of rule by committee, and is sticking to that for now.

Republicans wanted to be in power so badly and are so ecstatic to have succeeded that they seem to have no desire to rein in the overweening ego and authoritarian bent of our fearless leader. It is practically impossible to believe that the Republicans will act on even this stunning information. Collusion with Russia, the exact nation we have spent years trying to avoid sharing information with, seems so close to treason that it cannot be ignored. We blacklisted Hollywood actors and politicians for joining the American Communist Party which had no connection with the USSR. Apparently we may have reached a point in American governance where a President actually cannot be unseated.

This is where the people come in. I had almost forgotten the people. They were so silent most of the time while Obama was president unless they were parroting Fox News. They did not get riled up during the election about anything but Bernie Sanders. They did not shout down the demeaning of Hillary Clinton. There were no demonstrations, or objections that were loud enough to outshout the true loudmouth in the campaign.

But the people are the fourth branch of government that is addressed in the Preamble of our Constitution when our forefathers say “WE the People”.
We are powerful because we have numbers on our side. We outnumber those folks we send to Congress to represent us. We conduct their business for them even in the halls of government. We are the referees. We police the game. When the game goes foul we call it, we point it out and hopefully the press backs us up, because the people in the press are also “we the people”. If the people do not make government straighten out when it is going off the rails then we are doomed to be just another democracy that used to be great but now simply proves the point of famous thinkers who said democracies can’t last for very long.

Susan Sarandon was on the Chris Hayes news hour on MSNBC last night while I was washing dishes and I got so angry listening to her that I almost threw a dish. She seemed to be arguing that demolishing our government and starting over is the only pathway that will get us out of the hole of corruption that we are in. Is that the only way open to us, to trash it all and start over? Isn’t history and continuity worth anything? She and her friend were still upset about Bernie Sanders losing the election, but did he ever really have a chance to win?

The only issue that holds any importance for them is the damage that has been done to the environment during the Obama administration and which will escalate under DT. Many of us worry about whether we can keep putting off doing the things that need to be done to take care of the planet. Even so she would not say that she regretted deserting the Democrats and that she was sorry about DT now that she could see the chaos. I was actually shouting at my TV when all she would say is that the chaos would be good in the end. But I wish we had done all we needed to do before the election so we did not have to go such a long way out of our way and we would never have to wonder if we could find our way back. And treason would still be a reason to kick someone off the team, even a President.

Activism at the Local Level

I have been trying to express my feelings about the current administration in writing, of course. You can find my thoughts on my website:

http://thearmchairobserver.com/

I also repost at this site for bloggers:

http://tremr.com/

But lately, with everyone in their own little bubble, in a world where the left reads what the left writes and the right reads only what the right writes (wow – say that three times fast) it seems necessary to get my body out in public so it can be counted along with other people who feel the need to protect things like human rights, peace, and climate science. I decided to try activism. I have begun to attend local community meetings and demonstrations when I can. If you find yourself feeling fearful and somewhat helpless in the face of what seems to be the demise of our democracy/republic then you might also find that picking a few demonstrations or marches or meetings might be the perfect antidote. The more numbers/bodies there are to count the bigger the statement that we refuse to go down the road of authoritarian oppression.

You can find the local group that I have been meeting with at http://cnysolidarity.org/ or look for an Indivisible group in your area or sign on with Move on.org. These meetings started out with a few founders and a few attendees in a small room (which I don’t have a picture of) and now they require more room each time they meet and lots of parking places. From the website:

The above image is the work of artist Dalia Shevin, 2016, “You belong/ Tú perteneces.”

“CNY Solidarity Coalition is a grassroots coalition of organizations and individuals committed to protecting all Central New Yorkers from the dangers of the Trump-Pence-Bannon-Ryan administration’s policies, appointees, and rhetoric.

We are dedicated to truth, justice, and democracy. We aim to protect and fight alongside People of Color, Immigrants, Refugees, LGBTQI people, the Muslim Community, the Jewish Community, Women, People with Disabilities, People with Mental Illness, the Deaf Community, Teachers, Scientists, Environmentalists, and all other marginalized and oppressed groups and entities that are likely to be targeted in these uncertain times.

The Coalition’s anchor organizations include:

 

I took some photos to document some of this activism, of the meetings and activities, although I am a terrible photographer.

Women’s March, January 21, 2017

 

Visit to Federal Building in Syracuse, NY to deliver a petition to our Senators, Chuck Schumer and Kirstin Gillibrand.

Fourth Meeting of the CNY Solidarity Coalition

I recommend joining the resistance; action overcomes depression, and expression refines anger.

My favorite demonstration chant – “This is what democracy looks like!”

After the Coup – A Critique of the Democrats

I have spent many hours watching the Republicans stage their “coup” against the Democrats and try (and mostly succeed) to control every part of the Executive branch, the Legislative branch and the Judicial branch in order to implement the Conservative agenda which they obviously, in their hubris, believe is their “gift” to America. This, of course, suggests that Conservatives feel that they are superior and that they want to and will hold sway over America for as long as we all shall live. I have written a book about this. I have gone on and on for the past six years, ad tedium, in my blog about each and every step the GOP took to get them where they are now. No one ever seemed to accept that anything so seditious could actually be happening. Would they have won the three branches without Trump? I don’t know, but they certainly did their homework. I think they got “Trumped” and have now made a bad bargain, but they still have control and they seem thrilled with it. Will they have regrets down the road? They don’t think so. Did you see how McConnell gave Elizabeth Warren the “little woman” treatment with that really disturbing smile on his face.

Not only did the Republicans drift to the edges of what could be considered Constitutional behavior in using extreme gerrymandering, voter suppression, a war on women, shutting down government, forcing massive spending cuts as in the sequester, making corporations people and money speech. (Do you really think our forefathers would find this acceptable – all that private money in government?) But they also set out to turn Ronald Reagan into a right wing saint and Bill and Hillary Clinton into left wing monsters. Bill and Hillary actually sort of helped turn themselves into the spitting images of powerful people who didn’t mind abusing power. And the Republicans acted horribly shocked, as if there is no one on the right who fits this description.

Democrats never went to bat for Hillary the way they should have. They totally gave the impression that they also believed Hillary was tainted and unelectable. Did the Dems know they were handing power, as they used to say in royal times, “willy-nilly,” to the Republicans? Bernie arose out of real progressive desires in the party (of which he was not a member) and it seemed possible to fight extreme right wing change with extreme left wing change. Given the enormous push by the GOP during the Obama years to make government smaller I’m not sure that that was ever an equal tug of war.  Bernie was not tainted but he probably would have been right quick. Should Hillary have been expected to sacrifice her chance to be President, probably her last chance, because the other party saw her coming and set about destroying her? I’m thinking that she thought the Democrats would give her all their avid support considering what might (and did) happen if the Democrats didn’t win.

If Bernie had not decided to run and if all of the Democratic Party had thrown its resources into fact-checking and overturning the sometimes quite diabolically fake charges used to demonize Hillary, would it have made a difference? Perhaps not and we will never know. But how much of the hate against Hillary can be laid at the feet of the Republicans in their quest to win control over the entire government of America? Well, although she may have been incomprehensibly complicit in the process of demonization I would say that the Republicans own the hate. All my suspicions aside, Hillary was vastly outmaneuvered and I don’t know if she would have been quite Machiavellian enough to lead America in these treacherous times.

The question remains as to why the Democrats were not up in arms and enlisting their loyal troops to demonstrate well before the election took place. The divisions in their ranks (either organic or engineered) prevented them from following their instincts, if not in relation to what the Republicans were up to, at least in relation to what they already perceived about Donald Trump. He came in on the GOP coattails, but the Democrats bear quite a bit of the responsibility for where our nation finds itself 20 days or so into the “reign” of 45. Have the Dems been wiped out or can they make a comeback? IDK

What I suggest is that the party not try to organize the resistance. Let the people do that. What the party should be doing is getting down there in those weeds at the local level, finding strong candidates wherever we can find them, raising bigger money from big donors than you can raise from grassroots donations and spending money to get those candidates trained, rehearsed in public speaking and public politicking, and ready for the 2018 election. Find out what constituents in the various local districts want that fits in with the Democratic agenda and make realistic campaign promises to work hard on those things in Congress. If we want to continue to exist as a party we have a lot to do, unless the GOP self-destructs, which it is “devoutly to be wished,” it will. I just don’t want them to take our nation down with them.

Who’s Right, Who’s Wrong – The Resistance

Yes we are divided into two ideological tribes or camps. Yes this point has been made a million times by everyone including me. However the fact that the message is repetitive does not make it wrong. Each side believes that the policies espoused by their party will keep America stronger, healthier and more influential on the world stage than will the policies of the other party.

Moving From Obstruction to Demolition

But I think we have to look at this from another perspective because one of the two major parties (one set of ideologically-based beliefs) requires Americans to scrap all of the laws they have made since the Constitution was written and to start over. This party wants to obliterate the other party, annihilate it and get rid of any traces that it ever existed. This party says we should throw out everything we have done, especially on human rights, humanitarian concerns, environmental concerns, and regulation of business and the banks, on foreign relations and trade.

They believe the true test of a nation is economic, not humanitarian. They believe that celebrating diversity will change the hue of America beyond recognition and it will just not be America anymore. Behind this is an argument that our democracy/republic was designed for white people who are Christians and that is all.

They blame our changed position in the world (no longer first in production or universally feared and respected by all the world’s nations) as arising from the failed policies of the other party rather than any other forces like greater connectedness through air travel, tourism, the internet and cell phones. They want to hold the world still just like they tried to hold our government still for the past six years. They want things to be like they used to be.

(Smack your forehead here at the naivety of this extreme nostalgia.) Even these folks know in their hearts that nothing stays the same forever.)

This is exactly why the left says that the right wants to take us backwards. The party on the left seems to at least try to address current needs of our society as they arise.

It’s Personal

Despite the chaos of the past two week the Trumpers who were once my friends and family are starting to creep back on to my Facebook page crowing triumphantly because the man who is not my president is doing just exactly what he promised his “peeps” he would do. It is quite distressing that my feelings are so different from the friends I grew up with and from my family. Where I see creeping fascism and racism and warmongering they have visions of influence and world domination dancing in their heads. Who’s right, who’s wrong?

I have been as aware as anyone that our government is far from perfect. I think that there is too much money in politics. I deplore the Citizen’s United decision and the McCutcheon v FEC decision and even the original ruling that made corporations people because that just led to the laws that define money as speech. Why does this statement that money is speech sound like linguistic nonsense to me and like common sense to others? Who’s right, who’s wrong?

Now there is to be an executive action that allows religious not-for-profits to contribute money to campaigns. My brain is ready to explode already, but then we are told that laws are being passed that challenge the right to religious freedom – because they require religious people to do things that threaten either their soul, their bottom line, or both such as bake a cake for a gay wedding or offer insurance to their employees that pays for contraception. (Smack your forehead again.)

There is an obvious clash of values here. Does our country legislate to please those who follow the Bible, or does it legislate to offer treatment to all that is as fair as possible. Since we are not a theocracy I come down on the side of the latter, but I also despair that this conflict is almost impossible to resolve without untangling how to respect the separation of church and state and still respect the desires of citizens to honor their religious beliefs. Perhaps only time will smooth out this one but in the meantime it is tearing America apart. So I see the logic of Christians, although it blows the idea of tolerance out of the water and that can’t be right.

These estranged friends and family members do not even agree that the GOP has skirted and subverted the US Constitution to serve their own purposes, or that there was ever obstruction, or voter suppression, or extreme gerrymandering. If they get even a glimmer of a thought that some of this may be true then it was justified, they say.

So none of these folks will ever buy that resistance is required; they will not see anything amiss with Trump’s cabinet appointments, including the horrific-for-our-schools Betsy DeVos. They do not think that a Supreme Court seat that was Obama’s to fill has been stolen on purpose and handed to DT to fill. In fact they applaud this maneuver although it sort of annihilates our US Constitution.

 

 

Talking to Democrats

This leads me to the “speech” I want to make to Democrats in Congress. I do not care what you believe that sets you at odds with other Dems. This is a time for unity. (No pledges, I don’t like pledges. Look what Norquist did to Republicans who signed his pledge.) This is a time to put our differences aside and decide about what we agree on. I bet we can all agree to resist every executive action or bill that tries to overturn laws that were passed to address the problems of the 20th and 21st centuries, or any action that is unconstitutional.

I bet we can all agree to keep an eye on the whole Trump entourage and try to soften the blows that he seems likely to dish out to America and the world. And if you do not – every one of you – vote no on Neil Gorsuch for the Supreme Court, I hope that any wealthy backers we have will see that you get the “primaried” treatment that the GOP used so successfully to keep elected reps in line and I hope we the people surround your offices and demonstrate peacefully in your face until you get the message.

Here is link to a list of all of the Democrats in the 115th Congress. We are watching you. This is not a threat, but it is a promise.

http://thearmchairobserver.com/115th-congress-democrats/

 

Stick together. Go down fighting or win through resistance. Obstruction is their word: let’s use the word resistance.

A Few Parting Thoughts

So far I see little of the buyer’s remorse I hoped to see by now. Trumpers don’t think DT is personally hurting them in any way; but they seem delighted that his is sticking it to the left. Oh my giddy aunt! (OK, I stole that from A Knight’s Tale, but in my defense I love that line and it is difficult to find many opportunities to use it.) How much longer will it take for disaffection to appear?

(And Facebook – these folks and I still strongly disagree and I am not ready to let them back onto my page yet, so please continue to block them. I guess Facebook thinks all is well and it is time to reconvene. This is one time that we cannot agree to disagree.)

This is a view from the cheap seats.