What a year was 2019! Who knew that trying to save America would be so exhausting? And we have not yet followed the brave example of the citizens of Hong Kong, fighting a seemingly impossible fight against a large and in-control China. We admire them. But we have not yet arrived at that point yet thanks to the fact that we are losing our freedoms slowly and they have not yet impacted noticeably on our every day lives.
We are getting ready for a presidential election. It is an enormously important one which will determine whether our election system has been rendered untrustworthy through cheating and manipulation. We know that districts have been gerrymandered right down to street level to ensure that white districts are separate from minority districts. We know that these districts have been targeted in different ways. White districts get the red carpet treatment, while in minority districts voters have been stripped from the voter’s rolls, no reasons given. Voting locations have been moved to out-of-the-way places or shut down together. There have been strategies to prevent college students (who are seen as leaning left) from voting while on campus, trying to force them to go home to vote, which, of course, may not be feasible. Foreign governments have been invited to interfere in our elections.
Something that has been sound and trustworthy for generations, our elections, are suddenly open to manipulation, to digitalization, to huge donations, to expensive media ads that do not have to be true. Ever since the Supreme Court ended the voting protection built into the Voting Rights Act and passed Citizens United and McCutcheon our elections seems anything but safe, depending on where you vote.
So, we face an election that requires intimate knowledge of the electorate and face-to-face canvassing and solid goals easily explained to voters, and lots and lots of money. It must be electioneering on steroids. If you are in a blue state or a blue district the odds are stacked against you. The other side had the foresight and the focus along with an agenda that included a long view, the development of tactics that would allow the right to stay in power, perhaps forever, in order to pass the laws they wanted without competition.
The right fought to turn rural America red because they could see that the electoral college math would then favor them. Urban areas have more people and more electoral votes, but there are more rural states and when those small numbers of votes are summed up the numbers belie the actual population. Thus, we have a popular vote and an electoral college vote that are out-of-sync by design. Is this cheating or just good planning? It doesn’t smell right especially when extreme levels of government obstruction against the left in Congress have already allowed government to drift right.
Fortunately, due to the advent of the unsuitable Donald J. Trump, Democrats finally understand the challenges they face, and they accept that the policies of the right will change how our democracy/republic functions for decades or perhaps forever, even if our government actually remains a democracy/republic. Fortunately, Trump committed an impeachable offense that was not deniable enough, and of course it had to do with cheating in the 2020 election. He stomped all over the new Ukraine government who we are supposed to be helping in a fight against an imperialistic and enormous Russia. But because this man Trump has a strange power over a fairly large number of Americans this is barely seen as problematic. What has happened to us?
Of course, this year held many other areas of concern. We see hot spots in the oceans, more devastating natural storms and other events. We can’t do any big things to turn back climate changes which will most likely respond only to some fairly massive adjustments in the way we interact with earth’s environment.
We can’t help people uprooted by violence and climate change in South America or by war in the Middle East or Africa because new laws are against humanitarianism.
We have watched our President increase the power of the Executive branch until it seems that if we have a Congress at all in the future it will be simply a place where rich people go to wear nice suits and trade their pull with the President for money.
We are watching the UK go down the same pathways because no one wants Muslims in their country, and everyone wants their minority population to hold steady where it is.
It seems that all we do lately is watch stupid stuff, stuffed shirts, bad laws, cruel policies, and stubborn men with too much power. We cannot turn the tables and begin making better laws until we oust the Republican right wing from power.
This election is so momentous that we cannot afford to lose it and the cheating has been so well-organized that it makes winning a real long shot requiring a party organized to the ‘nines’. The future is now. What we do in this election represents the turning point where we keep going to the right or pull the entire nation back to the left. If the left doesn’t win, we are doomed, that’s how dire our climate situation is.
So Happy New Year! This is the year we take back our government and save our democracy/republic and our planet. Last night I watched The Hobbit. All those great, big heroic men kept asking Gandalf why he brought along Bilbo Baggins, who seemed so small, so unheroic, a burden even. Finally, Gandalf, tired of waiting for them to figure it out for themselves said something like this. The halfling is here because I have found that it is not always big things that fight evil best – it is the small things, the simple kindnesses. Well even though this is a fictional wizard, he is written with the wisdom of the authors, and if this is so then we, the seemingly sidelined, underdogs on the left should find 2020 a year full of hope.