Our country’s slide from a vulnerable, teetering democracy into a quasi-fascist state after the election of the despot Donald Trump was, of course, the biggest news event of 2017, providing both darkness and clarity when it comes to the American experiment.
It was dark even though the signs that our democracy hasn’t been functioning were all around us way before the rise of Trump, and dark mainly because nearly 63 million people voted an authoritarian and narcissistic buffoon into the nation’s highest office, pushing the country ever closer towards a historic collapse.
The clarity came from the vital emergence of a resistance to Trump and all for which he stands, beginning with the huge and nationwide Women’s Marches shortly after he took office. It is an intellectual and moral clarity that emanates from the millions of people who stood up to the bully in one form or another in 2017.
To paraphrase one of the refrains of the resistance, No, it was not normal times in 2017, and it’s not going to get normal anytime soon.
Well-respected yet the same old pundits on the left have outlined Trump’s flaws and corruption and the complicity of the immoral GOP, which is guided by the ideology of a uniquely American oligarchy, a greedy cabal that at long last has drawn sustained attention from a growing opposition. Anyone knows the system has always been rigged for the rich, of course, but now it has become manifest and inscribed with the date November 8, 2016, our election date of historic infamy, world disgrace and corruption.
There is no longer pretense about the aims and intent of the oligarchy, which now includes filthy rich tech magnates and the “bro” culture they have spawned: It seeks power, money, property and lower monetary classes clamoring for some crumbs of their deceit. The oligarchy believes it deserves to have all the money, and everyone else deserves to struggle for basic survival. Who can avoid such sweeping generalizations when the evidence of such evil is all around us?
Yet for all the talk of the resistance to Trump, the GOP and the oligarchy, and yet for all the hope it might inspire, there remain huge obstacles to its success. Here are some ideas for 2018:
One, more individuals need to get on the streets to protest the sheer madness of the corrupt Trump regime and the demise of democracy.
Two, the Democratic Party needs to cut its ties with the oligarchy and its reliance on corporate blood money, remove its centrist-right leadership and become more active in creating and supporting anti-Trump protest events. It needs to support the media operations of the resistance on the local level as well.
Three, the mainstream media, if it’s possible, needs to reinvent itself openly as an opposition force to Trump, who deems it “fake news,” anyway, and wants to destroy it or at least weaken its power. Media outlets need to stop their use of false equivalencies and discard the old rhetorical structures. Let’s face it: Our president is a lying, corrupt egomaniac. We need to read and hear this each and every day without qualifications in every news story about him and his surrogates. Democracy depends upon us hearing and knowing this.
My hope for 2018 is that we can hit the streets with renewed energy, make adjustments in our democratic-supporting institutions and win majorities in the House and Senate to limit Trump’s power to make our lives miserable with his hatred and illness while enriching himself, his family and the oligarchy with the national treasure.
Yet I’m also fully aware, and I urge others to be aware, that these times may well call for working outside the normative of party politics and the mainstream media. Perhaps, our institutions are simply not capable of dealing with a post-truth era, with the brazenness of a tyrant and liar like the racist Trump, with the sheer evilness it embodies.
It’s quite possible we can’t even imagine the worst that has yet to come, and we must experience it before change is even a possibility, but we must continue to fight in 2018 because what else can we do?