2017 has started off with a lot of noise, largely political. I am center-left politically, and I am more distressed than I can ever remember being about an administration. So much so, that I participated in the Seattle Womxn’s March the day after the inauguration (you can see pictures at my Instagram if you like https://www.instagram.com/elkaydee66/ ). I’m not a marcher–I haven’t protested anything since 1985 when as a student at Georgetown University I protested Apartheid–another regime I felt was so far out of line everyone needed to screech at it. Yes, I did just call this current administration a regime. The way they have been acting, it’s appropriate. The march in Seattle took place on a beautiful sunny day. The atmosphere was friendly and positive–everyone there was there to say you know what? It’s not ok to say just grab ’em by the pussy. It’s not ok to mock a disabled reporter. It’s not ok to foment racism at your rallies and to say you’ll pay legal fees should anyone of your followers choose violence against minorities. Not ok. Not ok at all.
I then participated in Seattle’s rally for immigrants and refugees to protest the ban on immigrants and refugees from 7 nations (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Yemen, Libya, and Somalia). To me, this ban is as unAmerican and unDemocratic as we can get. No, wait. It’s not. But it is close. The tenor of this rally was not as friendly as the women’s march. People were feeling directly targeted and angry. I firmly believe in open borders and that the words on the Statue of Liberty are not just a nicety, but doctrine.
Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
This means, to me, we let everyone in. All the time. (Yes I realize that our immigration policy has since the early 1800s been wildly exclusionary towards non-whites–even more specifically non-Northern Europeans. It has always been wrong.) Does this mean that people who wish the US ill will come in? Of course it does. But first of all, people who wish us ill are here, born and bred here, in all hues of skin tone. And secondly, by welcoming those who are in need or who are seeking a better life, we are negating the ill rhetoric being spouted by our “enemies”. Let me just be clear about something–nothing we as a nation can do, NOTHING, will prevent 100% of infiltrators who wish us harm. Nothing. It is simply foolhardy to believe this to be true. Instead of spending money on futile attempts to block individuals, races, religions; spend money on better communities. Communities that care will know when something is amiss. And then, actually listen. There’s so much screaming going on by both sides that nobody is listening.
The number one killer of community and of caring is greed. What we have in our nation is an infestation, an epidemic of greed and it is running rampant through government, through business, through religion. We are governed by those who have the best interests of the highest paying special interest groups at heart, not the best interests of the nation or the people they allegedly represent. I sound angry, I sound callous, I sound cynical and I hate that I sound this way and feel this way. I resent like hell that the actions taken by both political parties have led us to a situation where an individual who represents NEITHER political party has bought his way into the highest office in the nation. A person who actively dislikes the very structure he serves in–and a person who does not value service at all. He has treated this office with contempt and as if he were not an elected official, but one with a divine right to do as he pleases without regard for anyone but himself and his friends. In my opinion, we have a gross miscarriage of democracy playing out in front of our eyes, in front of the world, and what we do now will reverberate for generations to come.
What I see, is a shocked party system. I believe that the Republicans, although bearing a large chunk of blame for this) do not really want this person in power. He holds no Republican values dear. He is crass, he is not Christian, his personal life is not consistent with Republican ideals. His fiscal history is equally checkered–he is not a good businessman. He scoffs at unions and utilizes the very undocumented workers he would toss out of the country as labor for constructing his buildings. He refuses to pay bills. The hypocrisy here is tangible. And the Republicans appear to be clinging to tradition thinking that it will all somehow come out all right. I believe they are sadly mistaken.
On the Democrat side, I see familiar disarray. I see too much hand-wringing and not enough standing up and demanding a cease-and-desist to the blatantly unconstitutional actions taken. I see lukewarm responses when political fire demand to be met with fire. I see searching for a level playing field when it is abundantly obvious that not only is there not a level playing field, there isn’t even a field. This is not a party ready to grab any reins.
What we desperately need is compassion, empathy, and strength. There is clearly a severely disenfranchised hard-right wing in the country. Why? What can we do to fix it? We cannot tolerate racism. We cannot tolerate hatred. But we can fix basic needs that are going unmet. Ironically, the ACA was doing that. We haven’t had civil political discourse for decades. I believe it really fell apart in the 90s with Newt Gingrich and his frontal assault on everything and everyone who had in his view wronged him. It could be traced back to Watergate and the then insatiable desire the media had to break the next scandal. A big part of the media problem came in the Reagan administration when entertainment companies were allowed to purchase news outlets. Competition for ratings then led us to the bullshit of Fox news making wild accusations with soundbites gobbled up by conservatives. There is no reason for all of the nastiness that has ensued and that came to a vicious head this last election cycle. At least I hope it did. If it gets worse, our nation will fail.
Why can we not have room for differences of opinion? Why must liberals and conservatives call each other stupid when there are disagreements? Why must we peg far to the left or right on an issue and refuse to budge? This is political toddlerism, and has no place in a truly democratic society. Saying if you don’t get all of your way, all of the time or you won’t play is just unacceptable.
I feel as though I’m beginning to rant. OK, maybe I’ve been ranting for a while. But this is important to me. I love this country. I have a lot of friends in my life that have different political views than I do and I don’t think they are stupid, or racist–I know they aren’t. I don’t understand how my nation got to this point and I’m angry. And I hate that I’m angry. I shouldn’t have to be angry.
What I want, is the middle to rise up and say enough. Enough to the far right and enough to the far left. No, you don’t get to give businesses the same rights as individuals. No, you don’t get to give a splinter socialist party the same level of seat at the table when they flat out don’t have followers. No. We take care of each other. We take care of the planet. We take care of the environment. And we make money while we do it. But we don’t let money take over and become the most important thing. And we don’t let good legislation get derailed by bullshit side issues. We do not. We rise up. We pull the best from people. We innovate. We move forward. We create. We are a nation of doers and thinkers, workers and planners. And most of all we dream and include and do it all with great joy. That’s the America I want. No, that’s the America I demand.