Being swamped with anti-pipeline work, I’ve been slow to process my take-away on Donald Trump’s Election Day victory. Bottom line: Trump’s presidency presents two tremendous opportunities.
More on that in a moment. First, it’s important to acknowledge that lots of bad things could happen over the next four years — especially with regards the U.S. Supreme Court and climate change. Trump has already backed-away from some of his more draconian campaign rhetoric on immigration and healthcare, although plenty of harmful changes could be advanced on those fronts, too.
With climate change, given his likely appointment of deniers Myron Ebell and Harold Hamm to key posts in his administration, Trump shows no indication of modifying his climate extremism.
So yes, we have reason to be scared. Americans who supported Trump in the general election, or Bernie Sanders in the primary, are justifiably angry and ready to topple the status quo. Sanders laid blame where it belongs. Trump’s supporters mistakenly blame constituencies who are themselves victims of the collusion of big business and big government.
But take heart. There are two silver linings. Silver lining #1:
We’re already seeing tremendous push-back against President-elect Trump. As Trump, Congress and Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country try to enact regressive changes on immigration, LGBT equality, civil liberties, eminent domain and the environment, the response from a wide swathe of Americans is only going to grow more vocal and more organized.
Many who join the fight against these changes will be disillusioned Trump supporters, just as many of President Obama’s most active and vocal critics were voters who campaigned for him in 2008. It’s important to welcome them into the fight, unconditionally.
Then there’s the incredible energy unleashed by Sanders during the presidential primary. That energy is now mobilizing millions of Americans through Our Revolution, building a reform movement like none this country has seen in a long, long time. This movement will temper some of the worst proposals put forth over the next four years, and be poised to shift power in 2020.
Which brings me to silver-lining #2:
Nearly everyone recognizes that the Democratic Party is politically and morally bankrupt. The elitists who control the Party have been fully exposed as out-of-touch corporate apologists. The moment for us to reclaim the Party for the people has arrived.
And let’s be clear: All this talk coming from the Democratic Establishment about getting the so-called two wings of the Party to work together is a distraction. Sure, the Establishment is a wing — and one so broken and battered it simply needs to be cut off and discarded. Progressives, on the other hand, are not a wing of the Party. We’re the bird!
The changes America truly needs are on the verge of coming to fruition. Accomplishing them will require patience, perseverance, sacrifice and wisdom. Success is contingent upon nurturing these two silver linings: (1) a grassroots uprising to fight against regressive policy change, and (2) reclaiming the Democratic Party for the people.
Are you ready to help make it happen? I am!
Thanks – Ed Fallon