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I am heading to the DMV to renew my Driver’s License. It will, I expect — this time, I sort of hope — take hours and hours. That way, whatever I find when I emerge from that special world will be a sort of relief.
This is a time of newly made-up ritual for those of us opposed to Trump. I tested my blood sugar this morning with a prick to my left middle finger, all the better to greet the Trump Presidency. Then I had jasmine green tea with a couple of croissants for breakfast. This is all silliness, I recognize — my ruefully asserting my counterculture identity in the face of the leaper headed my/our way as we transition, at the moment this is published, from President Gallant to President Goofus. Those of my stripe are probably occupying themselves with other meaningless acts of mock rebellion as the noon hour approaches Washington D.C.
But there’s one thing that I won’t say, because it is too silly. I will not say that “Donald Trump is Not My President.”
He is. Or, at least, by the time you read this, while I’m at the DMV, he will be. MY President. YOUR President. OUR President. That’s the problem right there! No point in wishing it away.
We earned him. Republicans, obviously, earned him — honorable exceptions aside. Independents — well, we might as well blame you as well. There is a heated debate within the Democratic Party as to whether it is even permissible to credit Hillary and her supporters for this result. On Facebook last week, I was involved in a discussion on the post of an old female friend from Pittsburgh. I had said that not only Bernie Sanders was more likely to win. A friend of hers called me a sexist, opposed to voting for a woman. I said that, no, I had wanted Sen. Elizabeth Warren to win — and that I think that she too would have won. So would Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. And that part of the lesson here was: don’t nominate the second-least-liked candidate in Presidential polling history in the expectation of that candidate knocking off the most-least-liked, because that’s cutting things too close. And this friend of a friend said “see, that’s how these men are — they say they’ll vote for any woman except the one who’s actually running!” And I said “she DID run, and she DID lose — by losing exactly the part of the country that I and others, including Trump, SAID that she would lose!” And she explained to me that she did NOT lose, she won by almost three million votes, and anyway it was Comey and Putin who…. That’s where we Democrats are as a party right now. We, the “fact-based”-party, have to deal with others within our ranks who deny the existence and importance of the Electoral College, and who blame Russian “rat-fucking” (that’s actually a recognized term for “political dirty tricks”) for a failure to inspire that was already evident more than a year ago.
We may never get over this one. You think that the Balkan peoples have long memories of past grievances? We didn’t nominate Sanders, when it comes down to it, because George McGovern lost in 1972.
But there is one thing on which I think that we can all agree, best put into words by the blogger Duncan “Atrios” Black 15 or so years ago: we must “Document the Atrocities.” In other words: Take Good Notes.
I’m of the opinion that in content Trump is not all that different from most Republican Presidential candidates. In style, absolutely — he has brought a coarsening to our political system that is truly stunning. But in content, he is with two exceptions — skepticism towards NATO and the national security establishment and opposition to free trade, both of which are to some extent refreshing, and which also probably doom him — pretty standard fare. His Cabinet appointments (note to Cynthia: you can’t say that “he’s done nothing yet” because they’re what he’s done) are by and large antagonistic to the regulatory and administrative roles they are supposed to play.
He may not recognize the contradictions of his policies regarding the national security state and the administration of justice — and he will surely deny then once he does recognize them — but he’s very much in the mode there of Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes. (Also of Clinton and Obama much of the time, one must admit.)
On education, on housing, on crime, on the environment, on health care, on women’s rights, etc., Donald Trump is set to implement long-held conservative Republican theories of governance. Maybe they’ll succeed; probably they won’t. But in any event, the test of those idea will now be performed, and what we absolutely CAN’T allow is for the truth that emerges to be hidden, mangled, or forgotten. Future Americans — if there are any, if the argument made by the pastor who will give Trump’s official prayer that Obama had “paved the way for the Antichrist” turns out not to be ironically true — need to know and understand what happened here. It’s not just Trump that is being tested by this top-to-bottom, federal-to-state-and-local, domination by Republicans: it’s Mike Pence and Paul Ryan and the rest of the gang too.
They’re going to try to fuzz over their mistakes. Don’t let them. Prepare to bear witness. Pen and paper ready.
Take good notes.
(Oh: and the “omega” is the scientific symbol used for “resistance.”)