Our Democracy Has Failed. Now Is the Time To Focus.

donald-trump

So the Electoral College has failed the Founding Fathers and ushered in the presidency of a manifestly unqualified and dangerous individual.

It’s time to focus.

Forget about Ivanka and Melania. Forget about his foolish, thin-skinned Tweets. Forget about his refusal to adhere to the norms of the Presidency.

Focus.

I know it’s fun to post memes about how awful and clownish and embarrassing he is. It’s also fun to bitch and moan online about it.

Stop. Focus.

There’s only one thing that matters now, and that is making sure Trump doesn’t spend all four years in office wrecking the country.

THE RUSSIANS HACKED OUR ELECTION.[i] Trump and his buddy, Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, have collaborated with the Russian government to CHANGE THE RESULTS OF AN AMERICAN ELECTION.

Why? Money. Exxon and Trump had enormous, multi-billion-dollar oil deals with Russia that were derailed when President Obama placed sanctions on Russia for taking over the Crimea. Now that Trump and Exxon will be running the country, those sanctions will be lifted, and Trump and Tillerman and Putin will swim happily away together on a tide of billions of dollars.[ii] (Assuming Tillerman is confirmed by the Senate. If not, that shouldn’t change the basic strategy of lifting the sanctions and letting les bons temps roulées.)

I am aware that treason has not been proven. Yet. However, given the extremely shady “character” of the (not my) president-to-be, I feel fairly confident in saying it was collusion. If I am proven wrong, I’ll be the first to apologize. I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, I say:

THIS IS TREASON.

It is also, more mildly, a completely illegal conflict of interest under the emoluments clause of the United States Constitution. Trump has a shitload of those, but this is the one that counts.

I REPEAT, THIS IS TREASON.

Please. Focus on treason and conflicts of interest and scream, yell and shout about it. Demonstrate in the streets about it. Write your representatives and senators about it.

Nothing else is as important, including soothing your unhappiness by posting memes about Trump’s unnatural relationship with his daughter. If we all focus our rage and energy and efforts on protesting TREASON on the part of an elected president­—someone who deliberately invited and collaborated with an unfriendly foreign power to make more money and gain power over us—maybe our legislators will get off their cowardly asses and do something to help us combat this beast.

Otherwise, resign yourself to not just another four years, but perhaps a lifetime of increasing repression, oppression, bigotry, voter suppression, rigged elections and the increased misery of the poor and disenfranchised.

In other words, you can look forward to violent revolution. You can only bully, threaten and marginalize people so long before they start fighting back.

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[i] http://www.cnn.com/2016/12/19/politics/russian-election-hacking-podesta-brazile-mccain/

[ii] http://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2016/12/15/trump-russia-exxon-tillerson/#400782fe3a63

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Fear and Loathing in the United States

trump-snakeI am not usually troubled by writer’s block. My philosophy has always been: just write. Throw out the dreck and keep and edit the good stuff. It’s always worked well for me.

But since November 8, I have largely been unable to write a blog post. I did manage to crank out a piece on safety pins, but that was it. I’ve been so stunned, angry and terrified at the prospect of a Trump presidency that I literally could not think what to write. I could always write about something else, except for the fact that I have been unable to think about anything else.

Also, I didn’t just want to list the things that are terrifying about Donald Trump. Every article I read lays his vileness out like a sacred litany, the list only getting longer day by day. I skip these articles now because I know the catechism by heart, and every new day brings a fresh load of excrement to digest.

Trump is like a juggernaut. Nothing seems to stop him. If any other candidate had said or done even one of the horrific things he’s come up with, they’d be political roadkill by now—but no, he’s going to be our president. Even the knowledge that the Russians hacked our electoral system to sway the election in Trump’s favor doesn’t seem to matter. I saw President Obama being interviewed by Trevor Noah last night, and he seemed completely blasé about the whole thing—he said we shouldn’t be surprised. That’s just what Russians do, dontchaknow.

One day I was living in a great country, where immigrants can find refuge, where people have compassion, where we care about discrimination and work against injustice. Not a perfect country, but a country always striving to be better. Overnight, I find myself in a horrific dystopian land where people in white hoods endorse presidential candidates, where Fascist policies are embraced with enthusiasm, where hatred, meanness, bigotry and scorn for science and education are the norm.

We are now waiting with a great deal of angst and dread for the Electoral College to vote in just five days. Other nations that do not enjoy the peculiar institution of an electoral college have a hard time following this. Americans are always bellowing about our proud democracy, but most of them appear not to know that the U.S. is NOT a democracy, it’s a republic. Sure, we let the little folks vote because it makes them feel like they have a say. But the REAL voters are the 538 citizens of the Electoral College. Normally, the EC votes track the actual vote, but not this time. The problem is the notion of winner-take-all. The electors are chosen by their party in each state. The New York Times says, “In every state except two, the party that wins the popular vote gets to send all of its electors to the state capital in December. In the nonconforming Maine and Nebraska, two electoral votes are apportioned to the winner of the popular vote, and the rest of the votes are given to the winner of the popular votes in each of the states’ congressional districts. (Maine has two congressional districts and Nebraska has three.)”

The number of electors depends on the state’s population. If a given state has a majority of votes for Candidate X, Candidate X takes ALL of that state’s EC votes. Electors can legally vote for whomever they please, but traditionally vote along party lines. The EC was designed by the Founding Fathers to prevent a manifestly unfit individual from becoming president, but has never actually overturned an election in the past, which would require an unprecedented large number of EC voters to vote against party lines.

It actually gets more complicated than that, but enough civics for one blog post.

For the first time in my life, some of the electors appear to be questioning the fitness of the president-elect to serve as president. Whether or not enough electors can be swayed by Trump’s scary clown act is the question of the day. I personally emailed all the electors to urge them not to vote for Trump. (I didn’t ask them to vote FOR any specific individual.) I got three responses, all canned, all from Texas. They all said they wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton—not that I asked them to. Basically, my stance at this point is “Anybody but Trump.” Even Mike Pence. Pence is an evil bastard, but he’s not actually insane. (I don’t think.) It’s easier to deal with straightforward evil than it is to work with random, ego-fueled, idea-of-the-minute craziness.

And if the Electoral College fails to do its duty, I will dedicate the rest of my life to getting the Electoral College abolished, as it clearly is not functioning as intended and in fact has become an impediment to democracy. That is, in my spare time when I am not protesting the rape of the environment, the crushing of women’s rights, and discrimination against all non-white, non-Christian, non-male citizens of this formerly great country.