Our first task is to be clear-eyed.
Amid post-election grieving and protest, there has been talk about the need for civility. I am all for it, but it must be reciprocated and there must be room for accurately describing our situation rather than papering over the calamitous electoral result.
There was nothing civil about people voting for Donald Trump, a crude and ignorant demagogue whose campaign traded in racism, sexism, religious bigotry and xenophobia, and who advocates torture. Those who bought his extravagant yet vague promises are in for a letdown. Meanwhile, they voted against vulnerable populations that now face a frightening backlash.
Trump won by means of vote suppression, lies, and incitement, with help from the media and political interference by the FBI. He was further aided by the Kremlin and the anarchist group Wikileaks. This resembles a coup d'état more than a legitimate decision. Yet despite all this, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote. How is that a mandate for Trump? For the second time in sixteen years, the Electoral College is at odds with the will of the people. Yet triumphant voices tell us that "the people" chose Trump. No we damn well didn't.
Conciliatory impulses should not fool us into thinking that all Americans share the same interests. Contrary to President Obama (who far outclasses his detractors), we are not all on the same team. Trump's goals are inimical to mine. We do not serve our cause by pretending our opponents are merely misguided. Among other things, Trump has threatened to jail his opponents, curtail press freedoms, and bar all Muslims from this country.
We must be clear-eyed. Are we supposed to forget that people close to us voted for our erasure? Are we supposed to get over the fact that the eminently qualified, level-headed Hillary Clinton, whose scandals were whipped up by partisans and amounted to nothing, was hounded by sexist double standards while Trump's lengthy list of offenses was treated lightly?
Among the most preposterous and contemptible statements are those by Log Cabin Republicans, who called Trump "perhaps the most pro-LGBT presidential nominee in the history of the Republican Party," and now fundraise on their purported access. In fact, Trump chose virulent homophobe Mike Pence for vice president; allowed his convention to pass what Log Cabin itself called the most anti-LGBT platform in the party's history, including support for conversion therapy; and pledged to appoint Supreme Court justices in the mold of Antonin Scalia.
Our country remains at stake. Generations of work to make America live up to its ideals are at stake. Trump's transition is populated with anti-gay fanatics like Ken Blackwell and Kay Cole James. This is draining the swamp? Trump and his band of grifters do not become honest and decent people because cable shows need a new narrative. We will not defeat fascism by excusing or accommodating it.
Twenty million people are at risk of losing their healthcare because Republican nihilists refuse to put country before party. Trump was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, which announced a march to celebrate their victory. He has named white nationalist Steve Bannon of Breitbart as his chief strategist.
The GOP's refusal to consider the nomination of the widely respected Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court is a glaring example of that party's treasonous insistence that they and only they should be allowed to govern.
Trump refuses to release his taxes, and there is reason to believe he has significant conflicts of interest, while he talks as if turning over his business to his children is a blind trust. It is one eye-stretching assertion after another.
Intramural fighting among Republicans may create openings for Democrats to advance pieces of their agenda. But demons have been unleashed that will not easily be brought to heel. Consider the minority schoolchildren being harassed by classmates in the racist explosion following the election. Consider the surge in hate crimes and vandalism. Consider the attacks on science and other fields of expertise, and on simple decency, throughout Trump's campaign.
American values, institutions, and people are in peril. Taking care of one another is an immediate concern. As we move forward, resisting Trump and the threat he poses is the decent and patriotic thing to do.
Richard J. Rosendall is a writer and activist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Copyright © 2016 by Richard J. Rosendall. All rights reserved.