Day 4: Chants from a Shattered Tribe, Screams in the Uncaring Void, The Long March to Nowhere

The news out of Los Angeles has been the same for three nights in a row. Hundreds arrested, night after night, in massive, violent “protests” downtown. I normally fall asleep to the low murmur of LAPD dispatchers on my pawn shop police scanner- but lately it’s just been calls for backup, screams for more handcuffs, and calling out the badge numbers of those who have “turned”.

The Thin Blue line seems close to crumbling these days, with cops sometimes simply going mad in the middle of the riot, and either aimlessly wandering onto the freeway, or really “going native” and handing over their cruisers and personal arsenals to protesters before wading into their own skirmish lines, fighting tirelessly until they can be tased or beaten into submission.

Today however, was the first organized “peaceful” protest, that was to start in MacArthur Park, and end in front of the Federal building downtown. Liberal marches always bring the freaks out of the woodwork, and this was no exception. Topless women, single fathers pulling wagons filled with children, and Chicano revolutionaries covered in Aztec tattoos marched side by side. Ten thousand showed all told, a massive show of force for a city so used to apathy and sitting in traffic.

A single question turned over in my mind as I broadcasted fake reports over the official channels, screaming that “the protestors had built a goddamn tank”. How many of these people voted? How many voted in the last midterm election? How many could articulate the actual policy change they were looking for? One protester blurted out to an abc7 camera “We made a huge mistake, and we won’t accept it!” It seemed to sum up the general message of the protests: anger, but also the calculated eschewing of responsibility.

The cops breathed an audible sigh of relief as we were corralled into the Third Street Tunnel. Protesters reveled as their chants grew to a deafening, feverish beat that rolled off the long dome above them. “Say it loud, say it clear: IMMIGRANTS ARE WELCOME HERE!”

And as the thousands chanted and congratulated themselves, I knew that we would never leave that tunnel: chanting to our own satisfaction in an echo chamber. Heard by no one above.

-Jack Delaney

Day 4: Electoral College and You

In modern times, the value of the electoral college began to be questioned in the aftermath of Bush v. Gore. The ensuing eight years did little to deter the increasing clamor for a direct popular vote. Now after another democratic loss in the electoral college but thin marginal victory in the popular vote. We must scroll past statuses, op-eds, and other think pieces on how America is robbed of it’s true voice.

They sound no different than Trump leading up to the election. The notion that voting is broken is wrong. The electoral college exists much like the Senate: as a population equalizer to ensure no one population center silences others nationally. The democrat’s strategy of focusing on urban centers and expecting the rural areas to not vote or just to repeat the votes of their fathers. As much as I read about liberals and progressives wanting to listen more. I still hear the same cracks about the small town across the city line whether in LA or Harrisburg. No one chooses to be poor, and poverty changes a person.

Back to the abolition of the electoral college. Can we imagine our democracy without it for a moment? Every vote is still being counted as I write this with Clinton expected to finish a few million a head or a percentage point of the total vote. While we wait a week as a nation for a final count. Nothing would matter because a vicious recount would commence immediately after. With campaign surrogates terrorizing the volunteers trying to do it right. Every election could end in the Supreme Court like 2000. In short, a direct vote would be time consuming and confrontational which in turn erodes faith in the institution.

I still sometimes forget for a minute the truth of Tuesday and when it comes back 60 seconds later I lose my breath for a moment. Yet, to fundamentally change our union or nation because we lost sets a dangerous precedent. What else will we sacrifice to avoid the hard truths that come with a democracy.

Much like climate change, Trump is an inconvenient truth that there is an America between New York and Los Angeles. They aren’t alive to be the butt of jokes and servants to the American elite, an increasingly entrenched class wishing to become an European aristocracy.  His support is not blind, they expect better jobs to come back nationwide and if he fails, we must be there to take their torch in 2018. To represent the wide electorate’s hopes and dreams. And when we do like in 2006 and 2008, we can achieve what is required.

-E.C. Fiori