Day 5: Protests and Turncoats

People are going into the streets. The funhouse of social media failed their egos. Major highways shut down in liberal cities as protesters demand from the drivers their reason for not moving back to the Midwest this election cycle. I don’t know if it is an effective strategy to create obstacles for your allies, but I do think the larger peaceful protests taken place in the forgotten public squares is good. There was no mandate in this election, no landslide. Trump will be our president and now must listen rather than sell. Create compromises of his stump with the voices of those he was chosen to lead. The winding path to success in office.

However one aspect of the protests is harmful: #notmypresident. It gives me flashbacks to the early Tea Party protests, the ones with fife playing and drumlines (an aside: the left should match the right’s pageantry, better television and more front pages). The birthers and racists denying the legitimacy of Obama. A toxic stain on our flag. That stain will only spread if we do the same. Attack the policy, stances, and comments; not the legitimacy of our republic.

Another specter coming out of the bedrock are folks who denounced a Trump presidency for fear of his ability to uphold the constitution on Nov.8 but at 1am on the Nov.9 declared this to be a good result: even maybe the best result.  These turncoats parade online and in the streets. Unconcerned that the fears they claimed to have will come to pass. Drunk on the promises of tomorrow, they have walked away from the gatehouse as the inmates take over the asylum.

Both choices are reactions but we need to respond to the moment. To reflect before action is the mark of wisdom. We have three months to prepare and we must prepare for Trump’s 100 days. The policy will come swiftly. Some policies undoubtedly will be wrong for America and just as the ACA wasn’t stopped by cardboard signs, we must think of new avenues to address and prevent them from becoming law. I have faith in the Roberts court but the court fell to partisanship with Bush. The court must regain its place in checks and balances. They cannot fear the wrath of an angered GOP, but they should fear for their place in history.

We cannot let ourselves fall into selfishness. We cannot drink the koolaid. We cannot lose America.

-E.C. Fiori

Day 5: Ghost Dance of the Red Elephant, Magical Thinking by Rational Minds, Hell is High Water: a Red Tide

During the true seismic shifts of history, most historians not on LSD will agree on the trend of “crisis cults”. These are groups who, during a time of radical change, will offer their followers the relief of magical thinking. While the roots of these cults change, the seed of their illogical belief is always the same: we can return the world to the way it used to be.

The most dramatic example of this would be Wovoka, the prophet that lead the Native American Ghost Dance awakening. The belief that new religious practices would bring back the bison, drive White America out of their homeland, and make them immune to gunfire would be, very quickly, revealed as incorrect. Most notably this occurred at the massacre of Wounded Knee, where the U.S. Cavalry wasted no time in proving that a Colt dragoon is a match for any shirt- even if it is prayed over.

On the far side of the world, the Boxer Rebellion would play this exact drama out for themselves. With the comforting distance of history, we can look back and wonder how they could ever convince themselves that their rituals would protect them? That their beliefs were a match for technology?

Much and more has been said about the Trump crisis cult, and to be fair it seemed like the parallels were there. That with one rage filled election we could turn America back to a country that never really existed. The last Ghost Dance of the Red Elephant out on the plains of America.

Whether Trump will make good on his promises, no one knows, least of all his supporters. But what we do know is that we fired a Cavalry regiment’s worth of grapeshot logic into their ranks, and they were immune to the volleys. It did bounce off their shirts. The Magical Thinking was ours.

For nearly a decade, the death of the Republican Party has been predicted time and time again. What we forgot was that movements like the Tea Party, like the Nazis, like Nelson Mandela’s ANC always fail, time and time again, until the time is right. Change comes during times of uncertainty. We just forgot it could rise from those we saw as beneath us.

Now, the crushing weight of reality washes over us. All of our best thinking led to the coming Trump years. We are the ones standing on the dark plains of America, watching the wounded Red Elephant spew a cloud of red mist as it bellows from the depths of its squeezebox lungs. It charges now, and the rituals that we worshipped: national dialogue, honest debate, and common sense have abruptly evaporated. 

-Jack Delaney