As with many (read: the majority of voting) Americans, yesterday, Nov. 9, I was a bit despondent about the results of the presidential election. In general, when an election doesn’t go my way, that’s disappointing, but it’s to be expected. This one, though, I think everyone recognizes is different. Liberals David Remnick and Charles Blow, on the one hand, and conservative Ross Douthat, on the other, have called on Americans to respect the results of the election, but also to resist the new president’s tendencies toward authoritarianism, racism, and sexism in whatever ways we can.
One irony of that position, of course, is that the Republicans’ intransigence–their resistance–to every Obama policy, most especially healthcare, played a big part in Trump’s success. First, in their bad-faith negotiations that resulted in an Obamacare weaker than originally proposed, then in their lawsuits resulting in its being voluntary rather than compulsive to states, then in Republican governors denying state-run exchanges and, even worse, rejecting Medicare for their own residents; their continued insistence against all evidence that Obamacare resulted in job losses and increased the federal debt, and finally, in promising their constituents to roll it back while Obama was president, a clear impossibility given the president’s veto power. All these actions combined to a) deny healthcare to Americans, b) create gridlock in Washington, c) contribute to fact-free policymaking, and d) convince Americans that politicians in general and established Republican figures in particular couldn’t be trusted to do anything for regular folks.
So the questions are, how to resist without simply giving in to cynicism, further alienating Americans from politics, and causing additional damaging to our now-fragile country? How do we organize in a way that’s inclusive and hopeful, but also that brings pressure to bear? What can unite people and bring results?
I’ve got some ideas. Maybe not good ideas, but ideas nonetheless, that I’ll outline future posts. Stay tuned.