President Trump -- Day 2
Shortly after the November election, when Donald Trump achieved his surprising victory over Hillary Clinton, the heavily favored nominee of the Democratic Party, it was easy to see that his triumph meant that the conservative Republican Party would have control not only of the White House, but of both Houses of Congress, half the governorships and state legislatures across the country and it was very likely - guaranteed, in fact - that Donald Trump, as President, would nominate a strict Conservative judge to fill the seat on the Supreme Court left vacant by the sudden death of Antonin Scalia, who was himself one of the most conservative Supreme Court justices of the last fifty years.
Virtually all of the most progressive legislation of the past eighty years - Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, The Voting Rights Act of 1965, Roe v Wade, The Marriage Equality Law and the Affordable Care Act - are now in danger of being curtailed, if not repealed outright, as the new President has pledged to do with the ACA. As with so many liberal and progressive people in this country, I was in deep despair for weeks after the election. Even the knowledge that demonstrations against the Republican victory were staged every day for two weeks following the election failed to lift my spirits.
But, I gradually came out of my sadness and, like so many around the country, I began to see how important it is not to lose hope. I thought of my grandparents, whose growing up years and early adulthood comprised the end of the Reconstruction, the birth of the Klan and seeing the Supreme Court allow Separate But Equal to become the law of the land. They survived and pressed on with hope and prayer and planned for a new day. My parents were born during the first decade of the twentieth century. They witnessed lynchings, the Brownsville Raid, the horrific race massacres of Tulsa, East St. Louis and Rosewood and the political rise of Bilbo and of Strom Thurmond. but before death closed their eyes near the end of the century, they both saw the victories of the Civil Rights Movement and the end of Jim Crow. I realized that if my mother and father could survive Segregation and the Depression, then I could very well survive the likes of Donald Trump.
So can we all - we liberal and progressive Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Gen Ys and Millenials. Today, as I write on this second day of the Trump Administration, over one million women and (more than a few) men marched in protest in cities across the United states and in capitals around the world to demand that Donald Trump and the Republicans pay attention to the health issues of women, that they protect Roe v Wade, that they not try to curtail the rights of the LBGTQ communities, that they fix but not repeal the Affordable Care Act, that they remember that three million more people voted for Hillary Clinton last November than voted for Donald Trump, therefore Mr. Trump DOES NOT have a political mandate to do whatever he wants.
The new President describes the forces that placed him in the White House as a "movement." Perhaps he is right. But, there is a counter movement out there and the Women's March on Day 2 of President Trump proves it. The question now becomes whether or not the counter movement will determine its focus and identify clear objectives around which people can be organized. Regaining seats in state legislatures around the country and that means finding and encouraging people interested in public service. Our society needs improvement in education, housing and health and idealism is not enough. Politics is power in America. Time to seize the power instead of fighting it all the time.