Wednesday, November 08, 2017

A Letter from the Front in the Fight for America

One year after Trump's victory, to the day, Virginia elected:

  • A Democratic Governor
  • A black Democratic Lieutenant Governor
  • A Democratic Attorney General
  • There was a 17-seat Democratic shift in the Virginia House of Delegates
  • There is now a Democratic majority in the Virginia House of Delegates
  • The first transgender delegate in the country
  • The first out-lesbian delegate in the state
  • The first Asian American woman delegate in the state
  • The first two Latina delegates in the state
  • The first Democratic Socialist candidate in the state.

And it was not just in Virginia. The state of Maine elected to expand Medicaid, and Washington state (another swing state) swept Democrat across the board.

Earlier this week, a Facebook friend in Germany wrote me:

According to your posts I see you deal a lot with the political situation of the US and Trump himself. You are - understandably - not satisfied.

My question is: why do you deal so much with these things and what is your aim with all the posts in the subject?

In short, why fight? To what end? Does any of it make a difference?

Well, the Russians think it makes a difference -- they invested hundreds of millions of dollars in paid social media, meme creation, and even created whole television and radio stations.

Every political party thinks it makes a difference -- they spend billions over time doing the same thing, and they value a participatory voice, like mine, even more than they value my money.

My answer back:

I’m in Washington DC. Been political my whole life, and not changing that now. Glad to be an American where protest is valued.

Her answer back:

What do you expect from protesting? I mean, I agree with what you wrote, but it brings also a whole lot of negativity in your life, don't you think so? So many time dealing with things you are not satisfied with...and with "parrots"...

I like her! She reads closely. This is exactly my word -- parrots. My note back:

I am not German. Or Italian. Or Japanese. Proudly American. You ask, in your fashion, why we fight. Because we are free and wish to remain so.

I then posted a link to the Frank Capra documentary (or propaganda piece) entitled "Why We Fight" which was produced in the middle of World War II and in response to Leni Riefenstahl's film "Triumph of the Will".

I was writing and posting while in traffic (for shame!) and did not re-watch the whole film (I still haven't), but it is a film about the need to fight for core American values.

I continued my answer at the next stop light:

Protest is not negativity. It is a reminder that we are still in charge. We are not sheep. We have never been sheep.

And once you have changed things, you see that it can be done. And you try to do it again.

And in the end, you win.

The film is old, but it is still America, and we still carry the message.

And then I posted a link to this short clip from a famous American in modern Germany carrying the message. Once again, it was an American voice that echoed across the world.

A little heavy-handed? Perhaps, but I was in traffic and someone was asking me (from Germany!) about why we fight.  When in traffic, there is not much time for gentle grace between stop lights!

This morning I sent my corresponding friend a follow-on email:

See the Virginia election last night. The Scotts-Irish of Virginia were born fighting, and now we fight to wrestle America back to its values. And last night we won big! Not a miracle, but citizen action at every level. My daughter flew down from New York to go door to door to get out the vote. This County went 80 percent Democratic, and we sent the haters packing. Before it’s over, Trump will be out of office and in jail. This is why we fight; because it works.

This morning, as the dust settles, let me be clear: I am not fighting for a political party. I am fighting for what I believe are core American values -- the values passed on to me by parents and grandparents before them, and by a larger society that has successfully fought for those values in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Korea. These are not just my personal values; these are core American values.

I believe the Republican party has lost its way.

The party of intellectuals and fiscal prudence that was crafted in my youth by William Buckley has fallen step to the party of ignorance and deficit-fueling tax-cutting greed as championed by con men and corporate apologists for fraud.

The part of Lincoln and Goldwater is gone, and the party of John Birch and David Duke is in power.

We, quite literally, have a Republican party leader that defends Nazis and the KKK.

Please do not tell me that Donald Trump is not the Republican party leader. This man defeated 12 other GOP candidates to win the nomination. Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan kow-tow to him on a daily basis, even as he kow-tows to Vladimir Putin. Donald Trump is now the Republican Party, whether the old guard likes it or not, and that's the way it is until the Republicans move to impeach him or jail him.

The vision and views of Donald Trump and the current Republican Party are profoundly unAmerican.

That was the message coming out of Virginia last night.

Let us celebrate, but not too much.  This is the start of the War for America, not the end. We are in an existential battle that we cannot afford to lose.

I am happy to say that, for now, it looks like the ballot still has power.

But the courts have yet to speak, and it is not yet clear that Trump understands the Rule of Law.

The Rule of Law is not a small thing. The Statue of Liberty is holding a book, and that book represents the Rule of Law.

The "deep government" that Steve Bannon rails against, and that Fox News speaks about in vague conspiratorial tones, is the Rule of Law.

It is the Rule of Law that threaten Vladimir Putin
and his kleptocrats -- men who have grown so rich and powerful that they now own a U.S. President and wash hundreds of millions of dollars through foreign banks as they buy vast numbers of buildings and upscale apartments in London, New York, and Paris.

There are 17 sequentially numbered sealed criminal indictments in District Court in Washington, D.C, I suspect I know what those are -- a vast RICO take-down of the Russian-mob controlled Trump empire by Special Counselor Robert Mueller.

If Trump tries to fire Mueller, there will be blood. Make no mistake about it; the people will take to the streets, the fence around the White House will be pulled down, and after that God himself cannot predict.

America is worth fighting for. We will be free. We were born fighting.

Last night we won a battle, but the war is barely engaged.

But let me be clear: we are not fighting against Republicans: We are fighting for American values and the Rule of Law. We have always fought for those.  We will always fight for those.


John said...

You continue to Republicans as the Republican Party, but do not accept that they are a "Party in Name Only"; they are deeply divided and likely headed towards a irreversible fission. You remember the Whigs?

dp said...

Sorry, but the Republicans were a sensible party long before Bill Buckley came along.

PBurns said...

Bill Buckley changed the GOP and largely made it what it is today.

Buckley's first book, God and Man at Yale, was published in 1952, and the National Review was founded in 1955.

Most Republicans do not know the history of their party beyond the name.

The critical turn occurred in 1912 when Republican Teddy Roosevelt, who was very much a liberal, founded the Progressive Part, now commonly referred to as "The Bull Moose Party".

Oddly there is a long African hunting trip behind the cause of that!

In an case, when the progressive Bull Moose Party was created, it attracted folks from both parties, leaving the racists and conservative Democratic party far more liberal than it had even been before, and leaving the free-the-slave liberal Republican Party far more conservative than it had ever been before. In short, the two polituical parties flipped their views, platforms, and most of their concerns.

After this point (1912) we entered into WWI and then the Great Depression. Here the Democrats became "Big Government" folks that remade farms and fixed the economy (see Dust Bowl posts on this blog), while the Republicans became miserly apologists for child labor and keeping women from voting. The now-liberal Democrats won Social Security (opposed by Republican Alf Landon) and then Medicare and Medicaid (1965).

Meanwhile the Republicans went full-tilt fear mongering in the 1950s over the "Red Menace," giving us the Hollywood Black list, Joe McCarthy, and overt pandering racism.

Into this world came Bull Buckley, who preached a normative white male determinism as seen by someone who spoke with a lisping and affected mid-Atlantic accent and who saw the world across an oak desk as he fiddled with his gold cuff links and dropped references to Shakespeare and Herodotus.

The KKK rose in the 1920s and the GOP gave them solace even as the Jim Crow laws were put in place and hardened across the South with the help of "Dixie-crats" who were the remnants of the racist and previously conservative Democrat party.

After World War II, African Americans increasingly challenged segregation, and the Republican party saw this as an opportunity to "hive off" the old racist southern conservative "Dixie-crats" and get them into the Republican party. All through the 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s the GOP has focused on wooning southern white racists, and their children, many of whom went west as the economy of the south crubled following WWI and getting out became easier thanks to trains, planes, and automobiles.

So, to come back to it, Buckley really did make the GOP as we knew it in our youth (I am approaching 60), while the GOP of our grandparents era (prior to 1912) was more like the Democratic party today. From 1912 to 1940 was the grand (and confusing metamorphosis).

Anonymous said...

What I find so disturbing is that most politicians appear to have enormous loyalty to their "party" and very little or none to Constitution.

LRM said...

Thank you for this post. What a great day for this country. It restored my hope. I find the most surprising effect of Trumpism is that of bringing together those traditionally from opposite sides of the political spectrum who identify not as partisan and more as American (e.g. CREW, Stand Up Republic, etc.). Previously hard to imagine, I’m sorry to say. Long overdue!

Northam doesn’t do all that much for me, personally. Truth be told, I considered him a somewhat brighter version of Bush the Younger. Nevertheless, I distributed links to his ‘Listening’ ad far and wide. On my daily drive to and from work, I pass the Naval Observatory on upper Mass Ave. in DC. Prior to the election, a nearby homeowner had impaled a Northam sign in their lawn, two doors down, where Mike Pence’s motorcade was sure to pass it regularly. Since the homeowner couldn’t vote in Virginia, protest was its only purpose, or as I like to think of it, its highest and best use. I got a rush every single time I drove by. Once, I was stuck in traffic in front of the house, with the owner standing out front. We locked eyes. Big smile and a wink.

What a great link to the Smithsonian Scots-Irish history of Virginia. I always liked Jim Webb, and think he is smart. I sometimes like to fantasize about how things might have been different if it was Webb on a ticket with Biden. Anybody else, really, other than what the Dems ended up with. I remember Webb patiently explaining to Bernie Sanders [during the Oct ’15 debate], that as much as liked him, he didn’t think the revolution was coming, since Congress wouldn’t approve the hefty price tags on his proposals. Today, the GOP is promoting a tax bill that is grossly irresponsible, abandoning of decades of struggle against deficits, in favor of what can only be self-preservation. The recent election results add an interesting twist to that proposition. The revolution is already taking place—just not exactly how Bernie described it in 2015. Yet.


P.P.S. Your German friend might get more out of Preston Sturges than the Frank Capra or (John Ford) propaganda. The Reagan clip is really as good as it gets, for that sort of thing.

Paul Tyson said...

Indeed, the Northern Virginia counties are very active politically and have the ability to swing the Commonwealth and national elections. That said, if there are two Americas out there, there are also two Virginias here. Draw a diagonal line from some of the wealthiest counties in America just outside Washington to southwestern Virginia and Appalachian poverty. We need to do more in terms of Medicaid and other programs to assist and to change the lives of our less well off fellow Virginians. As to the Scotch-Irish -- read Jim Webb's book!