Now, don’t get me wrong, it matters. It matters a whole hell of a lot. It matters that a presidential candidate conspired with a hostile country to try to influence the election. It matters that everyone who is caught up with him; everyone in his campaign; everyone in his family, seemingly aided and abetted what should be considered nothing less than on open act of treason and an attempted coup of the U.S. government. It matters that none of the republicans in Congress (and a good number of the Democrats) don’t seem to give a rat’s ass that treason almost certainly occurred but are more than willing to look the other way, as long as it allows them to fulfill their agenda of funneling even more money to their corporate masters. Every single American should be angry as hell and ready to pour into the streets to demand that our sovereignty as a nation be returned.
All of this is true. None of it is in dispute. We need to get rid of Trump and every single person who aided him in this travesty in any way. And once they have all been driven from public office, then they need to be held legally accountable for betraying their country. Our country. The point I am trying to make, however, is that once all that has been accomplished, there is still a massive pile of problems and inequalities that we need to face as a country. By all means, expose Trump and his cronies for the criminal charlatans they really are and make them pay for every last one of their crimes. My question, though, after all of that has been completed, is “What next?”
First and foremost, what do we do about our heavily marginalized and divided nation? Trump could never have come anywhere near the presidency if we didn’t hate and distrust each other so intensely. We can’t even seem to agree about the very reality of the facts that are emerging about the Trump campaign’s collusion with Russia.
A poll recently taken by Public Policy Polling comes to the difficult to comprehend conclusion that 32% of Trump voters don’t believe the meeting between Trump Jr. and representatives of the Russian government actually happened and another 24 aren’t sure, even though Trump Jr. admitted it happened and published the emails setting it up himself through his twitter account. Try to get your head around that. More than half of Trump voters either don’t believe or aren’t sure about what is already known and accepted fact. How do we even begin to communicate with people who can’t agree on what is obviously right in front of their faces? I don’t know how we do it, but I do know that we must. We need to find a way to come together and talk as Americans and find common ground. When push comes to shove, we really all do want the same simple things. We just disagree on how to get there.
One very positive sign of the growing resistance to Trump is that so many liberals and progressives and conservatives who, in the past, would be much happier squabbling over the tiniest detail of government direction or responsibility, are currently banding together to fight this obvious threat to our nation.
I am a dyed-in-the-wool lefty liberal but some of the best acquaintances I’ve made during this trying time have been with traditional right-leaning conservatives, who put country over party and are none too happy with all America stands for being junked and abandoned and sold for parts to Vladimir Putin. Are we going to go back to squabbling and demonizing each other as soon as this immediate threat is over or will we try to work together to create something we can all love? It comes down to a question of “What kind of America do we want to be?” Will we be the America we’ve always claimed to be and never quite lived up to, or the America we’ve come to be; the one that says, “Everything, even treason, is acceptable, as long as my side wins.”?
Another glaring problem we must address is the extreme racial divide in America that, for all our fancy talk and attempts to gloss over it, has never fully been addressed. If nothing else, The Trump candidacy and now presidency have exposed virulent strains of still festering racism, misogyny and homophobia in this country. Again, I have no answers but I know we must begin to talk to each other with humility and honesty if we are ever to bridge this gap and bring some much needed healing to ourselves and each other. In a way, political correctness has been a big mistake, in that it has helped present a shiny veneer of civility and progress, while allowing the deep racism in this country to go underground. Now that it has been exposed by Trump and his cronies and his cult, we have no choice but to try and tackle it head on. By that I mean that we need to look deep into ourselves to examine our own racism and prejudices rather than point the finger at the racism and prejudices of others. We need to show the bravery and open-mindedness we have always claimed as Americans but never truly shown.
There are many other issues we will have to tackle, as well. We need a better health care system in this country. We need to deal with the crazy level of income inequality and the stranglehold that corporations currently hold over public life. We need to find a way to remove the insane amount of money and corruption from politics. We need to support and embrace education and science as the vehicles that have always led us out of the darkness and away from tyranny and oppression. The list goes on and on, but we need to face these problems head on. We need to face them together.
So yes, the first order of business is to deal, as harshly as possible, with these traitors who have infiltrated and taken over our government. Once that is finished, however, the real work of rebuilding the nation will still remain. The rise, and inevitable fall, of Donald Trump are merely a symptom of something that’s been ailing this country for a long time. Once we’re finished with Trump, we need to fight the disease.