}

Friday, November 11, 2016

Opposition is our duty

The meme at the top of this post was all over social media yesterday, and it encapsulates the feeling of many, many Americans. However, there are good reasons why those who oppose Don and the Republicans shouldn’t “come together to support” them. That, too, would be hypocrisy—and dangerous.

In the hours since the election, the fear, worry, anxiety, and even rage have been obvious. I completely understand how voters could feel all those things, because I have, too. But I do have to wonder: How many of the protestors yesterday actually voted? How many could have helped Democrats to prevent the looming disaster?

But I’ve also seen people who I’m sure are well-meaning, people who would’ve been correct back in the days when we used to have normal elections. They said that we must all “unite behind the president”, that we must “give the new president a chance”. A chance? To do WHAT, precisely?!!

I’ve seen real and justified fear and anxiety among Americans. They should be afraid.

I know a gay man who is legally married to an immigrant. His husband recently got his green card, but is now worried that Don will take it away from him and force him to leave the country. That’s a legitimate worry.

I’ve also seen dozens of gay couples worried that Don and the Republicans will take away marriage equality, as they’ve promised to do, forcibly divorcing hundreds of thousands of couples all across the USA. Such couples could lose all federal marriage rights, including the right to file joint taxes, and would have to pay massive estate taxes when one spouse dies, among other things—like cancelling the green card for gay spouses like that immigrant husband I mentioned, and all of this because marriage equality will no longer exist under federal law.

We know that the Republicans and Don will do this by appointing only hard-line extremist right-wingers to the US Supreme Court, men who will promise to overturn marriage equality (among other hard right wing litmus tests) as a condition for being nominated. But that’s their mid-to-longer-term plot.

In the meantime, we also know that Republicans have pledged to rush through their US Congress, and Don has promised to sign, a bill to legalise discrimination against LGBT married couples, just as long as someone pretends they’re doing so for supposedly “religious” reasons. This will give federal cover to every anti-LGBT bigot—even public employees, paid by the taxpayers, who refuse to do their jobs for citizens.

We also know that the white-haired theocratic extremist who’ll be a heartbeat away from the presidency declared that one of Don’s first acts will be to rescind ALL of President Obama’s Executive Orders offering meagre protection to LGBT people. That’s an absolute certainty, probably on the first day.

LGBT Americans have every right to be terrified about what Don and the Republicans will do to them, and how awful it can get for them in the alt-right utopia that Don and the Republican gang want to create. Anti-LGBT violence is inevitable.

In light of that harsh reality, perhaps one of those well-meaning people can explain to me why, precisely, I’d EVER want Don and the Republicans to “succeed”?!! I’m not insane, after all.

But, then, we all KNEW about the existential threat that Don and the Republican Party posed to the USA. It’s not like they didn’t tell us about all the horrible things they planned to inflict on the country. And, it’s not like plenty of us didn’t sound warnings about their plans.

Sure, Donnie-boy was constantly lying to his frothing fans, and he’ll ignore much of what he promised. But what he and the Republicans WILL do ought to terrify anyone who has a functioning brain cell.

On immigration, the one constant in Don’s demagoguery, he will certainly take some showy made-for-TV actions to seem as if he’s “cracking down” on undocumented workers, but obviously he won’t really: None of his bankrupt hotels could have lasted as long as they did if they’d used only legal workers, and the oligarchs and plutocrats similarly depend on cheap, easily exploited undocumented workers to keep their profits high. Don is many terrible things, but he won’t betray his fellow rich oligarchs and plutocrats. But how many people will be victimised in the process? And how much violence will Don’s fervent fans unleash on American citizens who are brown?

So, why, precisely, is it okay to shrug and say, “oh well, he was voted in” when we KNOW that Don and the Republicans want to send women to prison for having an abortion, no matter the reason? That they definitely plan to forcibly divorce hundreds of thousands of gay couples? That they’ll look the other way at violence directed at racial, ethnic, or religious minorities? That they’ll rape the environment?

Still, it’s possible Don was lying to everyone, including Republicans. Maybe he won’t cater to his racist, sexist, and anti-LGBT alt-right creeps, maybe he won’t help the Republican Party advance the bigotry they’ve promised, maybe he won’t help the oligarchs and plutocrats to exploit and victimise the American people to increase their own wealth. Maybe. But for anyone who thinks that, I have a bankrupt hotel to sell them.

So, no, we do NOT have to “get behind” Don. We do NOT have to give Don and the Republicans “a chance to succeed” when their success would mean actual, severe harm to Americans. We have a solemn duty under the US Constitution to oppose them now, and to vote them out in 2018 and 2020.

This is the key difference between what Republicans did 2008-16 and what we must do now: We don’t have the power they had. For eight years, Republicans in Congress opposed and blocked everything President Obama did—even when it was their idea! We ordinary citizens don’t have anything remotely like that power, and Republicans in Congress couldn’t possibly care less that we oppose them: We don’t matter to them in the slightest, and they’ll take absolutely no notice of anything we say or do, except to use it in their propaganda to stir up fear and resentment among their base.

We actually have the exact same power that America’s righwing had and has: We can organise, we can preach and teach, we can agitate, and we MUST put aside our often petty and superficial differences on priorities and policies to focus on the only thing that matters: Getting Don and the Republicans out of government. That is our duty, that is our obligation as citizens, and it MUST be our SOLE focus.

Bottom line: Don’t agonise, organise. And, NO ONE has to “get behind” Don and the Republican Gang. To do so would be hypocrisy—and dangerous.

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