Repudiate Or Validate
We’re now well within a hopeful-but-still-fearful fortnight of the mid-term elections–and the illumination of a stark reality. Either the Trump-cult phenomenon was an embarrassingly ugly, worrisome, American anomaly or that we’ve inexplicably doubled down on the United States of Autocracy.
We’ve never really played zero-sum politics to this existential degree.
But there is always this. The Trump base is still a minority, however stuffed that deplorables-basket looks.
Because of its arrogant, unhinged leader with his literal bully-pulpit and Fox News bullhorn, Trumpism has a high-decibel image and outsized impact. But the reality is that demographically diverse Democrats–from moderates to Bernie Sanders acolytes–to independents to old-school Republicans control our destiny.
The words of 18th century Irish statesman and philosopher Edmund Burke still resonate. “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”
That hasn’t changed, even as the definition and context of evil evolves.
We’ve also experienced first-hand two years of chaos and anxiety that are grim reminders of where we are as an alarmingly polarized society. It’s what can happen with the Oval Office equivalent of the Rev. Jim Jones devolving the presidency with nativist dog whistles, media demonization and international free-lancing that alienates allies and appeases authoritarians.
As a result, the words of 20th century Spanish-American philosopher George Santayana should also resonate. “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
But Burke and Santayana notwithstanding, there is this self-evident reality that doesn’t require a quote for the ages. If everybody just votes as if THEIR lives in THIS country depended on it, then this national nightmare will begin its ultimate decline.
Even though he’s not formally on any ticket, Donald Trump is a full, frontal 2018 election presence. That includes the scary reality that Trump’s fidelity to meaningful democracy is nil. These midterms come down to a reality that would fit on a bumper sticker: “Repudiate or Validate.” That’s how every ballot should be interpreted. Don’t give any of his sell-out surrogates–from governors, senators and representatives to state legislators–the rationale and wherewithal to prolong this nightmare.