You may have read a piece I wrote for the Huffington Post just before the election called, “What will we tell our daughters if Trump wins?” Well, that’s an ongoing conversation, since there is no end to the egregious acts I have to explain to my girls.
Look at what happened today.
After much secrecy, the Republicans in Congress finally unveiled their bill which steals from the poor on Medicaid and gives huge tax breaks to the wealthy.
President Obama, for whom I organized in both of his presidential campaigns, came off the sidelines to call it “a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.” As if they needed it.
Disabled protestors, some in wheelchairs, were dragged out of the Senate hallways as they gathered outside of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to protest cuts to Medicaid that affect millions of disabled Americans like them.
It’s a disgrace. What has our country come to when we elect a man who publicly mocks the disabled, as well as a congress that cuts programs for the disabled, then bodily throws them out of the building when they exercise their First Amendment rights?
The main question is . . . what can we do about it?
The GOP has the Executive Branch, a majority of the SCOTUS, the Senate and the House, as well as most state houses and state legislatures.
They broke it, they bought it. They can’t obstruct and complain anymore. This is how they govern.
Any decent American, regardless of party, is appalled at seeing people in wheelchairs, young girls with oxygen masks, being dragged out of government security officers in plastic cuffs.
Everything the Republicans tear down, the left can build up anew, like a phoenix rising from the ashes.
We have to actively influence the 2020 census, so districting is more fair. We have to do away with the gerrymandering that is suppressing votes. And we must stop every secretive Republican ploy to disenfranchise millions.
We have to win back Congress in 2018 and the Presidency in 2020.
But how do we do that when right now, we are divided amongst ourselves with internecine conflicts and progressive purity tests?
Forget the election of 2016. We must come together on the Left around a positive vision.
The center left has to embrace that the far left won’t settle for less than single payer, tight Wall St. regulations and accountability, and more peaceful, collaborative foreign policy.
The far left has to embrace that the center left shares most of their goals, but that compromise isn’t always a bad word when it’s time to hash out a deal in a country that is half conservative and in a globalized world.
We must unite toward a common goal and against a common enemy. The Russians and their American Republicans want to see us internally divided. The most terrifying face we can show them is a united one.
Our common enemy is our own heartlessness as a society that allows the disabled to be bodily dragged from buildings that bear our nation’s seal. A society in which juries acquit policemen who kill law-abiding black men. A society that cuts medical care for the poor and gives the difference to the rich. A society that allows deadly drinking water to flow through African-American, Native American and poor Appalachian communities, as long as affluent white communities can afford Evian. A society that trusts our sworn enemies more than our own neighbors who happen to be from a different political party. A society that calls news that doesn’t suit our opinion “fake news” and swallows fake news that supports our biases.
Our common goal is a humane society in which the poor and working classes, minorities, women, the disabled, the LGBTQ community, and children all have a fair shake.
Our common goal is trade deals that are fair both to our own workers and workers abroad
Our common goal is to free our youth from educational debt and our sick from medical debt.
Our common goal is cooperation with our allies and security from those who wish to destroy us and our democracy.
Our common goal is a clean environment and a future for our planet and our children.
Once we have power, we can hash out the details.
First, let’s unite and win. We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to contrast ourselves with the heartlessness the far-right is currently exhibiting.
Let’s put the heart back in the heartland.
In the words of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Alexander Hamilton: “We are not giving away our shot.”