Real Change Is Long Overdue

For the umpteenth time over the past 40 years, the Democratic Party grasped defeat from the jaws of certain victory. And the reason is always the same-an inability to lead.

Secretary Clinton is a wonderful, caring and brilliant woman who has suffered and grown from that suffering. In many ways she would have made an amazing President. But, as President-elect Trump said, "she represents the last 30 years of leadership in Washington." To me, that was the single identifier that led to his victory. The Clinton campaigns message essentially was...good grief not the narcissistic misogynist, I am a smart, capable woman and please read my copious web site for policy details- a message that won her the popular vote but did not fly in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. Oh, and in case you didn't notice, the incredible energy generated by the Bernie Sanders campaign and his populist message that resonated so strongly he won primaries in Michigan and Wisconsin, was allowed to dissipate after the Democratic Party power brokers guaranteed Hillary would get the nomination.

I was born in Appalachian coal country and have watched the gradual demise of the industry as a viable workplace. I watched coal miners struggle for respect and a decent wage. I watched as their jobs were replaced by increasingly sophisticated mechanization. I watched as the efficiency of mountaintop removal decimated the environment and further reduced the workforce. I watched as the entire industry came to a grinding halt because of fracking and cheap natural gas. The same scenario is playing out in entire industries in Detroit and Flint and the textile business in the Carolinas. Outside the I-95 and I-5 corridors a critical mass of people are scared that because of robotics and technology and the loss of manufacturing jobs they won't be able to support their families. And yes, while the Democrats loudly proclaim they will create "new jobs" to rebuild infrastructure and offer retraining to prepare for the global economy, the reality is that the pace of change is ponderous, the specifics are amorphous and the results are often not seen in local areas. Not to mention the impact of Republican congressional intractability about the impact of climate change or funding and rebuilding infrastructure or the critical importance of spending big on adult education and retraining.

So, we saw a blowhard call loudly for "change" and for the return of manufacturing from overseas (which will never happen) and for American isolation because globalism isn't working for the blue-collar worker, and guess worked. Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren could have won this election. Their genuine and heartfelt populism and willingness to repeatedly and aggressively bring attention to corporate greed, tax inequalities, environmental devastation, the importance of doing something NOW for disenfranchised blue collar workers as well as pointing to the last ten years of Republican congressional selfishness would have worked. Instead we are getting a newly empowered Mitch McConnell who has done absolutely nothing for Appalachia, a potential reversal of Roe v Wade, an end to LGBT protections, tax reductions for the affluent and who knows what internationally.

I know a lot of intelligent people who are scared. They are scared of allowing poorly educated, belligerent and bellicose men access to nuclear capability. They are scared for their LGBT friends. They are scared about cuts to education funding, services for the poor and the permanent rise of American oligarchs. They are scared for their children and grandchildren. They are scared that narcissism will become a permanent, preeminent value in this country. They are scared that the Supreme Court will become a tool of the 1%.

There is only one answer. Let fear be a motivator. Get to work. Don't wait for someone else to do it. Volunteer where you can best be utilized. Become an integral part of the political process. Do the work to help the Democratic Party remake itself.

We can only become a nation dedicated to mutual support and unconditional love if we put in the work, genuinely care about each other and act politically. We are only powerless if we don't care about anyone but ourselves or let hand wringing substitute for action.

I always thought the apocalypse would happen gradually, a result of rampant narcissism and fractured societies where everyone is out for themselves. But it can only happen if we allow self-centeredness to be the rule of the day. Please do the selfless and loving work it will take to turn this election around. Please turn your attention to the joy of working together to solve problems. You know what to do.

Finally, because I can't help myself-here is what I wrote in July.