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Silver Linings In Our Ongoing National Catastrophe

We can stop pretending the Republicans are patriots.
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Holding my granddaughter, who will be 84 at the turn of the 22nd century, has helped me shift my perspective to that about which I feel optimistic. Here are some of the potential upsides to this ongoing American tragedy:

• Voters for the fascist candidate often said, "He says what I think." Il Duce (#NotMyPresident) has liberated the bigots of this country from the thin veneer of civility that is a prerequisite for the development and continuation of civilization. We on the decent side of the divide are now free to recognize those 62 million as who they truly are, and we no longer need pretend that they are Americans deserving of our solicitude and support.

• We can finally stop searching for economic determinist reasons for people's behavior ("It's the economy, stupid.") There haven't been any Marxists on the Left for a very long time, and this election makes clear this isn't about economics (steel left Pittsburgh beginning in 1974) but rage and resentment powered by bigotry (primarily racism). Thomas Frank and others have long pointed out this truth, but now we can stop trying to pretend to ourselves it isn't so.

• This is a general alert to a Democratic Party in disarray. How could the Democratic party win by nearly 3 million votes and still lose? How can a center-left country enable the destruction of liberal democracy by a small phalanx of elitist/populist/ anti-establishment/kleptocratic demagogues? How can a country that loves its Social Security and Medicare hate the party that created it for them and maintains it against fierce resistance? These questions can now be answered without any more attempts at self-delusion.

• This is an opportunity for radical progressives to begin to work with the more moderate ones. There is still too much schadenfreude from the Bernie Bros, who either need to form their own party which they've never shown any interest in before, or put their grievances aside and get to work on the state and local level to move the Democratic Party to the left. Put up or shut up.

• Within the progressive movement, we will probably see a serious diminishing of the anti-Semitism and exaggerated focus on the Palestinians. The problems with Israel and Palestine are not going away, and will be getting much worse, unfortunately, but they are no reason to split the community when there are far more important issues here in an undemocratic America.

• The above paragraph holds especially for the LGBTQ community, where anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism last year became a hallmark of progressive membership, and it bled over into the Black Lives Matter movement. There is no time for any more of that distraction. People who feel a solidarity towards POC in the Middle East should be focusing on Aleppo, if anything.

• We can stop pretending the Republicans are patriots, when many of them are unapologetic traitors. That holds for those who support Russian subversion of this country by denigrating all the intelligence agencies, as well as those who have worked over the decades to suppress the black and Latino vote and brought about the end of democracy. Exhibit A is North Carolina, now way over that line in its coup against representative government.

• Liberals need to stop bringing book to gunfights. This is war, and the only way to win it is to litigate and obstruct everything the fascists promote in all legislatures. No compromise.

• The kakistocracy that will be running this country, or at least trying to, will be so incompetent that they themselves will limit the damage they want to accomplish.

• The federal government is staffed primarily by civil servants, who can and, I hope will, do everything they can to bring this regime to a halt.

• The federal courts are still staffed by federal judges who are yet to be replaced, and they have their own sense of pride and may be emboldened to be the last line of resistance to the impending populist wave of hate.

• The white Christian evangelical community has irrevocably tarnished themselves by voting for the Devil. They can never again claim to be in support of moral values, or moral people themselves, without generating uproarious laughter from any sane human being.

• Most importantly for me is the sense I feel of no longer having to pretend that residents of the South and Midwest are good and decent Americans. Some are, but those who voted Red show so little awareness of the importance of our institutions and so little concern for their continuation that they have effectively abrogated their American allegiance and no longer deserve our respect. I would have preferred that the guardrails of democracy remained intact, because as one who believes in American liberty I've been more than willing to live and let live, even with those whose bigotry is off the scale. No more - in their rage they've chosen the most unqualified person to lead a major western nation in history, and they no longer deserve the respect of anyone who cares about this country.

• The 240-year experiment in liberal democracy is over. It's now time for those who want to see a more perfect union to start working in the blue states to create a new Free States of America, a second American Republic, that can finally leave the forced, abusive marriage of the past 240 years with the slaveholder states and their allies in the Midwest. Let's finally excise this nation's original sin. Let's stop pretending we are one, because we clearly are not. Recognizing this is not a bad thing, but offers hope for self-determination for the two future nations in what used to be the United States of America. Liberals deserve self-determination as well as conservative and reactionaries.

• The good people in the Confederacy and heartland now can no longer deny who their neighbors truly are, and how they feel about others, and must deal with it accordingly. I suggest that the most vulnerable leave as quickly as they can. It's not easy to leave your home, but if you don't realize now how much your life is in peril then the upcoming battle will be your responsibility.

• Clarity is a good thing. Take the autocrats at their word, and believe every word of it. Ignore them at your own risk.

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