Last night, I had a dream that T had planted malware in my mind. I don’t remember how, only the result. I couldn’t feel good about anything, couldn’t experience any happiness unless I did his bidding.
Like many dreams that synthesize multiple levels of meanings, this one revealed a twisted truth. T has planted malware into our minds as well as into our political, economic, and social systems through his actions, tweets and the statements he uses to manipulate headlines and capture attention. And it’s not just the news media, but talk shows and social media. Even though so much of what T says and does is despicable—taking young children from their parents, starting to end the ban on asbestos and allowing its import from Russia, attacking anyone who speaks out against him, not protecting our voting systems, undermining public education and health care, etc., etc.—I think he prefers any headline over none.
And it’s easy to get tired from all this. The bad news comes fast and furious. It is difficult to feel good about the future when his policies threaten that future. It’s hard to feel good about our lives when the lives of so many people are being undermined or destroyed. But doing his bidding or getting caught by his “information wars” only makes us more powerless, unhappy, and angry.
How do we remove the malware? Unfortunately, we can’t just download malware bytes. We can only find ways to resist and to be more aware and mindful of our own patterns of thinking and feeling. The midterm elections are about 3 months away. We have work to do.
When someone is pointing a gun at us, we can’t get caught up in debating the caliber or model. We take it away or get away. A gun is pointed now at each of us and we can’t run away.
We can’t allow ourselves to lose sight of the goal or be fooled by distorted facts and statements meant to confuse and divide. Divide and conquer wasn’t just a strategy of ancient Rome. The GOP and T would like nothing more than to set progressives against liberals or moderates, debating whether health care for all is socialist or not or which candidate is more progressive. They’d love for us to bad mouth and treat should-be allies as enemies.
The GOP hopes to dictate the national discussion, as in the past they turned ‘compromise’ and ‘liberal’ into dirty words and accused the Democrats of class warfare when they pointed out how the GOP tax cuts were, yes, an example of class warfare—of the rich robbing from the poor and middle class. In the last election, some of us were led to believe Hillary couldn’t lose, so we voted for Jill Stein. Others were taken in by arguments (and possibly bots) saying Hillary was as bad (or worse) than T.
A democracy can only function when its people (including politicians) clearly consider multiple viewpoints and use those diverse viewpoints to create new, broader understandings. In order to hear and respect divergent viewpoints, a democracy must be a bit slow moving and require compromise. When anyone with different views is considered an enemy, meaningful discussion and debate is destroyed. Democracy is destroyed.
A recent article in the Guardian, written by Adam King and Emma Rees, explained how the Labour Party in Britain came back from a bad loss in 2015 to win in 2017. It created optimism with a bold agenda built on policies that excited people because they spoke to their real needs. The article recommended that Progressives in the US apply these same ideas, to work from within the Democratic Party and work with the DNC to win elections and create change.
To create change, Democrats need to work together to support candidates who actually represent the views and interests of their constituents and will put those interests above even their own desire for office. They need to work not only to oppose T but to advance democracy, at the ballot box and in the economy. When such candidates actually win, we have a better chance of unseating the GOP and destroying T’s malware.
And there are clear examples that this is already beginning to happen. Not only are more progressive candidates running as Democrats, but a report by the Center for American Progress shows there’s broad support among college educated and working class voters of all races in favor of a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more spending on health care and retirement.
Many of us can’t stand to hear T or his Congressional GOP sycophants lie so openly and rip us off so brazenly. We are angry and afraid. There clearly is much to be angry about. T is the “King of sleaze,” a would-be dictator and probably a traitor, etc.. And the DNC, the should-be leader for people’s rights and economic justice, has often acted contrary to those goals. However, I hope our anger and fear can be used as energy to wake us up to what we need to do, not turn us away from hearing or seeing what frightens and disgusts us.
I hope we now know to think two, three or four times before believing or sharing on social media anything that divides the opposition to T and his quest for dictatorship. That we know not to get arrogant or tricked into thinking a battle is won until it actually is won.