Friday, November 11, 2016

Now Is Not The Time To Run.

I'm not going to tell you that everything is going to be okay.  The chances of everything being okay seem about as good as the proverbial snowball's chance in hell.  Chances are very good that a significant number of Americans (specifically those with serious chronic illnesses) might not survive the next few years of our new government if the protections provided by the ACA are lost.  Chances are good that the families of people I love are going to be torn apart, and that people I care about will lose the right to marry and adopt (I presume that the constitutional protections against retroactive laws will protect the marriages of those already married, but we will see).  The government we have elected campaigned on promises to harm people I love, and that does not even consider the campaign of our presumptive President Elect, Donald Trump.

So no, I can't tell you that everything is going to be okay.  But I do want to tell you not to give up hope.  There is a future, and that future can still be better.

But for that better future to come we will have to stand and fight.


It has been hard to stay hopeful these last few days.  A man who campaigned on a platform of ethnic nationalism won the US election.  He won that election at a time when unprecedented obstruction by our legislative branch means that he will immediately be able to alter the balance of the Supreme court.  Simultaneously, the Republican party won both the House and the Senate.  This means, in essence, that despite our Constitution's careful system of checks and balances, Donald Trump comes into office with no branch of the government to oppose him.

Trump comes in to power following a campaign that saw unprecedented foreign interference in a US election.  Foreign interference on the part of Russia in support of Donald Trump.


Long ago, in those far off days of the 1990's the US had a monitoring program set up to keep North Korea from getting nukes in exchange for aid.  It was controversial, but it worked for as long as the US maintained it.  Following the 2000 election, Bush II decided to abandon the monitoring program in favor of stiffer restrictions on North Korea.  Following the 2002 US abandonment of the agreement, North Korea resumed their nuclear program, and in 2006 successfully tested a nuclear warhead.

Today we have a similar monitoring agreement with Iran (which had been on the verge of gaining nuclear capability prior to the agreement) which has kept Iran from gaining nuclear capabilities for the past year.  Donald Trump has promised to violate that agreement.  If Trump keeps his word, then it seems almost certain that we will have a nuclear armed Iran shortly thereafter.


Talking about Iran and North Korea might seem like a digression, but I bring the issue of nuclear armaments up because I fear that if the US ceases to act as a restriction to Russia's ability to act more openly and violently, particularly against Muslims, that we could end up facing a true clash of civilizations (If you are not familiar with Samuel Huntington's article The Clash of Civilizations? I suggest you familiarize yourself with it).  If that clash does occur, and if it involves nuclear armed nations on both sides, nuclear war is as likely as it has been since the end of the Cold War.


So how do those of us who value human rights and cultural diversity find hope?  Well I can't speak for you, but I can speak for myself.

My immediate reaction to Trump's victory was to start thinking about moving to Canada.  I know that this seems like a trite bit of hand-wringing, but I am serious.  I am a dual-citizen of the US and Canada, as is my daughter.  I actually can go.  I was motivated in my fear by the shocking rise in antisemitism I have seen in this country over the course of the Trump campaign.  Thousands of years of history also suggest that when ethnic nationalism picks up things get dangerous for Jews.  My immediate thought was that I don't want to wait for our synagogue to get firebombed before I get my family to safety.

But that is a false choice.  There is nowhere far-away enough in this world to protect us from nuclear war.  And even if the people who want to harm my family have been empowered, we are not on Trump's hit-list.  At least not yet.

Not everyone can say that.  My gay friends ARE on the GOP's hit-list.  My chronically ill friends ARE on the GOP's hit-list.  My Muslim friends ARE on Trump's hit-list.  And my Latin American friends and family ARE on Trump's hit-list.

Considering all the people who ARE in harm's way right now, it would be cowardly to run because danger MIGHT come my family's way.

If WWIII happens, then Canada won't be far enough away to protect us.  And if WWIII does not come, then we need to do what we can to protect those who are vulnerable.  In the face of this wave of dehumanization there is no moral choice but to fight.  I spoke to my ex-wife following the election to see if she had plans to move back to Canada.  I think she said it well when she said "There is no running away from this.  Neither do I want to, I think it's better to stay and be the change."


I can't tell you how to fight just yet.  I am still getting my bearings.  This is an uncomfortable place for me to be.  I have no choice but to consider the GOP the enemy until they repudiate ethnic nationalism.  And with the defeat of Hillary it seems that the liberal wing of the Democratic party is ascendant.  For a centrist like myself who doesn't particularly care for all of Bernie Sander's Democratic Socialism this is extra hard.  Yes, I support human rights, cultural openness, and environmentalism, but I don't really think of those things as political values, I think of those things as human values.  On the things that I do consider political values (economic policies, limited government, gun rights, reproductive rights, etc.) I am a mixture of positions.  There is no political home for me right now.

When it comes to how best to organize from here on out, I am not yet sure.  But I do know that we have to be vigilant, and ready to fight.  We cannot stand by idly when our government moves to harm people in our name.

To end off I will quote my friend Eric:


P.S. On the topic of people lobbying to try to get Electors to vote unfaithfully.  Yes, I understand that the electoral college was created explicitly to prevent someone like Trump from gaining power, but I feel very strongly that electoral college shenanigans could trigger civil war right now.  Trump is set to harm a lot of people, but open armed conflict in this country would hurt a lot more people.  This feels like a perilous time.  I do not support trying to subvert the electoral system. (I also consider there to be other value in having the Electoral College.  You might not agree, but here is a video that captures what I normally like about the system.)

1 comment:

  1. Jon many people who value human rights are still reeling as am I. I dont have any answers either except I hope that good people with good hearts will see this horrific mistake and VOTE seriously in the future at the very least. At some point after ppl collect themselves there will be groups etc ... One can join and be active in. Anyways, I love your spirit and soul. Sharon