Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Pondering Hope

Thanks to Rogue One and Keeping It 1600, I have been thinking about hope
Sure, but false hope is at best a distraction.  For example, hoping that the electoral college would not produce the expected result was a false hope.   The problem is, as Mike Lombardi and others have said, hope is not a plan.   Yet, we need hope to avoid despair, which produces nothing.  People will only invest in the effort to change the situation if there is some expectation that one can help to produce a positive outcome.  So, hope and resistance are inextricably tied, as the movie demonstrated nicely.

We should not expend effort on false hope and weak plans, such as expecting the GOP to impeach Trump.  But we can and should invest in candidates, campaigns and protests at all levels. There is much to be done, and it requires, as Jon Lovett harped on in the latest Keeping It 1600 podcast, much work. 

What to do?  Damned if I know.  It can be hard to tell what is a low probability but real chance versus an utterly fruitless effort.  Focusing on real issues that affect people is what the experts recommend, which means, alas, foreign policy is probably not the right area to place attention.  While SecState nominee Tillerson might be the easiest target, the lowest hanging fruit--an oilman with ties to Russia and with GOP senators already concerned, it will probably not make much noise in the US.  On the other hand, the Sec of Treasury choice, David Mnukin, might be a better target since Mnukin was involved in foreclosing lots of people. 

The focus will have to be on policies, and not the noise that Trump generates.  Corruption?  The press will cover that, but, again, no impeachment since the GOP is not going to stand up.  So, the Democrats must put their effort on stopping those that will hurt people and then publicizing the effects of the policies that the GOP passes. 

The hard part is that there is a second focus that the Democrats have to have, even if it does not sell to public--protecting the ability for the Democrats (and others) to win elections.  So much effort by the GOP to suppress the vote of likely Democrats and so much effort to subvert the results when the Democrats win--North Carolina!!  So, it will essentially be a two front fight--fighting the policies that affect the most people AND fighting to protect the institutions that permit the Democrats to win future elections. 

While there will be negative noise generated by Trump and his policies, we must resist responding to it all.  As someone pointed out on twitter today, Trump is a living denial of service attack, overcoming institutions and media via too much damned noise. 

The trick will be to get diverse audiences together, fighting Trump.  They don't all need to attack the same policies, but they need to coordinate so that they work in synergy.  In NC, the various anti-GOP groups agreed to support Protest Mondays, with different protests each week but always on Monday and each group supporting the protests of the others.  That Trump generates opposition from across the spectrum will make this hard--how to keep Never Trump conservatives, Libertarians, Democrats of all stripes, and the left together will be difficult. 

The good news is that the bad news is good news--that while it may be hard to coordinate and cooperate among so many groups, the forces arrayed against Trump and Trumpism are many and will only get larger as the costs of Trump's policies start to affect people.  This is real, and thus something upon which we can build, something that is the foundation of hope and resistance. 

One last thing that can provide a source of hope: the US has failed before and come back.  While there will be grave costs due to the mistakes of this fall, we can come back and we will.

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