What happens now?
A would-be benign despot was sworn in as my nation’s leader yesterday. In his inaugural speech, he spoke of ending “American carnage.” He spoke of returning power to the people, as if he wasn’t filling his government with billionaires who are philosophically inclined to dismantle the agencies they are tasked with running. Those in his Cabinet who aren’t billionaires seem to be generals and elected officials who share his pro-billionaire stances. He thinks that only he can save us from… something, like this “American carnage” that I don’t recognize.
The media tells me attendance at his swearing in was poor; the would-be benign despot (“WBBD”) railed today during a ceremony at the CIA about the dishonest media, as if we hadn’t all seen pictures comparing crowds yesterday with crowds eight years ago. Were the pictures yesterday from early in the day, before the crowds arrived? I’m waiting for the pro-WBBD media and trolls to post pictures identifiably from yesterday that show the larger crowds, presumably from later in the day. I’m also looking for something refuting reports that the National Park Service has been barred from Twitter in petty retaliation for tweeting estimates of inauguration attendance that support the smaller estimates.
Today, hundreds of thousands, even millions, of people turned out in Washington, DC and dozens of other cities in support of progressive policies, or perhaps in protest of the wbbd. I’m not sure what their appearance changes in the short term. Betsy DeVos can still gut the Department of Education. Rick Perry can still gut research into sustainable energy and try to turn the Department of Energy into the marketing arm of the petroleum and natural gas industries like he allegedly thought it was. Scott Pruitt can still still neuter the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts until he can gut the regulations in favor of industry over environment. Andrew Puzder can make a mockery of the Department of Labor, and Wilbur Ross can make the Department of Commerce the support group for robber-barons who will loot successful companies for their own profit. Jeff Sessions seems to want to redefine “Justice” in some way that Martin Luther King and Thurgood Marshall wouldn’t recognize.
In eighteen months, especially if there is relief from gerrymandering from the Supreme Court, we can start taking back the House of Representatives and the Senate from the puppets installed by right-wing well-funded special interest groups. That might provide some push-back in favor of the environment, public education, human rights, workers’ rights, and other causes we used to take for granted.
My country will now have two parallel media: the old “mainstream media,” upon whom the WBBD has declared war upon, and the cranks and foreign influences who benefit from the WBBD’s behaviors. I’ll continue to follow the old mainstream and some outlets that were distinctly more progressive than the mainstream, trying to take nothing for granted but giving them the benefit of the doubt compared to the rabble-rousers who seem to think the WBBD’s words are truthful and moral when most of us can plainly see they aren’t.
I hope “American Carnage,” isn’t something I come to recognize. I hope the undocumented workers among me in the community aren’t rounded up and deported for no more cause than their lack of legal status here. I hope my LGBTQ friends and friends of friends can continue to live their lives openly and happily, as families or in whatever form they prefer.
I am once more part of the opposition, even more than I ever was during any prior Republican administration.
I hope this is our low point, when the scales fall from the eyes of the blind and all of us are galvanized to say, “This isn’t normal; this isn’t right; this isn’t what I want.”