“It’s like 9/11 out there,” is the meme circulating amongst New Yorkers this cold, grey afternoon. If there was any doubt as to what happened last night, the grim faces of this morning’s rush-hour crowd made that more than clear. The only two people smiling on a ride from the East Village were a couple of rich white girls blithely carting a haul from Whole Foods, most likely back to the Williamsburg luxury condo their parents bought for them,.
As much as people in this city and this country are hurting, the whole world is in pain today. It was hard to resist the temptation to ditch work for a trip to the liquor store for a half gallon of vodka, like more than one friend of this blog is doing. But now is hardly the time for that. At the risk of sounding like a pollyanna, let’s take a step back from this moment of horror and look at the larger picture. As troubling as today is, the results of the 2016 Presidential Election have opened an enormous, unpredecented window of opportunity for everyone dedicated to freedom, justice and equality on a global scale. We could not have invented a more useful nemesis to join forces against. Hollywood couldn’t have created a better villain than Donald Trump. To paraphrase Joe Hill, now is the time to organize, not mourn.
America is the laughingstock of the world today. Assuming he lives to inauguration day – not something he should take for granted – this nation will be represented by a chief executive who bankrupted not one but two casinos, an achievement akin to dying of thirst on the banks of a river. Who is best known globally as a reality-tv bully surrounded by sycophants, whom he became notorious for firing on a whim. Who galvanized a disenfranchised blue-collar electorate with violent, extremist, pathologically racist rhetoric. A blatant and unapologetic misogynist whose German immigrant grandfather sowed the seeds of the family fortune by running a chain of whorehouses. Whose father greased the palms of corrupt politicians, fed at the trough of public funding for real estate speculators, bankrolled and largely controlled his spoiled son’s ascendancy among the one-tenth-of-one-percenters until his death. A pampered, overgrown trust-fund kid with no boundaries and fewer scruples. By comparison, Boris Yeltsin is Schopenhauer.
If we play our cards right and begin building the foundation right now, we’ll sweep out Trump and his latest band of enablers in the 2020 elections. Don’t forget – every poll, even the right-wing ones, indicated that Bernie Sanders would have CRUSHED Trump had the Democratic Party establishment not colluded against him to assure the nomination for Hillary Clinton. More than anything, this election was a referendum against the very establishment the Clintons have courted for decades: the banksters, Silicon Valley slavers and globalizers hell-bent on a race to the bottom where slavery seems charitable by comparison to the other alternatives. The Clinton family’s most lasting historical legacy will be that they turned the Democratic Party into the Republicans. As Republican yuppies shifted their allegiance to the Democrats, the Republicans’ lunatic fringe became empowered as never before.
But Trump isn’t Hitler. Unlike the Clintons, who have coddled their fellow ultra-rich for decades and raised pay-to-play corruption to an art form, Trump doesn’t have a platform. His personal views, such that they exist -and mostly, they don’t – put him considerably to the left of Clinton in many rexpects. It would be unrealistic to believe that a Trump administration would actually work to repeal NAFTA or GATT. But it was Trump, not Clinton, who raised the issue. Her views on war crimes and torture are indistinguiishable from Trump’s, and she has the additional support of Bush Regime holdovers like the Torture Kagans. The Clintons have been bought and paid for by Wall Street swindlers for decades. Trump may not be the outsider he says he is – he and the Clintons have been been part of the uber-rich New York social scene since the 90s – but he’s far from connected as far as the Pentagon torture-industrial complex is concerned, for example.
The reality is that a Hillary Presidency would have been much the same as with Trump in office: wages on a downward spiral, poverty and crime hitting Great Depression-era peaks, racist paramilitarized police enjoying open season on young black and latino men, the surrveillance state and Big Data worming their way even further into our most personal spaces via seemingly innocuous private-sector initiatives like smartwatches and the Canary home spycam.
But much as Trump may be 99% bluster, those who suck up to him are ruthless and extremely dangerous. And the extremist wing among Trump supporters has been enabled like never before. There’s tons of money in building a wall along the Mexican border, and thousands of armed vigilantes pumped up to build it and patrol it. Every racist madman with a gun, every wannabe George Zimmerman, is in hog heaven today.
Which leaves our work cut out for us. To us, Trump is extremely valuable as a magnet for those lunatics. Trump’s candidacy brought all the maggots crawling from under their rocks where we could finally count them. Consider your own personal circles: it’s a good bet that some people you know, whom you never would have accused of being psycho racists, turned out to be exactly that. The forces of evil are vast, and deadly, and empowered like they haven’t been since the Middle Ages, perhaps in even greater numbers.
But we outnumber them. If we can make it to 2020, we can turn this world around.
The hard part will be getting there.
In the meantime, we need to get our priorities straight. We especially need to watch the backs of our black and latino brothers and sisters. That might make you a bodyguard, or might put you in the position of sheltering innocent immigrants on your property or in your home. The next four years will require heroism on the level of the resistance during World War II. To fail to live up to that responsibility might well mean armageddon for all of us.
There are vigils popping up around town tonight. The big one is at Columbus Circle starting at around 5. This is just the beginning: if you remember the antiwar protests against the Bush regime, all that’s going to look like small potatoes as far as public resistance against a Trump administration is concerned. Let’s get together now. More than ever, we are truly our brothers’ keepers. Remember – we already have the numbers. We just have to put all of them together.