As 2017 chugs and sputters to a well-deserved end, I find myself surprised at the pessimism around me.
Yes, I know. Donald Trump is still President.
The plutocrats have stolen trillions of dollars from the majority in unnecessary tax cuts that threaten our ability to function as a nation.
A slim majority of their sniveling creatures at the FCC have repealed Net Neutrality gifting our free expression to huge corporations.
This is all true.
But it does not make me lose heart.
These defeats may be fleeting, momentary as political and legal challenges mount against them. As far as the tide has pulled back, a wave is gathering strength at sea, such a prodigious burst of water as to create a new ocean once it hits land.
Yes, we endured many scars from the year that was. But we have gained something truly amazing – something that we probably could not have grasped without our sexual predator in chief, a reality TV show conman posing as a political leader.
They see the undeniable destruction, the naked power grabs, how our lawmakers are owned by the super-rich and the outright denial of democratic principles.
They see and they understand.
It is no longer a question whether our lawmakers have our best interests at heart.
It is no longer at all uncertain that business interests and public interests are not the same.
The question is “What will we do about it?”
I’m reminded of the ending of John Carpenter’s cult classic “They Live.”
In the movie, Earth is conquered by aliens but no one noticed. The aliens took over the media and government using a transmitter to hide their ugly faces so that people couldn’t see what they truly look like. These intergalactic shepherds used the media and advertising to herd us human sheep to focus on naked consumerism and ignore how we’re being consumed by the powers that be.
At the end of the movie, the hero – played by Roddy Piper – sacrifices himself to destroy the transmitter so everyone finally can see the hideous aliens among us.
I remember watching the film the first time back in the ‘80s and wondering what people would do once they could see the truth.
Would they fight? Or would they try to convince themselves that they weren’t seeing the evidence of their own eyes?
(WARNING: The video below is NSFW, contains nudity and sexual situations.)
We’re in a similar situation today.
Trump did not cause all of this. He certainly made it worse, but the groundwork was laid by years of neoliberals from Bill Clinton to Barack Obama.
Reagan and both Bushes started us rolling down into the pit, but it was the Clintons and the Obamas who convinced so many of us that we weren’t headed into oblivion, it was merely a trick of the mind, this was the direction we wanted to go and that if anyone got left behind it was merely their own darn fault.
But now the truth is right there before our faces.
And that’s thanks to the blunt, unrepentant greed of Donald J. Trump.
He steals from us and doesn’t even pretend he’s doing anything else.
He hordes our money. He destroys our laws and disregards our values. He raises racists and bigots to respectability while appointing unqualified sycophants with the expressed purpose to run our government into the ground. And if anyone dares proclaim the emperor has no clothes, all he can say is “Fake News.”
And though I thoroughly despise him for everything he’s done and continues to do bringing our world to the brink of annihilation – I also have to thank him.
There is no longer any denying the truth.
It is merely a question of how we fight.
Opportunities abound for victory, and on a scale we could not previously have dreamed.
It would take such a little push to topple this pathetic toy dictator’s regime.
Merely a whisper out of all our mouths could bring it down.
The slightest flick of the smallest finger on all our hands could send a shock wave causing this pitiful empire to crumble.
If we merely took to the streets at the same time, these dollar store monsters would dissolve in our wake.
And in their place – imagine the world we could create.
All the socialist ideals of Roosevelt’s New Deal could be realized. We could enact a NEW New Deal where everyone truly had a fair shot at flourishing.
As the Rev William Barber says, we could bring about a Third Reconstruction so that our future was firmly built on the foundation of equity and understanding for people of all races, genders, nationalities, religions and creeds.
We could forever banish money from the halls of power and force the plutocrats to pay for all they have stolen from us – with interest.
We could do all this with the merest flexing of our muscles. Because the conquering power is so weak, so disorganized, so pathetic.
There is but one puissant force left in this country of ours, and it is us. The people.
We were there at the beginning and we are here still at what might be our end.
We, the People.
We can take this country back from the sick and stunted and powerful.
We can take this country back from the frail and the deranged and prejudiced.
We can make America great – if not again then perhaps for the first time. We can make America truly great.
That is the promise of the future.
As our darkest hour dawns, our brightest light may yet shine.
Here’s to igniting that spark.
Here’s to a brighter tomorrow.