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Some Days We Try the Soul

November 25, 2016

As Thomas Paine knew well, there are times in the struggle when the soul sinks into despondency. It’s like we’ve lost the battle for New York City and the redcoats will spend the winter there in comfort, while we freeze, out here in the wilds of Pennsylvania—and this time we even lost PA. The Democratic President is in lame duck; the Dem Party is in disarray: Trump gets massive media attention as he forms his government, Congress isn’t in session so we can’t take action there, but congressional Republicans can gleefully announce their intention to tear down everything that we have built since 1932 and replace it with stupidity, arrogance, deprivation, and assault.

In short, we feel powerless, while our opponents maximize their power.

At any rate, that’s how I feel. The task seems impossibly large, while my energy drains away. I feel frozen with inaction, in the freezing mud at the bottom of the River Styx. It seems I didn’t make it across.

Well, a narrator can only sink so far, before he gives in and stops thinking out loud. But while the imagination yet lives, there are many meaningful actions that we can take—must take—as soon as today. For instance:

Right now we are conducting a defensive action, trying to make it a holding action. Preparing for damage control. As soon as possible, in every way possible, we must go on the offensive. Like Washington cross dressing the Delaware. That will lift our spirits, because we will see that we can be effective and that there are many, many of us.

We can take every opportunity to remind T that he is a loser (by close to 3,000,000 votes).  And we can pressure him to forcefully, explicitly renounce White Supremacist support—note, these people are so especially morally repugnant, and pose such an extreme danger, that the forcefulness of presidential repudiation is more important than the number of times that T conventionally disavows them.

We can try to draw attention to neglected, major issues, such as global warming and money in politics.

We can voice support for current office holders who are on our side, such as President Obama, and encourage them to keep up the good fight. And we can tell our most Progressive Congresspeople that we are with them in that fight.

We can push the Dem Party to the Left (as we thought we’d be pushing Hillary). The Clintonite Dem Establishment is still largely in place. We can help identify and encourage current and future progressive candidates, even run for office ourselves. We can pressure current office holders to take progressive actions.

We can financially support organizations that are fighting for us, and will need even more resources after T’s inauguration. (Just some: ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Democracy for America, MoveOn, Our Revolution.)

We can abstain from buying Trump empire products (which few of us, or his constituents, can afford anyway; he’s not in business for us or them), and we can pressure retailers against stocking those products.  We can throw mud on the brand.

We can pressure Big Media to act responsibly, and we can support progressive online sites (e.g. Free Speech TV, Think Progress, Daily Kos, TPMIn These Times).

We can support, or even join, the direct action, nonviolent civil disobedience at Standing Rock. There will have to be more such actions, to rescue the living planet, as its life shrinks and becomes increasingly desperate. (Frankly I can’t imagine that T and the Rs can be prevented from doing enormous damage, without acts of civil disobedience, which history shows will bring physical injury and very probably deaths.)

We can thank each other, and ourselves, for our faithful efforts.

Soul is trying us now, finding out what we’ve got, whether we will give it our attention, even on dark days of this winter of our malcontent.

We can keep our hands on the plow (I know, springtime metaphor) and our eyes on the prize.

We can begin to take our Presidency back.

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