What just happened was inevitable so we shouldn’t be acting like a tsunami crashed over us while we were sleeping. Oh my God! What just happened? All that water!
The Republicans won the election. And before I get a slew of comments about how Donald Trump didn’t really win because he lost the popular vote, let me say this. He won. They won. The Republicans won everything. That’s why we feel like we’re swimming in a pond of vomit right now. Not only did Trump and the Republicans win, they’re doing exactly what they said they would do – with the Supreme Court, deregulation, tax breaks, and immigration. And we’re sitting here getting shocked and dismayed all the time. What the fuck did we think was going to happen?
And why did the Republicans win everything? Ah, the analysis will go on in graduate political science classes forever; thousands of dissertations will crowd the shelves. It was Russia, it was Hillary’s oh so many flaws as a candidate, it was the Democrats’ weak message, it was the Republicans’ many and assorted, multi-octave dog whistles that pulled all the hidden little racists from their cover. You pick.
Me, I think it’s very simple. The Republicans won all the marbles because people who weren’t Republicans didn’t show up. They didn’t vote. And just stop if you’re about to give me a short course on voter suppression. I get it. Believe me. I live in Wisconsin where voter suppression has become an art form. So yep, that’s a problem. But even given voter suppression, a huge percentage of people who could have voted, who were eligible to vote, did not vote.
They have to vote on November 6th, every last one of them. That’s got to be the cold pack that we put on this wound, the self-care that everyone is talking about on Facebook and Twitter today. Don’t post poems about the glory of the universe as a way to make me feel better. Tell me how many people you are going to get to the polls. Tell me what you are doing as an opinion leader to get your family, friends, and colleagues to vote. Tell me how you are radiating the message that venting feels good but voting makes change.
We can’t keep showing up to demonstrations with our flaming indignation and our clever signs. Chants don’t cut it. Getting arrested only impresses the arrested and their followers. The people with the power over our lives walk right past the protesters and the signs and the chants as if they are so many orange barrels on a highway under construction, stuff to drive around. The goddamn road is going to get built anyway.
The answer isn’t demonstrations and protests. The answer is winning. If demonstrations and protests convince more people to vote, then they have value. But if their purpose is to convince the people in power to do what is contrary to their own interests, then demonstrations and protests are futile and a waste of valuable energy.
Winning is the only thing that matters. And the way we win is by having more votes than the opposition in every race in every state in the country.
The mid-term election is a month from now.
Don’t get mad. Get even.