I’m Still Waking Up in the Middle of the Night
(Written by Guest Contributor Peggy Kruger Tietz, PhD )
As has been true for many of you, it’s taken me a while to think clearly. First it was the shock—a muddled mind, walking around in a daze. Next the denial—this can’t be true, surely there’s some mistake. Then the escapism—I can’t live here anymore. This is no longer my country. Then the sadness—the loss of something that seemed sure suddenly taken away, the loss of those great fantasies of the future. My favorite was Barack Obama on the Supreme Court. All that is gone, and now I am left with anger. I think we all need to be angry. Think of anger as the positive spark that motivates and focuses us, pushes us to ensure that justice and tolerance prevail.
First we can’t be naïve. As Bill Maher said in his show just after the election, “You can’t go to a gun fight with a Bowie knife.” You must identify harmful power when you see it. I wish love did trump hate, but just look at history to see peaceful, cooperative societies overrun by aggressive warlike ones. Loving works when there are two equally committed sides, each respectful of the other and committed to working out their differences. Clearly, this has not been the case with Republicans. They are in the camp of win at all costs. We’ve seen in this election that there is no moral core, and anything goes if it helps you to win. Lloyd Doggett reports that Paul Ryan is already talking about “the unified Republican government.”
About forty years ago, I studied power dynamics in NYC. I was initially repelled by the whole idea that one needed to use power, but I finally came to realize that not everyone is interested in cooperation. Some people just want power, and they will win at your expense. They won’t think twice about it. Maintaining power is the only reward, and they won’t fight fair to get it. This is the situation we’re in now with the Republicans. When someone wants to win over you, you must resist and exercise your own power. You don’t have to win over them, but you do have to stop their aggression towards you.
There is no doubt in my mind that Republicans will move quickly to secure their agenda. They’ve done it already in the states. With power in all three branches of government, they’ll do as much as possible to prevail, without concern for any other points of view. It simply won’t matter to them. They don’t care. How could they care if they held their nose and voted for someone as loathsome as Trump? We can’t expect cooperation, and we should take the offensive immediately.
Here are my thoughts on how to proceed:
Have a tight group of talking points and don’t deviate from them. Say them over and over. Hire the best marketing firm to distill them into memorable sound bites. Discuss and evaluate the election in private, but in public here’s what we should be saying:
We did not lose the election. We won the popular vote.
The election was stolen by win at any cost tactics used by dishonest and morally corrupt Republicans.
Republicans are systematically taking our democracy apart.
Republicans are a threat to our national security.
Begin in-depth investigations to identify Trump’s financial conflicts of interest and history of criminal activities including his denial of knowledge and possible complicity in Russia’s hacking into Clinton’s emails when he was in fact briefed on this.
Demand Comey’s resignation.
Discipline and fire any member of the FBI who leaked information.
Democratic Congressmen must block Supreme Court nominations. They must present a united front to stop Republican legislation that is destructive or discriminatory to any of our citizens.
SUPPORT THE PRESS
Yes, I know they’ve been cruelly unfair in covering this election. Ratings win over responsibility, and false equivalences dominate. There is no analysis. Fox News is an arm of the Republican party. YET democracies require a free press. Authoritarian rule squashes the press first. Trump hates bad press and punishes those who speak out against him. This has happened and will happen again. It needs to be countered.
While I’m skeptical whether protests will have much impact, they might disturb thin-skinned Trump, and they might also be important in allowing us to have a more personal way of registering our discontent. I’m proud to have marched in Washington against the Vietnam War, to have marched for women’s rights, and to have been there when Martin Luther King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech.
STAND UP TO INJUSTICE
Be vigilant, and when you encounter injustice, be courageous and speak out. I don’t know about you, but this election has increased my growing irritation with anyone who smugly thinks they’re superior.
Peggy Kruger Tietz, PhD, Guest Contributor