It's the gamble of democracy. Government of the people. In theory, it sounds nearly perfect. How could it POSSIBLY go wrong? Unfortunately, the answer to that question is, you hold an election and let the people choose. On November 8th of last year, we did just that. And according to about two-thirds of the American people, WE made a mistake. We elected Donald Trump. And, short of impeachment, the 25th Amendment or death, there's not a whole lot we can do about it. For a little more than three years we must endure the slings and arrows of outrageous Trumpism.
OK, we made a mistake. It happens. Hopefully, like a kidney stone, this too shall pass. And, let's face it, we've made mistakes before. Not EVERY American President has turned out to be a winner. I mean, who would say that the Harding Administration represented America's Golden Age? Fortunately, we've had other elections and sometimes we've even gotten it right. For every Coolidge or Nixon we've had a Roosevelt or a Truman. So, in 2020 we can correct our mistake. The REAL question is, "Will we?".
To a certain extent, responsibility for this "course correction" lies in the hands of the Democratic Party. In 2016, the Democrats offered us an alternative to Trump all right, but one that was simply too unpalatable for far too many people. In 2020, the Democrats are going to have to offer something more than Bernie Sanders. If they put all their eggs in the Bernie basket, we may face eight years of horrific government.
I must admit, I'm fairly confident the Democrats are going to field more than two serious candidates for their party's Presidential nomination in 2020. However, when that happens, the burden of responsibility for choosing an alternative to Donald Trump will shift to US, we the people. This next time around, we cannot afford NOT to participate in the selection process. We can't leave the decision in the hands of a bunch of yahoos enthralled by Bernie Sanders. We are going to have to take our politics seriously and actively participate in the process because, as we've found out to our consternation and dismay, the consequences for inaction can be enormous!
It is said that evil triumphs when good people do nothing. Nothing proves this more than the results of our last election. On one level, Hillary Clinton WON the last election, she got more votes. But the stark reality is that about 80,000 people spread over three states tipped the election in the Electoral College to Donald Trump. We can't allow that to happen again!
Democracy isn't about political parties, charismatic candidates, party platforms or slick media commercials. Democracy is about we the people. Sure, one can argue that the Russians interfered in our last election, that Comrade Putin and his merry band of master spies butted their big noses into our election, that they exploited our divisions and influenced just enough people to put Donald Trump in the White House. But consider this, the Russians merely took advantage of what was already here. Those divisions they exploited were there before the Russians even HEARD of a computer and they'll be here long after Vladimir Putin shuffles off this mortal coil. And, after all, don't our OWN politicians use wedge issues to win elections all the time? In a world where fifty-one percent of Republicans believe Barack Obama was born in Kenya, divide and conquer seems to be a prudent strategy.
As an historian of sorts, it pains me to say this, but we have to stop obsessing about the past. Donald Trump IS our President and we'll just have to live with it. 2016 is over, we have to concentrate on 2018 and beyond. We have to teach both the Russians and their Republican allies that this country's commitment to democracy is alive and well and firmly implanted in our hearts and minds. It's up to us. Let's not drop the ball this time!!!
Filed under: Politics