Kevin Brennan Writes About What It's Like
Not long ago, a news correspondent asked a Democratic voter what he felt after a few weeks of the Trump presidency. He gave a one-word answer: “Despair.”
I hear that. But despair doesn’t have to render us passive, and that’s why I’ve stepped up my political activities lately. To surrender is to accept the direction this president intends to take the country, the outlines of which are already visible.
No to that.
I’ve written my oh-so-red congressman several times since January 20, though he hasn’t seen fit to reply. He’s getting massive crowds at his town halls — angry, loud, and engaged. Probably surprising to him that so many libs live in his so-called safe district. But he proudly regurgitates the Trump line at these things and says to the agitated minority, “You need to run someone against me next time who can win if you want your representative to vote your way.”
And there it is. Ideologues don’t modulate their positions. It’s a black-and-white reality now.
And that’s why, when I read this piece about workers in Upstate New York who voted for Trump, I’m a hair’s breadth from unsympathetic. See, they happened to go on strike right around the time of the election, and they thought that a vote for Trump was going to shake things up and start an irresistible movement of workers’ rights and bringing back great manufacturing jobs. Just this past week they lost. Their company is owned by an assortment of billionaires, and they played hardball. Scabs broke the strike.
Now the workers are coming back under poorer terms, so that things like guaranteed pensions and retiree health benefits are slipping away.
Same as it ever was, perhaps, but the difference this time is that as many as 80% of these workers were persuaded that Trump was their savior. That’s like thinking the Grim Reaper is at your door to escort you to Disneyland.
At times like this I always think of that fable of the frog and the scorpion. I’m sure you’ve heard it. A frog is resting by the river when a scorpion appears and asks the frog to take him across. The frog says, uh, no, because you’re a scorpion and you’ll sting me and I’ll die. The scorpion says that would be dumb of me, since I’ll be riding on your back and we’ll both drown if I sting you. Hey, you’re right, says the frog. Hop aboard. They set out with the scorpion on the frog’s back, but sure enough, halfway across the river the scorpion stabs the frog with his toxic tail and they start going under. Why’d you do that? the frog cries. Now we’re both going to die!
It’s my nature, says the scorpion, and the two of them are carried away downstream.
Trump is a scorpion. His nature is to lie and then screw the people he’s lied to, like independent subcontractors, like voters.
Here’s a guide to the best ways to contact your own representatives. This is one of those times in our national life when silence is assent, so — to stick with the metaphor — let’s tell that scorpion to turn around and go back the way he came.
[Photo by skeeze at Pixabay.]