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.]

10 comments on “Stung

  1. kingmidget
    February 27, 2017

    McClintock may be in for a rude surprise in two years. I find the arrogance of Republicans and their backers to be fascinating. Eight years ago, a lot of commentators were predicting the demise of the Republican Party. Now, it’s reversed. And eight years from now … I’m not going to bet money on it, but there’s a very real chance there could be a blue tide in 2018 and 2020.

    Equally fascinating are the stories about Trump voters who didn’t realize he would actually carry through on his campaign promises — the ones that are now going to hurt them. A lot. And how the hell could anybody listen to Trump and think he would bring back workers’ rights? There is a quote out there from a few years ago in which Trump said that if he ever ran for President he would run as a Republican because they’re stupid. Hmmm…

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2017

      I hope you’re right about McClintock. I don’t know that there’s a pool of viable Dems in the district who could challenge him successfully, but who knows — maybe a rookie sensation will appear.

      I have a feeling the only ones surprised by Trump’s actions will be people who voted for him. I’m certainly not surprised.

  2. John W. Howell
    February 27, 2017

    Excellent post, Kevin. Despair needs to turn into solidarity. (Umph didn’t mean to use that term but it does fit). I still wonder about those who are surprised with Trump’s actions. He’s behaved in the same manner his whole life and actually promised to do what he is doing. His bully tactics and mischaracterizations have not changed.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2017

      I think there are some promising signs of solidarity lately, and I just have to hope it eventually amounts to more than signs and slogans. These things take time …

  3. Woebegone but Hopeful
    February 27, 2017

    Just a thought..
    In one year’s time. ‘Well it’ll take him a while to sort out the mess that last one caused’,
    Two years’ time “Of course it’s the folk around him who are at fault”.
    Three years’ time “Trump! That lying S.o.B! They’re all the same!! Get in Power and forget who put them there!!”
    Just saying, that’s all.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 27, 2017

      You’ve read this script before, eh? Getting a bit hackneyed, I’d say.

      • Woebegone but Hopeful
        February 28, 2017

        Political excuses 101. The UK Labour party is currently betwixt stage 1 & 2.
        We certainly need Marx….Brothers that is.

  4. pinklightsabre
    February 28, 2017

    I saw a handpainted road sign here yesterday I really liked, calling out our congressman: it said MISSING, Dave Reichert.

    • Kevin Brennan
      February 28, 2017

      Encouraging. I’ve seen some people putting their congressman’s face on milk cartons. Heh heh.

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