The last week or so has been an absolute tsunami of disappointments, bad news and terrifying omens.
The Supreme Court punted on gerrymandering, and issued several horrifying decisions: it upheld Trump’s travel ban, required public sector labor unions to represent non-member workers who don’t pay for that representation, and upheld Ohio’s draconian voter purge program, among others.
Every one of those decisions will benefit the GOP in the midterms, and every one of them was 5/4.
Mitch McConnell undoubtedly feels very proud of himself, but the price of those legal victories–won with a “stolen” seat– was the legitimacy of the United States Supreme Court. Americans simply don’t know what a dispassionate Court composed of properly appointed, nonpolitical jurists would have decided, and they are convinced that the Court is now ideological rather than judicial.
Then, of course, we got the news of Justice Kennedy’s (long-rumored) retirement, and McConnell’s gleeful promise to seat a replacement (who will have passed the litmus test) before the midterms.
All this is on the heels of the humanitarian crisis at the border–an entirely unnecessary blot on our national honor (assuming we have any left) brought on by our racist President.
So what now? What should we expect?
Perhaps I’m wrong–I so frequently am–but I think we are heading for a period of civic disturbance that will make the 60s pale in comparison.
I just don’t think good Americans–and I remain convinced that good Americans are the majority–are going to passively watch their country taken down the road to fascism (as Madelyn Albright recently warned). We aren’t going to watch children being separated from desperate parents, Social Security and Medicare being raided in order to fund tax breaks for the already obscenely rich, or an economy that had finally recovered being trashed by tariffs imposed by a petulant and ignorant blowhard.
Americans aren’t going to sit still while that blowhard continues to embarrass the country, insult our allies, cozy up to (and probably collude with) our enemies, and divide Americans from each other with an unremitting barrage of racist, misogynistic rhetoric.
Trump’s constant (and ungrammatical) self-glorifying tweets may play well with his base, but they nauseate the rest of us.
The midterm elections will be critically important, but even if a “blue wave” materializes, we will in all likelihood no longer have a court system that defends stare decisis and the rule of law. We will still have the pent-up anger of hardworking Americans who have watched an already inadequate social safety net eviscerated in order to bestow extra dollars on people who don’t need those dollars. We will still experience the fury of women who are being told that they are less than equal, and that the government controls their bodies. And we will still have to deal with the frustration of citizens whose votes are suppressed, aren’t being counted, or are being discounted.
Those and multiple other civic frustrations are already beginning to erupt.
I don’t pretend to know how this will all play out, but I’m pretty sure it is going to get ugly before it gets better. America is in one of those periodic struggles for its soul–a struggle between the “good guys” who care about the common good and their fellow Americans, on the one hand, and the Trumpers who care only about themselves on the other. My bet is on the eventual victory of the good guys–but I know that a hell of a lot of people are going to get hurt in the meantime.
We need to just hang on. The next few years are going to be rough. And dispositive.