The world as we know it is about to change drastically.
Republican Donald Trump won the Presidency.
His path to an electoral college win eked out on three swing states where the combined margin of victory was less than 10,000 individual ballots, while producing a popular vote nearly three millions of ballots shy of Democrat Hillary Clinton spread across five larger states she won in a landslide.
Most of what Trump ran on was a more transparent version of the post-Goldwater Republican Southern Strategy which traditionally leverages a degree of subtle of racism, sexism and nationalism under the guise of a moral majority brand of conservatism.
While both the Republicans and Democrats will struggle to understand exactly why Trump happened, the Republicans regain their stranglehold on national politics. Since the 70s they’ve held the majority of the Judicial Branch through a combination of mostly Conservative Federal Appeals Court Judges producing a majority of Conservative Circuit Courts with holding a fairly predictably 5-4 conservative Majority on the Supreme Court. Since the 70s the GOP held the Presidency and thus the influence of the Executive 24 years and counting to the Democrats 20. The Legislative Branch turns over more, but in all the GOP held the House and the Senate individually more than the Democrats and in combination as a Legislative Majority more than the Democrats. And that’s not even including the ongoing march of the Republican influence on State Houese including now 30 Governorships and a majority of State Level legislative seats nationally.
Thus, for the majority of the last nearly 40 years, the GOP ran the Government as the wholesale majority more than the Democrats and enacted their definition of the American ideal, for better and for worse.
So, when we talk about who created the modern version of America – who’s responsibility it is for the overarching effects of the economy and society, it shouldn’t be without knowledge that the single largest driving force behind it as been the actions and inactions of the Republicans. And, most of that can be boiled down to some version of the culture wars and identity politics where Democrats, liberals, progressives and other left-leaning ideologies are demonized by the Right through Republican’s systemic targeting of the different voting blocks traditionally cultivated by the Democrat’s side of the political spectrum.
The difference between what the Goldwater-Nixon Southern Strategy did, what the Reagan-Falwell Moral Majority accomplished, what Newt Gingrich’s scorched-Earth leadership provided, what the Bush-Cheney propaganda machine created and what in terms of occassionally not so subtle racism, sexism, xenophobia, homophobia and anti-liberal rhetoric was toxic but hinged in many ways on a level dog whistling to attain an opacity in their approach. Simply put, the framing was always politically motivated under the more palatable ideas conservative ideas. Trump in all his brashness and inherent bigotry basically dropped the veil and let loose the tempest that the party had been successfully holding back.
While I can’t foresee the exact outcome the bigoted rhetoric spewed throughout the election cycle, helps me believe it will not change for the better and because of that premonition it feels necessary to reaffirm for myself, for my family and friends and most importantly for my Padawan’s future a few things.
We, as a family, support immigration.
Anyone who desires to partake in the “American Dream” should have the opportunity to do so. There should be a equal opportunity safe, secure and predictable path to legal immigration for all.
That’s because our family is one of immigrants. We are a combination of French-Canadians, Italians, Portuguese, Germans, English and and others who came to the United States at many different points in history for many different reasons. Due to older generations re-marriages, our own marriage producing in-laws, adoptions and more we currently constitute a wide ranging ethnic amalgamation that also includes Russian, Irish, Polish, Mexican and more. As an extended family we actively embrace the range of our ethnic and cultural heritages.
Furthermore, many of us work for international companies, studied in international communities and have spent time abroad. Our coworkers and classmates in many cases are also our friends and we actively embrace their ethnic and cultural diversity as well.
It is through this multiculturalism that this family thrives as it is the embracing of our roots and their commonality in coming together in the United States that this family continues to grow in our shared identity.
We, as a family, support religious freedom.
Anyone who wishes to participate in the “American Dream” should be able believe in nothing, or something as they so chose and to have that choice respected both in that it won’t be infringed upon nor that it be given special privilege to infringe on others.
That’s because our family is one of belief diversity. We have Unitarian Universalists, Atheists, Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Wiccans, non-practicing Christians, non-denominational self-identified Christian, Secularists, Evangelicals and many others.
We each came to our beliefs because of the opportunities this nation provides for us in exploring the multitude of spiritual teachings history and society has to offer. And, we are each able to express those beliefs and continue to explore the spiritual nature of our beings because of the opportunties that the First Amendment continues to provide to us by keeping a separation of Church and State. We support the underlying concept that each of us has the ability in the US to come to our own determinations about “god” and to have those determinations remain within the context of our own lives without attempting to force them on others through Governmental will.
We, as a family, support the diversity of the human spectrum.
Anyone who wishes to embrace the “American Dream” should be able to do so as who they are. No one should be defined by someone else’s narrow, outdated bianaries or force to identify as someone they are clearly not.
While science still has a long way to go in explaining the human spectrum of identity there’s enough evidence to unequivocally state the world does not now and has never existed neatly in binaries. Just because I identify as a heterosexual cis-male which happens to nominally fit into some conservative so-called traditional categories doesn’t mean those categories are either correct or comprehensive. And, as such, there are both family members and close friends who fall along a wide range of gender and sexual identities. We embrace them for who they see themselves to be and support them all equally. We stand up for their rights and are empathetic to the challenges they face socially, legally and otherwise. In such, it means support Women’s Rights, the rights of the LGBT community and similar such means to gender and sexual equality.
We, as a family, support education.
Anyone who wishes to experience the “American Dream” should have free and equal access to be education. I won’t go so far as to espousing everyone needs to be educated or defining for someone else what that education should entail, but the universal opportunity for education as a right is something we support.
We are, after all, a family that over the generations has embraced the opportunities education provided us. It’s not just that in our house we have a combined five advanced degrees and one of us is an educator by career. Or, that there are several other educators in the family (and of course in our circle of friends) and that among our family (and close friends) the idea of education as a lifelong endeavor is commonly embraced.
We, as a family, support conservation.
Anyone who wishes to wish for the “American Dream” should have a clean America to dream about.
Economic growth and individual liberty should never, ever come at the expense of the environment around us. While it’s important to embrace the underlying need for both economic growth and individual liberty we need to take a long view of American society and realize that non-renewable ‘resources,’ animal extinction, etc are just that – once gone are never combing back. And, for everything else reversing the negative impacts our actions have can take decades and multitudes of resources that could have been better spent on something more productive. It isn’t just wanting clean air, or clean water, or clean land in-and-of itself, it’s the physiological and pyschoemotional impacts clean versus dirty air, water and land have.