A Bit 'o Random Musings on Politics, Religion, and Anything Else That Passes Through My Crazy Head

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Hope and Politics

Sigh. I really don't want to begin every blog post for the next three and a half years bemoaning the current state of politics, but right now it seems like that is a real possibility. My consolation (if you can call it that) is that right now President Trump's ineptitude is trumping his malevolence (see what I did there?). He hasn't really been able to accomplish a whole lot, but that doesn't mean that he won't accomplish some bad things in the next few years. He certainly wants to limit immigration, give tax cuts to the rich, and capitulate to Russia, but...maybe he won't be able to figure out how.

That's not to say there aren't bad things happening: re-igniting the war on drugs (which hasn't worked), rolling back environmental protections that ensure our air & water are clean, continuing efforts to roll back health care progress, etc. All of that is taking place in an environment of toxic partisanship that seems to suck the oxygen out of any healthy debate based on facts.

So it seems strange to be composing a blog post about Hope in light of the fact that our politics are pretty terrible right now. But I see signs that our system is fighting back against the worst excesses of Trumpism.* Murkowski, Collins, and McCain were able to stop a truly heinous health care bill, hopefully giving us an opportunity to reflect, consider, and fix the very real problems with Obamacare. Congress passed (and the President reluctantly signed) sanctions on Russia that send a signal we won't roll over when our democracy is attacked. The courts are a mixed bag, but they did strike down the first Muslim ban, and I'm hopeful the Supreme Court will ultimately strike down the second, more limited ban. Even the Defense Department has pushed back against the President's ban on transgender service members. Robert Mueller seems to be conducting a thorough investigation of potential collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Journalists are working hard to ferret out truth, despite an administration determined to fame flames of falsehood.

It's probably just some default setting of my personality, but I feel like there are reasons for hope. Even if it's just hope that Trump's ignorance and ineptitude will continue to triumph over bad intentions, it's still hope. There are still good people in both parties, and currently only about a third of Americans approve of Trump's job performance, giving me hope that people are starting to see through the sham of Donald Trump. A weak and ineffective President can still do damage, but I'm hoping that the continued and sustained pressure of Americans will constrain the damage as much as possible.

The history of America is filled with terrible things happening, but I'm hopeful that it's an arc that bends towards justice and goodness, as long as WE bend it that way. HOPEfully, progress is still possible. I recently saw the Groundhog Day musical, and I liked one of the choruses, which is about how the sun will eventually come up, and spring will arrive:

* I refuse to conflate Trumpism with the Republican party. I may disagree with conservatives, but some principled conservatives spoke out and are speaking out about Trumpism. See Mitt Romney, Jeff Flake, Bill Kristol, and so many others. I strongly disagree with conservatives on many points, but it's sad that the Republican party has been taken over by spineless hacks of Trumpism. I hope their reign may be brief, and the right regains its sanity.

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