John Zaring | The Rational Center: It’s Now Or NeverJohn Zaring October 22, 2018 0 COMMENTS
A few days after Donald Trump took office, back when the Sean Spicer “largest audience ever” press rant still seemed oddly funny to many in America, I found myself in Westwood, killing time before a UCLA gymnastics meet.
I wandered into Ahs – the iconic Los Angeles souvenir store that carries silly costumes, naughty greeting cards and kitschy gifts – and in the center of the store was a huge display of anti-Trump merchandise, everything from shot glasses, playing cards and bumper stickers to hats, t-shirts and bobble-head dolls, all labeled with some sort of “Trump sucks” messaging.
It was somewhat shocking to see an American president being lampooned so openly and so soon after inauguration, but this guy was already breaking the mold on how a presidency should go, so why not elevate the ridicule too. The sales clerk volunteered that they couldn’t keep the products on the shelves and, to be honest, I have a clear memory of the gleeful joy I felt as I plunked down fifteen dollars for a t-shirt emblazoned with the message “Elect A Clown, Expect a Circus!”
I still weari it every once in a while and it’s always fun to catch the eyes of a clearly pissed off (usually old and white) dude at the mall.
Let’s be honest. Unless you are in Trump’s basket of deplorables, this has been a dumpster fire of epic proportion. Somehow, someway, every week seems to top the previous one for insanity, and that’s quite an “accomplishment.”
Trump arrived at the White House following the eight dignified years of Barack Obama and despite the expectation that he’d take things in a different direction, no one could have predicted the depths that Trump would sink, one mess at a time. Few imagined just how bad Trump would be at the job, or more importantly, believed that the Republicans in Congress would follow him so far down into the proverbial rabbit hole.
More Californians – in fact, Americans – favored Hillary Clinton for the job, by a whopping margin of nearly three million votes, but, well, thanks to less than 70,000 people spread across three crucial states, Trump became president regardless. Along with his enablers in Congress, they’ve wreaked havoc on our small “d” democracy, and it’s not hyperbole to say the republic has been imperiled in the process.
Folks, when Democrats vote, they get Barack Obama, and when they don’t, they get Trump. Here we all find ourselves, trapped in some sort of national purgatory, with every day an eleven on the nonsense scale. Some days it seems like there might not even be a way out of this box, leading some to tune out if not stop caring altogether, preferring to live in blissful apathy to preserve their own sanity.
That means it’s up to those of us who are paying attention to lead the blissfully apathetic (and our country) back to the water, back to some semblance of normalcy. On November 6, when every seat in the House of Representatives will be decided along with one-third of the Senate, America gets its first shot to flip the script and put Trump inside of the damn box.
Listen up Democrats, to get there voting isn’t going to be enough this time. Even if you don’t have time to canvass for your local candidates, there are other things, even little things, that you can do to help right this ship. For example, you can make certain everyone else in your orbit votes too, not only your family and friends, but those beyond your immediate orbit. Expand your personal impact by getting those you touch to reach out to their friends and family too. Then go knock on your neighbors’ doors, speak to your coworkers and openly advocate on social media.
These simple things can make an actual, huge difference.
For heaven’s sake, if you know people in states where the Senate will likely be won or lost – especially Florida, Texas, Indiana, West Virginia, Montana, Arizona and Nevada – get them all on the damn phone and make certain they understand what’s at stake, why they too need to step the hell up and help.
If talking to friends and family is just too intimidating or painful, go online and send some of your coffee money to the Democratic candidates where you live – like Katie Hill and Christy Smith here in Santa Clarita – or to those in tough races across the country where a little extra cash might help put them over the top.
Do it now! The election is in just two weeks!
We all love Rep. Beto O’Rourke and want to see that blowhard Ted Cruz fall hard on his face, but let’s be honest. Beto’s raking in the cash. Instead, reward Sen. Heidi Heitkamp for her courageous vote against the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh so she can hopefully eke out a win in North Dakota or help Sen. Bill Nelson get out the vote in Florida or even support Sen. Joe Donnelly so he can hold the fort in ruby red Indiana. That’s where your money is needed now the most.
In other words, if you can afford to donate, then donate!
If you want to see Democrats in Congress who actually give a damn about health care, want to spread commonsense gun control across all fifty states, believe in the science of climate change and want a fair economy that works for all Americans, not just those in the top one percent, then get off your butt and do something — anything.
Don’t leave it up to others this time because you doing nothing might be the difference in two more years of madness. I’m no Tom Steyer alarmist, but I definitely can’t stomach the idea of an unchecked and emboldened Donald Trump.
John Zaring has lived with his family in the Santa Clarita Valley since 2000. He describes his politics as center-left, as in “the rational center,” and while initially a college Republican, has been a Democrat since 1992. The LA County Democratic Party named him the 37th Assembly District Democrat of the Year in 2010.