Friday, December 16, 2016

Practice What They Preached

Via TPM, a group of former Democratic staffers on Capitol Hill suggest that the way to resist Trump and his minions is to give them back what they gave President Obama.

In an online guide made public Wednesday night, a number of those onetime Hill staffers say that the best way for individuals to derail the policy agenda of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) is to organize locally and badger their own congressional representatives to vote against individual pieces of legislation.

The guide argues that, like the “Tea Party patriots” who found common cause in their unified loathing of President Barack Obama, progressives who oppose Trump should stand against him before all else rather than try to articulate a policy agenda that has no hope of advancing while the GOP controls all three branches of government.

“We believe that the next four years depend on citizens across the country standing indivisible against the Trump agenda,” the authors write in the guide, which is formatted as a live Google document. “We believe that buying into false promises or accepting partial concessions will only further empower Trump to victimize our fellow citizens. We hope that this guide will provide those who share that belief useful tools to make Congress listen.”

The only problem with that is that the Tea Party groups were able to exploit the fear, loathing, and racism that was easily stirred up because Barack Obama was very easy to “other”: he’s African-American, he has a funny name, and the folks who manipulated the GOP base knew they were dealing with pigeons who were, to be polite, under-educated.  Trump exploited them and their fears even more.

How you fight back against such knee-jerk reactionaries without getting down to their level of meanness and falsehood will not be easy; Democrats have this annoying habit of bringing a casserole to a gunfight thinking it’s a potluck dinner.  But it doesn’t mean they shouldn’t try.