The ascension of a corporate-welfare bleeding, amoral, overrated host of a reality show to the Presidency of the United States was not the result of a populist movement alone, but was supported by a reaction to that populist movement. How else can we explain the contradiction that saw voters, terrified of oligarchic takeover of government, elect a billionaire, and subsequently his billionaire cronies, to lead the country?
Doesn’t make one iota of sense does it?
Not on a rational level, but it does on a grassroots level. There has been a movement in America that has been building under our fertile plains and amber waves of grain for decades. It is a truer popular movement, not of a political doctrine, but of simplicity. Born from the fear of the complicated encroachments of taxes and regulations, it yearns for simplification so that government can be understood, and ultimately controlled.
Donald Trump is, without question, the apex of the oligarchic shift that rooted during the Reagan years and grew in the modern world of market-access to exponentially increase wealth from investment, but that trend didn’t elect Donald Trump, it simply coronated him. The popular movement toward simplification elected Donald Trump, but not for any reason other than the fact that he represents a “do-over.” A complete Etch-a-Sketch shakedown that requires us to start over, from the beginning, with simple lines.
Sit down for this my liberal, progressive and Democratic friends- but I can live with that. At least I can for 4 years. Donald Trump will fall on the sword of his inconsistencies, lack of genuine ideology, his proclivity for the weaker side of decency, and, quite frankly, his lack of interest in the process and policies that have shaped America. This was a merger in his world; an acquisition; a business move that was both brilliant and resilient. He already has what he came for: He won. Game over.
Where actual governance is concerned, he’ll wait this out, putting in bankers hours, and hand over the reins to Mike Pence.
And THAT is what does concern me. Pence is part of another genuine, grassroots, populist movement; the extreme-right revolution (that will embrace any Republican, even Donald Trump) that wants to see America return to policies and principles that we have long since left behind. The establishment of theocratic governance that would narrow civil rights; a status-quo driven society that looks fondly back on the “good old days.” Those good old days when Jim Crow laws permeated pockets of America, when factories poured refuse into our rivers and skies, and when women knew their place.
Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan reached into the psyche of those Americans who, like Mike Pence, believe that the reversal of progress IS the road to progress; the same conundrum that allowed them to put money in power to control money in power.
It is here, at the grassroots level, where this lives, and breathes, and thrives. Here at the state level, in Iowa, there is a celebration of those contradictions. Republican legislators who claim the mantle of religious, moral principles, are just fine with the fact that their new president is anything but morally or ethically motivated. They are in control now, and that is all that matters. Winning is everything. And those contradictions will author their policy.
Walt Rogers (who, by election day, defeated me resoundingly), who has fought against appropriate education funding that would match rising costs, and supports school vouchers that will ultimately decrease public school viability even more, has been named Chairman of the House Education Committee. A laughable irony if it weren’t so….dangerously ironic.
This is where the battle for the character of America will be fought. Washington gets the press, but it will be in Des Moines, Madison, Springfield and Sacramento, where the people do their bidding. Evidenced just like the fallacy of Trickle-Down economics: ideas, like money, move UP the ladder, not down.
And so, my liberal, progressive and Democratic friends- this is where we must plant our feet and deliver our message. So that in 2 years, 4 years, 6 years and beyond, we are the movement that resonates. And we must listen to and embrace the message that is coming from good, hard working and patriotic Americans: Simplify.
Simplification does not mean compromise; we will still champion working families, the middle class, labor, education, the environment, living wages and safe conditions, and economic prosperity. We can choose, here and now, to learn the lesson that slapped us across the face: Politicians are elected by people, not policies.