Several times on this blog I have quoted a partner in the law firm for which I first worked for his favorite statement: “ultimately, there is only one question, and that is what should we do?”
There’s a lot of wisdom in that formulation. Analysis is critically important, of course–but only if it allows us to determine the appropriate course of action, and then only if we actually pursue that action.
I thought again about that ultimate question when I read a Washington Post article arguing that Trump’s authoritarianism has begun remaking America. White House reporters have described the president as “simmering with rage, fixated on exacting revenge against those he feels betrayed him and insulated by a compliant Republican Party.”
He is willing to test the rule of law even further and is comfortable doing so, they reported, “to the point of feeling untouchable.”
“If a president can meddle in a criminal case to help a friend, then there’s nothing that keeps him from meddling to harm someone he thinks is his enemy,” Joyce White Vance, a former U.S. attorney, told my colleagues. “That means that a president is fully above the law in the most dangerous kind of way. This is how democracies die.”
Those Americans who have watched this administration with growing alarm and horror–among whom I count myself–increasingly are asking for concrete proposals, specific actions we can/should take, beyond the obvious ones of registering people and helping to get out the vote.
It’s not my intention to point a finger, but I get very frustrated by (frequently holier-than-thou/smarter-than-thou) commenters, both here and elsewhere, who are all critique and no prescription–or who are constantly arguing that we should insist upon the perfect and never settle for the merely good.
Is our current situation precarious, thanks to spineless and/or corrupt “party above country” Republicans? Well, they tell us, Democrats are only marginally better, so there’s no point in voting “blue no matter who.”
Are elections insufficient to fix what ails us? They insist they are–but fail to follow up that declaration by suggesting any concrete alternative.
A couple of years ago, a retired friend of mine shared a rule imposed by the firm for which he’d worked. Employees were encouraged to bring any and all complaints to firm meetings, subject to one simple rule: they had to accompany their criticism with suggestions for remedial action. In other words, the rule was “yes, you can bitch about that, but only if you have a suggestion for how we should fix it–how we should do whatever it is instead.”
A few days ago, I attended a meeting of a volunteer committee on which I serve. The members are all older–more “mature”–women. The anger and frustration in that room was palpable–and it was all based upon recognition of what Donald Trump and his collection of gangsters and buffoons have done and are continuing to do to the country. Most of these women were not previously politically active, and several of them had been Republicans. The question that came up repeatedly was: what can we/should we do between now and November?
What will it take to get Americans out into the streets? What can we do to send the cult that was once the GOP the message that we are mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore?
Save the lofty criticisms for a time when we can afford them, and suggest concrete, do-able actions!
And for heaven’s sake–and the sake of what’s left of our country– vote blue no matter who.