As the sun rises on acquittal’s morning after, we have much to think about. If you’re still muddled and fuzzy, here are a few talking points you can use to help organize your feelings:
1) Acquitted, yes. No supermajority. However, just under 50% of our duly elected Senatorial body thinks our president is guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors. This is a severe problem, regardless of which side you’re on. And whether you like him or not, the responsibility for this fracture, and the obligation to heal it, lies with the president. When republicans elected to uniformly oppose virtually every single thing Obama did, that was not ethical. However, ultimately, the responsibility to heal that rift was Obama’s. By virtually all measurements, he failed. Today, we see similar examples of extreme partisanship on both sides. Uniformly putting party over morality is never acceptable. Our current president is under the obligation to heal. By virtually all measurements, he is failing.
2) App failures? Not a problem. The inability of a party to produce anything resembling a definitively compelling candidate? Problem.
3) Rush Limbaugh publicly excoriated addicts from his bully pulpit for years, and almost certainly contributed to the increased criminalization of addiction, with the result that lives were ruined as opposed to saved. He did this all while being an opiate addict himself. This is a brutal hypocrisy. That our current president chose to present him with the highest civilian honor in our country, immediately on the heels of pledging to address the opioid epidemic, was an act of searing and bitter irony.
4) Pelosi’s actions were embarrassing. Someone, somewhere, is going to have to take the high road.
5) The Republicans, in effect, dared the Democrats to beat them at the ballot box. This is what the Democrats should have been focused on all along. If you care, you better vote. Regardless of which side you’re on, you better vote. If for no other reason, than the fact that we need to REALLY understand where this country stands, and who we are as a people. When half the nation sits on its lazy and ill-informed backsides at home, we do not end up with an accurate referendum on what we actually stand for. We cannot change what we don’t understand.
6) Improvements in stock market performance are meaningless to the vast majority of us. Don’t cite those numbers to anyone, ever, whoever you are. Unless you’re talking about protecting hard-earned 401ks and pensions. That’s going to matter to some folks.
7) Boasting about leading the way in natural gas and oil production ignores a great deal of the debate around the future of energy. This is one of those many arenas where intelligence and knowledge must be allowed to prevail over profiteering.
8) “Since Trump took office, the country has added 6.7 million jobs in 36 months. (Trump) … suggests that this is unprecedented success that no one could have predicted, but it’s not: In the 36 months before Trump took office, 8.2 million jobs were created during the Obama administration.” — The NY Times
9) Socialism is kind of like the quiet, intelligent, artistic introvert on the playground. Capitalism is a bully. In the playground paradigm, it will always seem like the bully has won, and the bully will always claim victory. As long as the two actively co-exist, it is virtually impossible to make determinations as to the real character of each, because the experiment is flawed if left uncontrolled. In other words, stupid aggression always wins when it is allowed the full measure of its behavioral excesses.
10) This is not about republicans vs. democrats. This is not white vs. black vs. brown vs. red vs. yellow. This is not gay vs. straight. This is not male vs. female. This is not the coasts vs. the middle. This is not socialists vs. capitalists. This is money and privilege vs. everybody else. This is about inherited wealth vs. earned income. This is about:
“a formula that relates the rate of return on capital (r) to economic growth (g), where r includes profits, dividends, interest, rents and other income from capital and g is measured as growth of society’s income or output. He (Thomas Piketty) argues that when the rate of growth is low, then wealth tends to accumulate more quickly from r than from labor and tends to accumulate more among the top 10% and 1%, increasing inequality. Thus the fundamental force for divergence and greater wealth inequality can be summed up in the inequality r > g.” (from Capital in the Twenty-First Century
I am to the point where I believe that, if you have not yet read “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” then you have no business talking about socio-economic inequality, because if you haven’t read this book, then I’m not convinced you can possibly understand the full, data-informed historical picture.
11) Mitt Romney’s actions were courageous in many respects. He didn’t put party above all else. However, one must also ask, did he put himself, and his faith, above his constituents? For context on a senator’s obligation to represent the will of their constituents, you might find this article from senate.gov interesting:
A Federalist facing a hostile Jeffersonian-Republican legislature, Humphrey Marshall appealed directly to the people through a series of articles explaining his ratification vote. He asserted that as a senator he was less interested in winning popularity contests than in doing his duty to the nation — “according to my own judgment.”
Shortly afterwards, a mob dragged Marshall from his house. Only by seconds did this skilled orator talk the crowd out of throwing him into the Kentucky River. Stoned by angry citizens in the state capital, he kept a low profile for the remainder of his term.
And for context on Utah’s response to Romney’s decision, you are directed to this article from The Christian Science Monitor: What Utah voters say about Mitt Romney’s impeachment vote.
12) We need younger voters to act. Young voters, this is your time to be in the streets. This is your time to rebel, to agitate, to protest, to effect meaningful change. When you are in your thirties, you begin to have skin in the game — children, a car, a mortgage. You begin to feel the fear of risk. But you are still young, you must still engage. In your forties, you are now the managing class. You now must effect change from within. You are not required on the streets. You are required in the offices. In your fifties, you are now the establishment. You control the purse strings. You must make manifest your conscience with your wallet. When you are in your sixties and beyond, you must begin to accept that your relevance is decreasing by percentage points. Still, you have responsibilities. You are the mentors now. It is critical that you cause no harm. You must contribute wisdom peacefully and patiently. As to the young, it’s on you. You are the only demographic bracket free to really and truly rebel. Your failure to do so is the worst kind of failure, because you, of all demographics, have no excuse. In the 2016 election, only 46.1% of 18- to 29-year-olds voted. If you don’t like Trump’s administration, blame those who were 18–29 in 2016. They failed you. (note: I realize I am relying on generalization and hyperbole to try and make my point.)
I said above this is not about this side vs. that side. I still maintain that, despite the broad generational lines I’ve drawn above. This is not about young vs. old. This is about what each of us can do in our own ways, if we are among those who believe this is class war, being waged between inherited wealth & privilege, and the rest of us.
In conclusion, as you wake up today on acquittal’s morning after, I ask you the same question Florence Reece once asked, which side are you on?