The MAGA era

We shouldn’t celebrate too soon because Trumpism is still alive and well.


We were warned. More than two centuries ago, the first man to hold the office of president of the United States told us in his farewell address that political partisanism posed massive danger to our country. No one listened. In the 50s, about forty percent of congressional votes fell along party lines. In the 2010’s it’s almost eighty percent. The Republican-controlled Senate during Obama’s second term did everything it could to block President Obama from doing, well, anything. The Democrat-controlled house has done the same to President Trump, albeit with less success. The very foundation of a representative government and its biggest advantage over direct democracy is that it is supposed to prevent a majority faction from ignoring what everyone else wants, but this is not happening. Democrats and Republicans didn’t use to believe that the other party winning the White House would lead to the end of days. To me it appears that this unwillingness to compromise is the single greatest obstacle to true progress in our nation. The sitting president of the US expressed the sentiment that he was fine with people dying of coronavirus in the states that did not cast their electoral votes for him. Of all the horrifying things Agent Orange has said in the last few years, that one is, in my opinion, the most damning. He’s the president of the US, not just the Red States, and it’s his job to care about all Americans, not just the ones who voted for him.
It isn’t just within the government itself that you see this dangerous ‘us vs. them’ mentality taking hold. I’ll use my own views as an example here: I agree with the Republicans that it’s best to have a smaller national government, which leaves people alone and keeps its taxation and other economic action to the minimum reasonable level. I also agree with the Democrats that the criminal justice system needs comprehensive reform, that police officers need to face consequences when they kill people unnecessarily, that racism and homophobia are bad, and that, if it can be avoided (which it easily can), people should not die due to an inability to pay for healthcare. For these views, Democrats would call me a racist and Republicans would call me a communist. That is, for lack of a better description, incredibly stupid, especially considering I agree with Democrats about racism and with Republicans about communism.
If you’re a hardcore liberal, you might be rushing to say that I’m blinded by my privilege, because as a white guy living in LM Township, compromising with Republicans doesn’t mean compromising on my basic rights. Half of that is true, but half of it is not. I won’t try to deny having that privilege, but I’m not blinded by it (at least in this case); this is a matter of strategy. It’s not realistic to think you’re going to get everything you want all at once, even though a lot of what you want is human decency. You’ll help more people, and sooner, if you settle for part of what you want today, and let the Republicans get what they want somewhere else, than you will if you wait to do anything major until you can do it without giving up ground. If you’re a hard-line conservative (I mean a real conservative, not a MAGA hat owner), you might be thinking that the same people pushing police reform and LGBTQ+ rights are also pushing socialistic policies, and socialism is basically communism, and communism is bad, so they must want to destroy your way of life and therefore cannot be trusted. To that I say “grow up.” Capitalism, where people of all races, genders, orientations, and national origins have the same rights, is still capitalism, and giving up ground to progressives on social issues isn’t a threat to it.
This isn’t one of those performative pleas for unity you see propagating across social media from people who’d likely be burning the country down if Trump had won a second term. While it would be really nice if we could realize that we all live in the same America and people with differing political views are not the monolithic evil most of us (on both sides) act like they are, it’s pretty obvious that that’s not going to happen any time soon. Fortunately, you do not have to like the guy sitting across from you in order to make deals with him.

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