I was chastised on social media last night for my post-election posts. I was called out more specifically for my “smug Bernie fantasy shit.” I get my buddy’s criticism. I’ve been in the tank for Sanders for a year now and been disgruntledly anti-Hillary since before the spring. And I get, too, that these post-election doldrums are hitting this person pretty hard. I relate. Nightmares about Trump’s face in my face for the next four years woke me throughout the night Tuesday night. It was a horrid six hours.
I’ve spent 45 years in a wheelchair. For 30 of those years somebody had to bathe and dress me before I could start my day. And that’s if they showed up. (It wasn’t a given.) You have two choices when you’re depending on someone else to wash your ass. You can slip into massive depression or you can fight back. I chose the latter. It came relatively easy. I’ve had loving parents that never let me get caught up in the morass in which we found ourselves. They kept my eyes on tomorrow. And that kind of bright-eyed Annie shit works. Yeah, I love ya, Tomorrow!
A Republican is going to win the White House every 4 or 8 years. It happens. Bank on it. So you gotta deal, even when said Republican is the creepiest of creeps, even when he’s Bill Clinton without the charm, Jack Kennedy without the discretion, even when he whispers a clarion call to the same people George Wallace did. But this creep’s policies, the ones he can actually pass, are yet to be flushed out. (No, he won’t be building a 1,900 mile wall. No, he won’t be sending 11,000,000 people back to their homes. He probably won’t even send back as many people as did Obama, who deported more people than any president in history.) The fact is, we don’t know what Trump will do. He was a registered Democrat until three years ago. He isn’t dogmatic like Cruz and the others of that religio-politico cult. And he wants success. His ego feeds on success. And that should temper the risks posed by his more outrageous campaign rhetoric. It might even lead him across the aisle. (Still, let’s be frank, most of what he’ll do will blow, and hard, and could be extraordinarily dangerous. Yet I maintain those seeds of optimism. I have to. Defeat is not an option.)
Now about those Bernie fantasies of mine. I’m old enough to have grown up with parents who lived through the Great Depression. From what they said it was bad. Worse than bad. Men who were dressed like they had once been bankers knocked on Granny’s door offering to work for food. My mother had one dress she shed for overalls each day when she got home from school. Daddy’s dad cried when my father asked for a 5 cent cone as the old man said through his tears that he couldn’t afford to buy his kid ice cream.
But FDR got this country out of the Depression. I state that to be clear: My fantasy isn’t a Bernie dream but an FDR dream. And that dream is of an America that takes care of its poor, pushes its middle class ever higher, and reduces the wealthy to regular citizens. It’s about a country that places as much value on mom and pop shops as Walmart, as much on employees as employers.
We are in a unique and good place, despite Tuesday night. The reason: Even a nimrod like Donald Trump could sail to victory on a message of populism. Populism won Tuesday night not Trump. Populism won despite Trump. That’s how deeply Americans want their country back. And that gives us a chance to return the Democratic Party to its FDR roots and to restart the middle class engine that was abandoned in the 1990s, when Bill Clinton and his free market Democrats shifted the Democratic Party from a populist party to a Wall Street-centric neoRepublican Party. This election proved that Democrats, real Democrats and not those who worship at the foot of the free market, are positioned to return American workers to their rightful place as the backbone of this country.
We’ve got our shot, liberals. And these chances come rarely. It’s time to shed the self-pity and get busy with our Smug Bernie Fantasy Shit. We have less than three years.