My biggest takeaway from the midterm election.

yourvotematters

I’m condensing and editing this from a Twitter thread I wrote the day after the midterm elections.  

Now that the midterms are finally over (although they aren’t really:  there are still votes coming in in some places, and there may even be recounts in states like Florida and Georgia),  my biggest takeaway is this: we can never, ever take democracy for granted.  We can’t assume it’s a gift that once given, just stays.

Because that is not the way democracy works.   It must be constantly maintained, not by politicians, not by pundits on TV, not by activists.  It must be maintained by regular people like you and me.  Unfortunately, for many years, we took democracy for granted and thought we could stay uninvolved in politics and let others do the hard work.  But once a large percentage of the population ceases to care to the point that they don’t even vote,  democracy is in trouble.   The very term democracy indicates that its existence depends on The People.   It depends on us.

Republicans were able to seize so much power because we let them.  Although other factors played a part in Trump winning, in 2016, we didn’t turn out in sufficient numbers at the polls to overcome everything that was stacked against us.   But those things were never insurmountable.   There are just too many of us.   Yes, Hillary won the popular vote (and I’m one of those people who think the electoral college should be abolished), Russians may well have influenced the results, gerrymandering and voter suppression  in some states is out of control, etc.  But, in spite of all the obstacles the GOP tried to set against us, the results in 2016 were still close.   Had we all voted (and not voted for third party candidates like Jill Stein), Trump would have lost and instead of becoming POTUS, today he’d be just another washed up and forgotten reality TV star who once ran for president.

But he is president, and now that we are stuck with him (for now), we are all learning an extremely sobering lesson in just how fragile democracy is, and just how easily one despotic man with too much power can start to dismantle all our checks and balances, and destroy democracy itself.   Many Americans, including myself, used to think about Nazi Germany and wonder how it could have happened.    We are now seeing in real time how it happened:  specifically, how seemingly normal people could come to support a murderous fascist tyrant.

We woke up, perhaps at one minute before midnight, but still not too late to flip Congress back to Democratic rule, which will mean there will be some vital checks put back on this presidency.  As a result, Trump, though he will still rage and threaten and bully the free press, our institutions, and everyone he doesn’t like, won’t be able to push through his tyrannical and cruel policies the way he has been able to over the past two years.  We will be able to relax just a little.  But we can never again become complacent.

Were it not for the efforts of the Resistance, and even more importantly,  regular folks of all races, creeds, religions, income levels, and lifestyles, turning out in record numbers to vote (many voting for the first time because they realized democracy itself was on the line) and had this election drawn a tepid turnout like other recent elections, we would have lost the House.   Instead of feeling hopeful and relieved, we’d be staring down into a black abyss of unfettered tyranny right now.

Had we lost, we would now be freefalling into fascism and Trump would have unchecked power, free to do anything he wanted to do. We would have lost our democracy and would soon become a dictatorship.

Things are far from perfect. We still have a heavily Republican Senate and a Judiciary that is moving further to the right and will most likely continue to do so as long as Trump retains the presidency.  But the good news is, Trump can no longer just do anything he wants, and he can’t break the law, because the new Congress will hold him accountable if he does.  The Russia investigation will continue, and the new Congress will make sure Trump doesn’t get to run away from or obstruct justice, unlike our current GOP Congress, which enables his crimes and lack of ethics.  He can also be forced to show his tax returns.  So even though Republicans are still top heavy in the Trump White House, we are in much better shape than we were before the election. Trump can scream and toss insults and threatens all he wants, but at the end of the day, he simply  won’t be able to get much done.

A Democratic Congress can also start impeachment proceedings. Before last night, Democrats had no power to do anything. The only power we had was our vote. And we exercised it in record numbers. Had it not been for us using that hard won right, and sitting at home, democracy would have died.

We’re not out of the woods yet though.   This isn’t over.  We still have a lot more work left to to do. Trump has done incredible damage which may take generations to repair.  Republicans (which has become a fascist party since Trump) still have too much power. But we, the People, took back some of that power with our votes, and that is a good beginning.

I hope we all learned a lesson that democracy takes WORK.  We have the right to vote, and we need to use it — or possibly lose it!   Losing our right to vote can happen much more easily than you think.  There are people in high levels in government that would love nothing more than to take away our right to vote.   We can never assume others will do the work of democracy for us. The responsibility falls on us.  A government run by the People requires the input of the People.   There’s no way around it.   Voting in record numbers is essential.

If we continue to vote in the kinds of numbers we had on Election Night, we can eventually overturn this entire sorry regime  and finally have the kind of inclusive, compassionate, prosperous, caring, honest, and fair government WE, not the oligarchs and religious extremists, want: one that works for the People, not just the ultra rich and corporations.

If you voted, you should feel proud that you helped to save democracy. I think last night proved that no amount of voter suppression or GOP cheating is enough to overcome huge numbers of people voting.

We still have a long road ahead of us and a country to save.  Let’s get going!

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10 thoughts on “My biggest takeaway from the midterm election.

  1. Since the NC voter ID amendment passed, it is a safe bet that Real ID will be required for voting in 2020. It will probably be the ONLY acceptable photo id, if I know what the Republicans in our State Legislature are up to. They will pass the enabling legislation (with their veto proof majority while they still have it) before the newly elected reps take their seats in January. This is a link to the requirements for Real ID in NC [https://www.ncdot.gov/dmv/license-id/nc-real-id/Pages/requirements.aspx]. Many people will need help getting together the needed documents and making the appointments.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I recently read an article that compared Trump to Nero and said he’ll probably be remembered centuries from now. 😛 Yet it appears that the real man behind the curtain is McConnell.

    Last night I saw The Post. It seemed so familiar somehow….Then I noted there is Supreme Court precedent now, allowing the press to publish things like the Pentagon Papers. So even with a stacked court, our press can potentially survive all these attacks.

    We exercised our most powerful right, that to vote, and now look at the narcissistic rage it threw Trump into.

    Liked by 2 people

    • McConnell is the brains behind this evil machine, for sure (as well as others, such as Putin). But Trump will get all the credit (of course he’s evil too but he’s stupid evil so by himself he’d be pretty ineffective). Trump is a puppet for a number of string pullers.

      Yes, Trump narcissistic rage is not a pretty sight. But we won! He knows his power is curtailed and he’s going down soon and he hates it.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Almost everyone I voted for in the midterms here in NM won, yaay.

    I was at a Bible study at my church recently, and this woman started blathering about how everyone who doesn’t like Trump is demonic, because God put Trump in the Whitehouse. God puts the people in power that He wants in power, she said. It made me sick just listening to her. She reminded me of the elderly German neighbor that I knew years ago, she had immigrated to the U.S. after World War 2. She told me one day that Hitler had been a wonderful leader, he had turned Germany’s economy completely around, and the people who were against Hitler were the real evil people. I was so shocked, I couldn’t even speak. But I never went to Helga’s house again.I

    So, I suppose that God put Hitler in power, too?

    I was thinking of switching churches, but I really like the pastor’s messages, and he never gets into politics. But it disturbed me how many heads were nodding at the Bible study, when this woman was singing Trump’s praises.

    Liked by 1 person

    • If most of the people (or a good portion) of the people at that church hold the same attitude that woman did, I would definitely change churches. Unfortunately Trumpism is a disease infecting many of the evangelical churches (and corrupting true Christianity into something quite its opposite). Lots of people are waking up to the hypocrisy though, and that’s a good thing. It sounds like if your pastor is cool, it’s fine to go there, but if the people make you uncomfortable, you might want to consider attending a different church and maybe talking to your pastor about your feelings.

      Whenever anyone tells me God put Trump in the presidency, I remind them that God must have put Hitler in power, and Stalin in power too. God also must have put Obama in the presidency as well. Now I tell them God must have wanted Democrats to win back the House! Personally, I don’t think God involves himself in worldly political affairs, since his Kingdom is not of this world, and that’s in the Bible too, but suddenly it’s like they’re reading out of a different Bible or something.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I absolutely love what you said in the last paragraph of your comment, Lucky: “Whenever anyone tells me God put Trump in the presidency, I remind them that God must have put Hitler in power, and Stalin in power too. God also must have put Obama in the presidency as well. Now I tell them God must have wanted Democrats to win back the House! Personally, I don’t think God involves himself in worldly political affairs, since his Kingdom is not of this world, and that’s in the Bible too, but suddenly it’s like they’re reading out of a different Bible or something.” ~ Yes! I agree 100%!

        I don’t plan on changing churches, though, because the pastor is awesome. I like his ministry style the best of any that I have ever known. And that’s saying a lot, considering I have been going to a church of one kind or another since 1957. Even during my agnostic/atheist years, I went to Unitarian Universalist churches, where almost any belief was welcome, including nonbelievers.

        Today, my beliefs are an odd mix of liberal conservative and some fundamentalism. I believe in Yahweh, Creator God. I believe in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son. But I do not believe that the Bible is the inerrant word of God. Many different people wrote all those books and letters that make up the Bible, in my opinion, not God. Why do I believe this? Because I have read the (Protestant) Bible from cover to cover five times, and there are some very crazy things written in there. Things they never talk about in your typical church service.

        My belief about the Bible alone puts me at odds with most churches, including the one that I currently attend. But that doesn’t bother me, I just keep my mouth shut about the Bible, too. I love the praise and worship part of the service. I love the minister’s preaching. I love the prayers. I also love the fellowship, with rare exception. So that’s where I go, most Sunday mornings. It’s the highlight of my week!

        Liked by 1 person

        • You can definitely still be a religious Christian and even conservative about some issues, but still not believe the Bible is the inerrant word of God. It clearly isn’t. It’s a guide, and there’s a lot of great stuff in there, but it also reflects the times it was written in, and I don’t believe it’s all meant to be taken literally.

          I think the Gospels are the most important part of the Bible for Christians to follow, unfortunately too many fake “Christians” these days completely ignore the Gospels and focus instead on the Old Testament, particularly Leviticus, which has all the old Jewish laws. Well, why not just call themselves Archaic Jews instead of Christians then? Because that’s the religion they’re following: ancient Judaism as it was practiced in biblical times. Not Christianity. Sometimes they quote from the books of Paul (so they get some Jesus cred for that, but Paul was a bit of a jerk and they can relate to his harsh views about women’s roles, etc.), but never from the words of Jesus himself.

          Liked by 1 person

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