Not to be a broken record, but here I go again.
The news today is full of the fact that the FBI has been investigating the blindingly (I use that word deliberately) obvious fact that Trump the Impotent is a Russian agent.
Well, duh, we all knew that before the election.
Hillary gave a speech about his allegiance to Russia, but her speech was ignored because we were too busy discussing Bernie’s (Sanders also got assistance from Russia; now he says that Clinton should have warned him) assertion that Hillary was “unqualified” to be president because she got paid for giving speeches, the way men do all the time. We were too busy worrying whether her use of a private email server made her “untrustworthy” or whether she was simply “unlikeable.” We couldn’t take seriously the notion that Russia had put its preferred candidate on the ballot and was successfully attacking many States’ voting systems because we needed a real debate over whether trying to work through pneumonia showed that Hillary was somehow “not transparent enough.” (Trump never released a real physical, but, hey, it’s the woman who’s obviously lying about her health. Because Patriarchy.)
Maybe today’s news feels like a revelation or maybe it feels like validation. And, sure, like almost every patriot anywhere, I want to believe that THIS, THIS, finally THIS will be the tipping point. Surely NOW the Republicans in the Senate will wake up and do their duty to the Constitution. (Hint: Not if Putin owns them, too. And we all know that he does, right?) Trump and Pence will be forced to resign in disgrace, President Pelosi will appoint Hillary Clinton her VP and will then step down in her favor and President Clinton will make it all OK, right?
I hope so, but I don’t think so.
Nor, because I reject the “savior” notion of history in which one brave and heroic man is going to save us all, do I think that Robert Muller — a lifelong Republican (whose wife is in a bible study group) who has sat as long as possible on the evidence concerning Trump, as horrific and as worthy of an early warning as that evidence appears to be — is going to swoop in and present evidence that turns everything around.
More than glad to be proved wrong, but, cynical old bitch that I am, I doubt it.
No, what I suspect is that we’re going to have to muddle through a number of years of this madness. Even throwing Trump out of the White House, by itself, won’t immediately fix things.
What I do believe is that democracy is hard work. My friend, Occult Librarian, often says that Apollo and Athena don’t want democracy because it’s the best or most efficient form of government. They want it because it’s the form of government that most encourages humanity to grow up, to (my words, not hers) endure the gom jabbur, to do the work involved in seeing ourselves back home. And I believe that what’s going to save us is the sometimes boring, usually time-consuming, generally mundane work of democracy. You know, showing up for EVERY election, including the elections for board of ed, sheriff, secretary of state, town council, zoning board, water use committee.
After 2016, I took the training and got certified to do voter registration here in my rather blue county in a rather purple state. I started showing up — in some pretty miserable August heat — at metro stations to register voters. When it turned out that no one had focused on the metro stop closest to me, I made it my mission to register those voters.
Here’s what that took.
It took a wonderful and inspiring local woman who’s dedicated to Dem politics who kept her garage open at all times, stocked w/ folding tables and chairs, standing signs about voter registration, buttons, forms, information packets, etc. It took an old guy with a truck who would show up at her garage, pile the necessary stuff into his truck, park his truck at the metro during the time period when parking is most difficult, haul the stuff over to the entrance, set it up for those of us trained to do voter registration, and then haul it all back to the garage when rush hour was over. Until two or three days later, when we did it all again. It took someone willing to take the new forms home, list them alphabetically, and drive down and park at the registrar’s office to turn the forms in within a tight deadline.
But here’s the thing.
I recently got an email from the woman who was in charge of the overall Dem effort to register voters. When all was said and done, we registered 12,845 voters. (I believe that this is separate from the League of Women Voters who also do voter registration.) That number includes new voters and voters who recently moved here from other states and needed to register at their current address That’s a lot of voters! At the local level, we really only had one interesting race, a young Dem running for county board against an incumbent Republican who liked to call himself an Independent. Originally, almost no one, not even Dem activists, thought that the young guy had a chance. He won by about 7,000 votes.
No one knows how many of those voters were the voters that we registered. But I like to go to sleep at night assuring myself that our work — on those blisteringly hot Summer days, on those cool Autumn evenings when we gauged when rush hour had really ended, on those mornings when I hauled myself out of the house to go turn in forms at the county seat — our work was what turned the tide.
My state, Virginia, has elections every year. The theory is that small, local elections can get more attention when they happen in a year that doesn’t involve presidential elections. Regardless, we are going to elect, this year, state leg positions, member of our county board, members of the board of ed, our commonwealth attorney, etc. And I’m gearing back up to get involved in these elections. Sure, I’ll vote in the presidential election, put signs in my yard, likely donate, and phone bank, and etc., etc., etc.
But my impact is almost guaranteed to be more potent in my local elections.
And so is yours.
Don’t wait for Muller or anyone else to save you. Sisters are doing it for themselves.