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India Currents gave me a voice in days I was very lost. Having my articles selected for publishing was very validating – Shailaja Dixit, Executive Director, Narika, Fremont
Two years ago, when the prospect of another election loomed, I hoped that Hillary Clinton wouldn’t run. I thought she had no chance of winning. The Republicans hated her. Even Democrats disliked her. Many women could not relate to her. She had too much baggage.
Many of my feminist friends felt the same way. The stakes were too high; they did not want a female candidate at the risk of losing the election. Others thought of Hillary as entitled, even driven by blind ambition. There were those, on the other hand, who had drunk the Clinton Kool-Aid, who worshipped Hillary almost as much as the Donald’s followers deified him.
During the campaign, many observed that Hillary’s ambitions did not align with her talents. She did not put forth any new ideas or bright visions. Her message was that people should vote for her because Donald Trump was so much worse. And because she had experience. These are slogans on which you cannot win an election. In the end, many millennials just did not turn out to vote.
The media, particularly CNN, skewed the election. The FBI sabotaged the Democrats. The Supreme Court aided Trump by striking down parts of the Voting Rights Act. Sexism played a part.
Could another candidate without the “enthusiasm gap” have won? Perhaps. The election, after all, was close.
But the very prospect we feared is now upon us. Paul Ryan and his gang are busy writing legislation to privatize Social Security and Medicare, build toll highways with corporate funds, dismantle the Federal Reserve, roll back the Paris Climate Agreement, repeal Obamacare, abolish the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and appoint Supreme Court judges that regress the country to the era of the founding fathers. The Republicans control the Presidency, the Senate, the Congress, thirty-three Governorships, and a majority of State Houses. Democrats have been eradicated from the political map even as they find solace in the fact that Hillary won the popular vote.
And I am mad. Mad at the Clintons but much more so at the Democrats. They caved under the Clinton machine. They did not nurture young blood or fresh talent. They did not sense the temperature of the electorate, particularly in the rural depressed areas, which used to be their stronghold. They squandered the millions we gave to Clinton on TV ads, not on getting out the vote.
To add insult to injury, the day after the election, Obama and Clinton urged us to give Trump a chance. I am appalled but not surprised. They will return to their private lives of delivering highly paid speeches, acquiring million-dollar book contracts, and playing golf. But what of us? Will Trump take away my younger son’s health insurance? Will we face reduced social security and Medicare benefits? Will Congress control women’s wombs? Will my work on reducing California’s greenhouse gases by procuring fifty percent of electricity from renewables regress?
So it is time to rise up in revolution. It is time to resist the oppression. It is time to document every law and code Trump transgresses, every right the Republicans take away, every assault on civil society that the Congress makes. It is time to sue, to march, to protest, to document, to speak, to take the fight to the International Court. It is time to boycott, particularly CBS, whose Les Moonves boasted that Trump might be bad for the country but he was good for the network. Also we need to move away from CNN, where Anderson Cooper fawned over Trump. It is time to shed fear and stand against greed, fascism, and tyranny.
It is time to dismantle the Democratic Party and reconstruct if from scratch. It is time to throw out the old bosses. It is time to do some serious soul-searching so that in two years, the Democrats can get back the Congress and the Senate.
It can happen. But, it can happen only if we the people put pressure on the party machine to change. We liberals can no longer allow the talking heads to dominate our intellectual space. It is time to act.
In the wake of the election, Garrison Keillor advised spending four years raising heirloom tomatoes, meditating, reading Jane Austen, traveling around the country, and tasting artisan beers.
We need to do these things just to maintain our sanity. I, for one, am immersed in my writing and painting. I am studying literature, planting my garden, decorating my home, luxuriating in nature, and loving my family. At a time when so much ugliness has crept into our lives, I am devoting myself to beauty.
But we cannot pursue beauty instead of revolution. We need the beauty to replenish us as we fight.
Yesterday, I chanced upon a rendition of Woody Guthrie’s “This land is your land.” Tears began to stream down my cheeks. To those of us who abandoned our homes in search of the freedom of America, our sense of loss in the wake of this election is ever more poignant.
But as I listened to Guthrie, I knew that the healing had begun. And I was ready for battle.
Sarita Sarvate (www.saritasarvate.com) has published commentaries for New America Media, KQED FM, San Jose Mercury News, the Oakland Tribune, and many nationwide publications.