These are the times that try Democrats’ souls–and those of anyone concerned about the progress we’ve made on a wide range of issues from health care to job creation and everything in between.
Today’s inauguration capped off what we’ve been bracing for since that dreary Wednesday in November. In Kentucky, the blow came more swiftly with the Republican takeover in Frankfort the first week of January.
While despondence is expected and understandable, it is by no means a sustainable state in the face of these political headwinds.
Since our rally to save the ACA in Lexington this past weekend, many people have asked me about parallels between resistance to Trump and the new Republican majority and the Tea Party which formed in opposition to President Obama and Democrats in 2009.
The transfer of presidential power does not change who ultimately holds power in the our democracy–the citizens who show up, who engage on the issues, and who speak out for the values in which be believe. But the Tea Party was focused on obstruction, on throwing sand into the gears of government, and grinding it to a halt.
In profound contrast, those of us who are resisting the efforts of the Trump Administration are committed to making the system work for all Americans–yes, even those who felt frustrated and fed up with the status quo and were ripe for Trump’s anti-establishment appeals. It’s a resistance to unraveling the system and the work that created 16 million jobs, expanded health insurance to 20 million Americans, made advances toward combating climate change, put in place protections for consumers while reigning in Wall Street, and so on.
Trump and his allies in Washington and Frankfort believe government should get out of the way–not of average citizens–but of the corporate interests that are their political lifeblood. Which is why it should come as no surprise that Trump’s first executive actions as President include cancelling mortgage premium cuts to help low-income home buyers, imposing a freeze on regulations, and making repealing the ACA his top priority.
Obviously these “first day” actions contrast dramatically with the populist image they and their team try to present. Just as Frankfort Republican’s repeal of prevailing wage laws ran counter to vows of focusing on “jobs and the economy” this legislative session.
These are indeed challenging times. And the challenge for us to better explain the direct impact these actions have on real people in real communities across our country–most especially (ironically) in the reddest of counties and towns. And for that reason they require our commitment and determination now more than ever. The path forward requires our determination not only to resist the actions of these executive and congressional majorities, but also to advance a desire to make the system work for everyone.