By Steve Stajich
Immediately following the 2016 presidential election, there was a lot of frustration and mewling about what had happened. And let’s be honest, there was a great deal of depression. The feeling that something that had previously not found its place in politics was now roaring back at things as they were was deeply examined. Who or what was this new collective voice that seemed to insist that even a person with no qualifications to administrate government could provide better leadership than what we’ve had? What was this door that had been opened and where would it take us?
One place that it took us was Charlottesville. For many, events there including an act of insanely driving a car into a crowd and claiming a life became a template of what the new change was all about. Charlottesville seemed to cement in place the notion that there were now two Americas and that something akin to a preamble for a 21st Century-civil war was underway.
But in the last few weeks, cracks have appeared in that cement.
It’s neither left nor right to be enraged upon hearing that one of your nieces might have been harassed or worse by a big fat Hollywood studio executive. That sort of action by a powerful man against a woman is just wrong. Driving a car into a crowd and killing a young woman is criminal, not political. Being insane and killing 56 innocents from your hotel window will never be an exertion of your Second Amendment rights. And insisting that the president of our nation must have the mental capability, judgement, intelligence and basic morality to make reasonable and sane decisions is not “left.”
This realization that wrong things – treason, incompetence, laundering Russian money – are just that and not political or in any way representative of any version of “the Right” is quickly eroding the unpleasant tasting glue that has held things shabbily together since the sparsely attended inaugural in January.
The image of the current President taking the oath of office was understandably psychedelic for many, and the ensuing depressive impacts have lasted for months. But observers are now noting the possibility that our current reaction to accounts of harassment and assault by men of power is really a delayed reaction to the now infamous “bus audio” in which the current President, then a candidate, bragged about assaulting women. And now we have the first of the Robert Mueller indictments, which have become a tonic for those who wondered if the current administration would prove a short-term glitch in the machinery of democracy or something worse involving muscular threats and nuclear weapons.
For what I hope proves to be a short time historically, I think many were so despondent about the outcome of the 2016 elections that they just couldn’t find their faith in the systems that are in place to correct a massive error in government. A lot of that resulted from the series of nominations made to cabinet positions; the putting in place of thieves and racketeers whose only background in government was eluding its laws. The monkey house kept adding tenants whose previous careers had mostly been as carpetbaggers.
Whether the current moment proves to be the rising-up after being pushed down on the playground may be anybody’s guess. Let’s not forget the months that were spent pursuing Bill Clinton over one specious charge after another only to then spend more months pushing for him to confirm that yes, he had, in fact, had extramarital sex. We’re probably lucky that North Korea didn’t choose that distracted time to test its luck with missiles.
So this could take a while. But it is the natural order of things that weakness and cupidity eventually falls down on itself. What we all want is to have that run its course as quickly as possible before anything truly horrible and irreversible happens. And it feels like the mojo on that could be changing right now.
Years ago, CBS television broadcasted a series of national tests. One of these, in 1966, was The National Drivers’ Test. You watched, you took the test, and then found out how good or bad a driver you were. I’m not sure if those were “hit” shows, but people did get involved. Of course, there’s no knowing exactly how many safe drivers are on the road if barely half of those eligible take the test. Almost half of eligible voters did not go to the voting booth in November of last year. And yet the dialogue over the results seems to now involve everybody at some level. Red, Blue, Right, Left and the “alts”… participation by voting is where we are truly divided right now. Democracy may be impacted by waves of mojo for one side or the other. But we should all know where the real machines for change are located.