The Sound of Silence

On November 8, 2017, let’s have a moment of silence.

We need a moment to reflect on the chaos and disorder of the past year. A moment to look back on how much we could have gained…and how much we have already lost and may still yet lose.

We need a moment to reflect upon the good Hillary Clinton could have done as President. She would have stayed off Twitter and stayed on the course of addressing some of this country’s most intractable problems. She would have nominated a Supreme Court Justice far more rational and reasonable than the likes of Neil Gorsuch. She would have chosen an Attorney General focused on the real injustices of the 21st century, as opposed to one nostalgic for the 18th century. She would have chosen an EPA Administrator who would bring us closer to the day when, as Barack Obama famously put it, “the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal,” as opposed to one who’s simply low and a heel.

We need a moment to reflect upon the malpractice of the mainstream media during and after the 2016 presidential election. Trump has pivoted, infinitely, from bad to worse. The Fourth Estate is too goddamned timid to report that fact. Every journalist worth his or her salt should have affirmed the accuracy of the words ESPN’s Jemele Hill wrote over a week ago. It will be a moral tragedy if Hill becomes the Colin Kaepernick of American journalism, ostracized and scorned for speaking inconvenient truths.

We need a moment to reflect upon the perfidy of the Republican Party, this mass of malevolence that welcomed Trump with warm and open arms. If there is any justice in this world, Trump will cause his party to shrivel up and fade into the dustbin of history, to become the punchline of every nasty joke, to die a horrid political death. Of course, in all likelihood, the party will continue to prosper well into the 2020s, for the reason Janeane Garofalo outlined eight years ago:

Here‘s what the right-wing has [in its favor]—there are no shortages of the natural resources of ignorance, apathy, hate [and] fear. As long as those things are in the collective conscious and unconscious, the Republicans will have some votes…

We need a moment to reflect upon the grave mistake made by the portion of the electorate that voted for Obama in 2008 and 2012, only to vote for Trump in 2016. What the hell were they thinking? What actual grievance did they have against the Democratic Party? What right-wing lie did they fall for–the one about the Democrats being too obsessed with “political correctness” and “identity politics,” or the one about Clinton being a “Wall Street elitist”?

We need a moment to reflect upon the warped values of Republicans of color who know damn well that Trump hates them and their families, but who continue to pledge allegiance to Trump’s party. Why do they stay? Are they that obsessed with overturning Roe v. Wade? Are they that contemptuous of the old-line civil rights establishment? Are they that fixated on getting a tax cut? If these Republicans of color are Christians, are they familiar with Mark 8:36 (“What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his soul”)?

And we need a moment to reflect upon the perversity of the 45th President himself–the man who has spent his entire adult life attacking those not like himself, who has spent his entire administration trying to blow up Barack Obama’s legacy and accomplishments, who has appointed some of the sickest minds in this country as members of his Cabinet, who has already replaced Richard Nixon as the most corrupt president of the modern era.

It didn’t have to be this way. Our children and grandchildren will wonder why it was this way. As Ta-Nehisi Coates observed last week on MSNBC, a century from now people will say that on November 8, 2016, America lost its collective sanity.

On the first anniversary of that grim day, take a moment to reflect, to mourn, to grieve. And once that moment ends, get back to resisting.

D.R. Tucker

D. R. Tucker is a Massachusetts-based journalist who has served as the weekend contributor for the Washington Monthly since May 2014. He has also written for the Huffington Post, the Washington Spectator, the Metrowest Daily News, investigative journalist Brad Friedman's Brad Blog and environmental journalist Peter Sinclair's Climate Crocks.