These posts reflect my original interest in American politics, history and political theory broadly cast. I’m interested in exploring the nexus between American Political Development (APD) and American Political Thought (APT) as well as American Studies and Africana Studies or all regional “studies,” including working with Gajo Petrovic a leader in Praxis published in the former Yugoslavia.
This was the reason I stayed in politics for my Ph.D. rather than leaving for law school, history, sociology or business school as faculty kept trying to convince me to do in undergraduate and graduate school after spending a gap year reading Heidegger’s Being and Time with University of Zagreb philosophy professor Gajo Petrovic, who spent time at IAS and working with the author of the former Yugoslavian Constitution, the one that stuck — written in the 1970s. The latter scholar attended the Sorbonne in the 1930s and ended his career as the Dean of the best law school in Belgrade. In the 1980s the Fulbright funded his scholarship on Jefferson at Claremont Graduate School. I worked with him for my B.A. thesis on Marx, existentialism, phenomenology and Yugoslavian self-management supervised by Claremont Men’s College’s public law professor Winston Fisk.
What’s next? Be gone with the legacies. Be gone with the big anti-Trump marches. Let Hillary go. And let’s get down to business.
The real business is not one of placards, no matter how politically pleasurable. How easy it is to get out the defensive false facts, lying red/white/blue bots, and bruisers (Conways and Spicers et al). But we don’t have time to try to hit CNN. They are not effective. Sure, they’re fun, and so are the fashion police. Trump is the proverbial younger brother who can’t control himself, but bribes a crew of poor bullies from down the street to do his dirties . . .
Civic unrest is key. It’s essential. But let’s wait — or at least go into planning, though not out in public. The best-laid plans can’t be up for show yet; you don’t want to share your modus operandi. More on this later, but do drop the self-phones, i.e. cell phones (read about the Arab Spring putdown).
First, read your civic lessons. High-school social science or college American Politics 101 — go find it. Buy it. Read it. And what you will remember is HOW BORING it all is.
It was boring for one reason — the federal government was created to preserve the SQ — the Status Quo. Most of its principles (federalism, bicameralism, rule of law, separation of powers, etc.) are about power — containing and compartmentalizing power. It’s all about power. But it grants the opposition the biggest power — the power to oppose.
How a bill becomes a law is SO cumbersome. We don’t have laws, or rather we have 2,000-page laws and logrolling — bad laws, laws containing legal payoffs or giving perks to those in power. Laws complicated by those who read what’s in the weeds (lobbyists, big-money political activists, big media/PR).
My point is that if you read, and put into practice, these books, we can at least mitigate Trump and make sure he’s a four-year president — with a big kick, or ONE large achievement. Tearing down the GOP from within their walls will be your bonus, and that’s a biggie. This is our Goldwater watershed reflective moment to reshape the Left. It’s the redo of the new century — the chance to refashion or reform progressivism, giving it that necessary radical edge.
The problem is that Trump will gain political leverage by tearing out the heart of all Obama’s legislation. He’s already stripped clean LGBTQ, Climate Control, and Gender off of WhiteHouse.gov, making it perilous for most of the nation’s (non-Trumpers’) health to check how many of Barack Obama’s Executive Actions have already been overturned.
I cannot bear to look yet, and prefer to take comfort in the hows — the “back at yas” that the mainstream Republicans and then the 2010 Tea Party Republicans did, practicing death by due process. We don’t even have to do the delegitimacy dance, as Trump’s Inauguration shows how he already did that for us.
So now, it’s our turn. To block and outmaneuver every move Trump makes — INSIDE the Beltway, not outside. Then combine this with across-the-country demonstrations on key issues — reproduction, health, energy, and money. And it’s our turn to be “pure” (principled).
But don’t spend the energy to go to D.C. (okay, some core college kids should have summer internships — “Freedom Summer”camps funded by progressive organizations like the Center for American Progress, which will undergo a great transformation under Neera Tanden’s leadership as it pulls away from the 2016 past, and Andrew Rich’s Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, to demonstrate on all holidays, and for the whole summer). Stop being the Dumb American and find your Congress member’s home office, and get all the kids from your civics class, and a grandmother/father or two — and target demonstrating each and every action this individual member of Congress plans on approving/considering/etc. . . . It’s all online, after all. Hey, here’s a notion — bring your high-school social-science teacher too.#