The release of false prophet Donald Trump's budget yesterday has everyone up in arms.
I could wail about its cruelty. It eliminates funding for Meals on Wheels (which is the one which strikes the conscience the most), after-school programs, scientific research, the arts, and on and on, while massively increasing spending on "security".
I could write a stirring piece asking "Where will you stand when you're held to account?" Will you be with those of Light or those of Darkness?
I could call for the masses to rise up and take to the streets and make the earth shake.
But none of those address the core of our problem: How did we get here?
Let me digress for a bit to speak about international affairs.
On Wednesday, voters in the Netherlands took to the polls to elect a new parliament. All of Europe—and, indeed, the world—had eyes cast on Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the Hague, and environs. Fascist rabble rouser Geert Wilders had been riding high in polling for months, and his party had, until just recently, been projected to win the most seats in the legislature. (Not a majority—that's nearly impossible—but it would have been the largest party in parliament with the right of first refusal to form a government.) Polling leading up to Wednesday had taken a bit of wind out of Wilders' sails; however, as 2016 showed, polling ain't what it used to be. Many were looking on in nervous apprehension.
Then something "miraculous" happened: the Dutch turned out in droves to vote. Turnout was at 80%, the highest in three decades. And Wilders' fascist fantasies were dealt a decisive blow. The sitting center-right prime minister's party won the most seats, with Wilders coming in a distant second. (His party did gain five seats; that's disturbing. But, not as disturbing as if he had won the most seats.) PM Mark Rutte hailed it as a defeat for the wrong kind of populism, one which divides rather than unites.
Read the above again. Eighty percent of voters turned out to stop the fascist. Eighty percent. That was no "miracle". That was a free people exercising their rights and performing their duty.
We can plot street protests. We can write our congress members. We can do all sorts of things. But until the people of this country turn out to elections in those numbers, nothing will change.
In electoral politics, those who vote get to decide matters. You can tell pollsters that you hate Trump. You can tell pollsters that you prefer Planned Parenthood, or Hillary Clinton, or Barack Obama, or even Bernie Sanders to Trump and his regime. But unless you turn out and cast that ballot, nothing matters.
Our opponents depend on voter apathy. Low turnout benefits them. They win elections when they operate in the dark. An energized electorate is antithetical to their success. An enraged electorate, angered by their overreach, their malfeasance, their base evil, would wipe them away as a tidal wave if it turned out in the numbers we saw on Wednesday in the Netherlands.
Gerrymandering works because people don't vote. Voter suppression works because people don't take the effort to find out how to subvert it. (On that, the Democratic Party has to take center stage and make sure to turn out everyone, regardless of obstacles.) Republicans win because they convince people their votes don't matter, that their lives won't change materially whoever is in office. This is the lie they use to maintain their power.
And now we are suffering the consequences. Yes, the people are enraged. But will they turn out to vote in the droves needed? Will they turn out to vote in GA-06? Will they flood the voting booths in 2018? Unless the answers are all in the affirmative, we will get nowhere.
It really is this simple: You vote, you win. If all those people who support liberal policies but don't vote did so, the GOP would be a distant, unpleasant memory. The opposite of good isn't evil; the opposite of good is apathy. Apathy is the lie you tell yourself for not helping others. Apathy is the drug you ingest to not think about the troubles of the world. Apathy is the tattered coat you wear, which less and less keeps out the cold wind.
The evil of Trumpism won't be defeated until the greater evil of apathy is consigned to a dusty death. Correct our descent into not caring, and Trump and his ilk will have nowhere to hide. They will be exposed for the cockroaches they are, and exterminated politically.
It's not that hard. One just has to act. A small act; but one which can move mountains and part the seas. Just ask loser Geert Wilders.