I woke up several times last night, with a stuffy nose and then a sore throat. This suggests I am cultivating another cold. Delightful. But I also lay awake for a while each time, being anxious about the upcoming Reign of Terror that seems inevitable with Donald Trump in the White House and a Congress dominated by the worst of modern American conservatism.
I used to admire conservatives, and even toyed with the idea of identifying myself as fiscally conservative and socially liberal. The problem, of course, is that I had no idea exactly what "fiscally" conservative even meant. I just re-read George Lakoff's excellent book Don't Think of an Elephant, in which -- among other things -- he describes the various progressive subtribes. There are the environmentalists, for example, with whom I have friendly alliances, but there was one tribe I instantly recognized as my own. I am a civil rights progressive. Civil rights are my political priority, my motivating cause. I wonder if I could find allies among non-Democratic voters? Libertarians, for sure, though I do not agree with all of their positions. Once upon a time the GOP cared about civil rights --when they were the "party of Lincoln", as many love to point out. But lately it seems their passion for civil rights has shriveled to something much less than "all men are created equal, etc.". The right to bear arms is important, but not if you are Black. The "right to life" is sacred for embryos and fetuses, but not for poor children, or women, or people needing health care or clean water. Voting rights? Not if you are going to vote against Republicans. Religious freedom? For Christians, yes, but not Muslims or (horrors!!) atheists. That may be an unfair characterization, but it is the face they present in their rhetoric and policies. What else can I do but take them at their word, and judge them by their actions?
My activism in the coming year (at least) will be focused on civil rights, especially voting rights. Is it too much to hope that I can find a nonpartisan community where we can work together?